After Ian Rapoport of NFL Network hinted at a connection between former Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale and the Jaguars, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer has confirmed that Martindale is scheduled for a two-day interview with the team this week. Martindale will be in Duval Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to interview for the team’s open defensive coordinator position.
The Jaguars fired defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and the rest of the team’s defensive staff after Caldwell’s first two years as a coordinator. Under Caldwell, the Jacksonville defense delivered middling results finishing 12th and 17th in points allowed and 24th and 22nd in yards allowed. This kept a top-10 2022 Jaguars offense from advancing past the divisional round of the playoffs and kept a top-14 2023 Jaguars offense from making it to the playoffs at all.
Plenty of names have been mentioned as names to interview for the position since Caldwell’s departure. The team was blocked access to interview current Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen earlier this week, but Ravens secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator Chris Hewitt, Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, Titans cornerbacks coach and defensive pass game coordinator Chris Harris, and Jets safeties coach Marquand Manuel are all set to interview with the team.
Add Martindale to that list. Martindale started in the NFL as a linebackers coach, spending five years with the Raiders before taking the same job with the Broncos. Denver would promote him to defensive coordinator under Josh McDaniels, but Martindale was not retained whenever John Fox took over the following year. He joined the Ravens 2012 Super Bowl-winning squad as the linebackers coach, a role he would hold for six years before eventually replacing Dean Pees as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator.
In his first three years heading up the Ravens defense, Baltimore fielded a perennial top-five defense, often competing for the league lead in points or yards allowed. 2021 would see an anomaly in Baltimore as the team’s defense would finish 19th in points allowed and 25th in yards allowed. Whether or not the lack of success was due to injuries to key contributors like cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters and safety DeShon Elliott, Martindale and the Ravens parted ways.
A few weeks later, Martindale accepted the defensive coordinator position with the Giants. Over the past two years, New York has finished 18th and 26th in points allowed and 25th and 27th in yards allowed. Unhappy with the production of someone who used to be a top defensive coordinator in the league, the Giants and head coach Brian Daboll parted ways with Martindale. News of the separation came days after reports of a multiday standoff that saw Martindale reportedly curse out Daboll and storm out of the building.
Now Martindale will add his name to the list of potential candidates to replace Caldwell in Jacksonville. He’ll be competing with a currently much less experienced field of candidates, though the Jaguars may prefer someone with a bit less history and baggage.