For the second time today, a new defensive coordinator has been hired in a move that comes as no surprise. As many expected, the Giants have hired Don Martindale to replace Patrick Graham as the team’s DC (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN).
[Related: Raiders Hire Patrick Graham As DC]
The 58-year-old, affectionately known by many as simply ‘Wink’, was linked to the position not long after Brian Daboll was hired as the new head coach. Once it became official that Graham was leaving to take the same position with the Raiders, Martindale had the inside track to come to New York. This isn’t the first time he was considered for a role on the Giants staff; Martindale interviewed for the HC spot two years ago, before the team ultimately chose Joe Judge.
Martindale had 18 seasons of college experience spread across five different programs before entering the NFL in 2004. He’s primarily worked as a linebackers coach, though he got his first opportunity as a DC in Denver in 2010. His longest stint, in Baltimore, began at the LBs coach position in 2012, but he took over as the team’s DC from 2018-2021. Over the first three of those four campaigns, the Ravens ranked first in the league in yards and points allowed per game, according to Schefter’s colleague Jamison Hensley (Twitter link).
2021 saw Baltimore ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball, which led to a steep statistical drop off for Martindale’s unit. Part of the issue, many feel, was his unwavering reliance on the aggressive, blitz-heavy style he has become known for. Still, his track record has this move being widely applauded.
The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reports (via Twitter) that former Ravens OLB coach Drew Wilkins is one of potentially multiple position coaches expected to follow Martindale to New York. Doing so may be a wise move for them, as the contract Martindale is signing is reportedly a three-year pact, according to SI’s Albert Breer (Twitter link). With his preferred target in place, Daboll will have a highly experienced defensive play-caller to lean on in his inaugural season as a head coach.