Don Martindale

Jets Plan To Fire Adam Gase

The expected firing of Adam Gase is on track to transpire after Week 17, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. While Gase said earlier this week he has not been notified he will be fired, the Jets’ 0-13 start essentially ensured he would not be back.

This will mark Gase’s second ouster in three seasons; the Dolphins fired him after the 2018 season. He has gone 9-22 with the Jets. Although the former successful OC led his team to upset wins over two potential playoff squads and helped the Jets hire GM Joe Douglas, the past two Jets seasons have involved controversy and continued losing.

As far as a replacement goes, the Jets appear to be looking at a wide array of candidates. Current assistants Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs OC), Matt Eberflus (Colts DC), Don Martindale (Ravens DC), Arthur Smith (Titans OC) and Brandon Staley (Rams DC) are set to be considered. As are college coaches Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Matt Campbell (Iowa State) and Dan Mullen (Florida), according to NFL.com. Harbaugh, a previous Jets candidate, appears a long shot. The former 49ers coach is finalizing an extension to stay at Michigan, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweets.

After leading the Dolphins to the playoffs in his first season as head coach, Gase has seen his teams miss the past four postseason brackets. In New York, he feuded with previous GM Mike Maccagnan and was consistently connected to dissatisfaction with Le’Veon Bell‘s contract and performance. Two-plus months after cutting Bell, the Jets will move on from Gase. They were prepared to fire Gase earlier this week had the Browns upset not occurred, according to NFL.com.

The Jets already fired Gregg Williams after the polarizing defensive coordinator made a play call that cost the Jets an excellent chance at beating the Raiders. Gase and Williams feuded as well. Jets ownership sought Williams, which helped lead to then-Baylor HC Matt Rhule declining to leave the college ranks in 2019. Rhule ended up in Carolina a year later.

Gase’s Jets offense rarely generated much excitement. The team has struggled to build an offensive line and did not equip Sam Darnold well at the skill positions. As a result, the former No. 3 overall pick has regressed. And during the months in which the Jets were connected to Trevor Lawrence, Darnold frequently landed in trade rumors. As Darnold’s third season concludes, his status is in limbo. The Jets are set to hold the No. 2 overall pick in April and could well look at a quarterback to begin the post-Gase era.

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Coaching Notes: Meyer, Daboll, Gase

It’s that time of year again. As the NFL regular season starts to wind down, all eyes will turn to the remaining coaching and front office decisions, and the ensuing searches to fill those vacancies. We’ll start things off with Urban Meyer, the extremely accomplished college coach who apparently could be headed to the NFL for the first time. “At least two” NFL teams have reached out to Meyer to gauge his interest, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. He writes that Meyer did not rebuff the overtures and appears to be seriously considering it, noting that the former Ohio State coach plans to make his decision about jumping to the pro ranks within the next week.

To that end, Meyer could “receive serious consideration” from the Jaguars and Lions, sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, so it’s possible those are the two unspecified teams Schefter referred to. The Jags of course still have Doug Marrone leading the team, but his firing following Week 17 is all but guaranteed. La Canfora notes that Jacksonville’s search has been “noticeably quiet, writing that “with several NFL execs and agents” have noted “they have had limited contact with the Khan family” that owns the team. The Jaguars have clinched the top overall pick in April’s draft, most likely landing them Trevor Lawrence, and making them an infinitely more attractive option to coaches and executives. Meyer walked away from Ohio State after the 2018 season, and led them to a national title in 2014. He also won two national championships during his time at Florida.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has guided Josh Allen to a near MVP-level season, and has rightfully been earning a lot of praise. As such, La Canfora writes that he’s the “hottest coordinator candidate” for head coaching jobs this cycle. It’s not a major surprise, but sources told La Canfora that Daboll “will have no shortage of opportunities to interview for jobs.” La Canfora notes that the Jets, Falcons, and Jaguars could all be suitors for the former Alabama assistant. Daboll of course also spent many years on Bill Belichick’s staff with the Patriots. Still only 45, Daboll has also had a couple of stints as an NFL OC prior to Buffalo with the Browns, Dolphins, and Chiefs. Interestingly La Canfora also connects the dots between the Chargers and Daboll should they fire Anthony Lynn, noting that Los Angeles GM Tom Telesco went to high school with Daboll.
  • It’s been generally assumed that Adam Gase will be fired as Jets coach at the end of the year, but he apparently was almost let go sooner than that. La Canfora tweeted on Saturday that it was “very likely” Gase would’ve been fired today had New York lost to the Browns yesterday. Of course, the Jets pulled off their second upset in a row, buying Gase one more week as the Jets’ coach. The reason they would’ve made the move now instead of just waiting for the end of the season probably has something to do with them wanting to get started on their virtual interviews with candidates, which can’t be done until Gase is out of the building.
  • Most of the attention this cycle has understandably focused on exciting offensive minds, so the DCs out there are flying a bit more under the radar. That doesn’t mean you won’t see one land a job. Ravens defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale is “considered to be one of the top candidates this time around,” Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Martindale is in his third season as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator, and he previously won Super Bowl XLVII with the team as their linebackers coach. The Ravens once again have one of the league’s best defenses, so the buzz isn’t too shocking. Interestingly, Rapoport notes that his potential staff targets include Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot, and former NFL head coaches Marvin Lewis and Lovie Smith. Lewis is generating head coaching interest himself, so he might not be available.

Ravens To Extend DC Don Martindale

Despite going 14-2 last season, the Ravens will return both their offensive and defensive coordinators for the 2020 season. They hope to keep defensive coordinator Don Martindale for longer than that.

The Ravens reached an extension agreement with Martindale on Saturday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a three-year deal that Rapoport’s sources initially said would make Martindale the league’s highest-paid DC, meaning that he would be taking home around $4MM per year (Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan tweeted that 2019’s top DC salary was around $3.5MM).

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports hears that Martindale was given a significant payday but that he will actually earn $3.25MM/year (Twitter link). Therefore, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com observes, Martindale is not the league’s highest-paid DC, but he is in the top 25% of his peers.

One way or another, he has been rewarded handsomely for his success in Baltimore. While the Ravens expect Martindale to be a top candidate on the 2021 head coaching carousel, they are taking care of him in the meantime.

Martindale has been with the Ravens for eight seasons, the past two as their defensive coordinator. After a slow start in 2018, his unit took off and became one of the league’s best. The Ravens ranked fourth in defensive DVOA last season, after their 2018 unit finished third in that metric.

Baltimore stayed on that level despite losing C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency. This helped Martindale book an HC interview with the Giants, and more interest will likely come Martindale’s way next year.

The 56-year-old assistant previously served as Baltimore’s linebackers coach for six seasons, a gig that helped him ascend back to the DC level after his previous time in that role — with the 2010 Broncos — did not go well. Denver’s 2010 defense ranked last in points and yardage, and Martindale did not coach in 2011. But he spent the bulk of the last decade becoming one of the NFL’s highest-regarded assistants, and the Ravens will have the luxury of using their Martindale-Greg Roman tandem to help forge another Super Bowl push next season.

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Giants To Interview Don Martindale

The Giants have set a date for their interview with Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. They’ll meet on Saturday, as Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com tweets

[RELATED: Latest On Eli Manning’s Plans]

Martindale has no head coaching experience, but he has guided Baltimore’s top-rated defense in each of the past two seasons. The league has taken notice and Martindale seems likely to land a head coaching job, if that’s what he wants. The veteran coach has expressed a desire to stay in Baltimore, but you’ll often hear a similar refrain from coordinators weeks before they accept a head coaching gig elsewhere.

If the Giants hire Martindale, he’ll reportedly tap LSU passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Brady as his offensive coordinator. Martindale, naturally, would keep the majority of his focus on the other side of the ball.

The Giants need help everywhere, essentially, so they’re casting a wide net in their search. Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy are among the candidates to replace Pat Shurmur as the head coach of the G-Men.

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Giants To Interview Mike McCarthy

The Giants are casting a wide net in their search for a new head coach. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the club is expected to interview former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy this weekend (Twitter link). The club is also set to interview Cowboys passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Kris Richard, and they have requested an interview with Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy.

Baylor head coach Matt Rhule is said to be New York’s top choice, but ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that McCarthy has a lot of support in the organization (Twitter link). McCarthy is certainly a popular candidate in this year’s cycle, as he has interviewed with the Panthers twice already and has attracted the interest of the Browns.

McCarthy was fired by the Packers in December 2018, and though he did interview for the Jets’ head coaching job shortly thereafter, he has spent the 2019 season studying film and designing plays in preparation for his next opportunity, as Peter King detailed in a recent Football Morning in America column. In his 13 years in Green Bay, McCarthy posted a 135-85-2 record, including a 10-8 mark in the playoffs, and he led the team to the Super Bowl XLV title.

Of course, did have Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers at quarterback for nearly the entirety of his stint in Green Bay, and there were rumors that his and Rodgers’ relationship deteriorated over time. His play-calling was also called into question towards the latter stages of his tenure, though he is trying to stay ahead of the curve in that regard, and the Giants have a promising QB of their own in Daniel Jones.

In addition to McCarthy et al., the Giants have also requested an interview with Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Martindale has no head coaching experience, but he has guided Baltimore’s top-rated defense in each of the past two seasons and has been generating some HC buzz as a result. We heard yesterday that Martindale, if hired, would target LSU passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Brady as his offensive coordinator, which Rapoport confirmed.

The Giants have not asked for an interview with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, but they have requested one with New England special teams coordinator/WRs coach Joe Judge, as Schefter tweets. Judge is well-respected for his work, and he was a candidate to join McDaniels on his would-be staff with the Colts in 2018 and Matt Patricia‘s staff with the Lions, but the Patriots were able to retain him. This appears to be the first time someone has requested an interview with Judge, 38, but he was mentioned as a possible HC candidate earlier this year.

With respect to Giants assistant coaches still under contract, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv tweets that they have the freedom to pursue other opportunities, though the new head coach will be able to hire them if he so chooses.

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Black Monday Rumors: McDaniels, Bieniemy, Browns

The Giants have fired head coach Pat Shumur, the Browns have fired head coach Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland GM John Dorsey‘s fate is up in the air, Bruce Allen is out with the Redskins, Ron Rivera looks like he’s in, and we have a lot more to pass along:

  • The Giants are rumored to be targeting Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, but they have requested an interview with Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter) that the Panthers have also requested a summit with Bieniemy, a branch of the fruitful Andy Reid coaching tree whom Reid feels is ready for an HC job.
  • We heard this morning that the Browns have requested an interview with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, and they also want to interview Ravens OC Greg Roman, per Schefter (via Twitter). Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that Cleveland is expected to interview Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski again. Stefanski was a finalist for the Browns’ HC job last year before they elected to hire Kitchens.
  • Schefter says the Browns have asked permission to interview 49ers DC Robert Saleh (Twitter link), and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says the team plans to interview Mike McCarthy as well (Twitter link). Cleveland had an interview scheduled with McCarthy last year, but by that time, the club had already zeroed in on Kitchens, so the interview never happened. McCarthy and Dorsey worked together in Green Bay, so Dorsey may be rooting for a McCarthy hire.
  • In addition to the Browns, the Giants and Panthers have also requested interviews with McDaniels, as Schefter tweets.
  • Despite recent reports indicating that he wants to stay in Baltimore, Ravens DC Don “Wink” Martindale is generating a great deal of HC buzz, as Rapoport tweets. If he is hired, Martindale would want to pluck LSU passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Brady from the collegiate ranks to be his OC. If you’ve watched college football this year, you can’t blame Martindale for that choice.
  • Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone will meet with owner Shad Khan tomorrow to discuss his fate, as NFL insider Adam Caplan tweets.

Wink Martindale Plans To Stay With Ravens

Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale could draw interest as a head coaching candidate this offseason, but he doesn’t plan on leaving Baltimore. On Thursday, Martindale shrugged off the speculation and reiterated his desire to stay put (Twitter link). 

I don’t know anything more,” Martindale said. “It doesn’t really matter until you get a call, but we love this city, we love this organization here. It would have to be a dream-type job to take, where you know you can build a winning culture like we have here.”

Martindale, 56, entered the pro ranks back in 2004 when he became the linebackers coach of the Raiders. In 2009, he made a lateral move over to the Broncos before spending the 2010 season as Denver’s DC. After that, he hooked on with the Ravens as their LBs coach in 2012, before being bumped up to the DC title in 2018.

Martindale has lots of defensive knowhow, and an XLVII Super Bowl ring, but has zero head coaching experience. Right now, he says he’s not looking to move up a rung, unless he’s blown away by an offer.

We’ve heard similar talk from other playoff-bound coordinators in the past, only to see them accept head coaching positions elsewhere. If the 13-2 Ravens make a deep playoff run, you can expect to see lots of tempting opportunities come Martindale’s way.

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John Harbaugh Likely To Remain With Ravens In 2019

The Ravens’ announcement that they would retain head coach John Harbaugh in 2019 has not done much to quiet speculation concerning Harbaugh’s future in Baltimore. Indeed, we recently heard that the Dolphins are mulling a trade offer for Harbaugh, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that two teams are considering such an offer (presumably, the Dolphins are one of them). The fact that Harbaugh and the Ravens have not engaged in substantive extension talks, coupled with the fact that Harbaugh’s current contract only keeps him under club control through 2019, has kept the rumor mill churning.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Baltimore brass did speak with Harbaugh’s agent last Monday, but no real progress was made. Nonetheless, the Ravens want Harbaugh to return in 2019, and Harbaugh — despite speculation to the contrary — is perfectly content to head into next year without an extension.

Harbaugh wants to return to the Ravens and has no intention of forcing his way out. Plus, Rapoport says that Harbaugh does not really want to be traded, because he does not want the team that would acquire him to be weakened by having to send draft compensation to Baltimore. So as of right now, it sounds as though Harbaugh and the Ravens will spend a 12th year together.

Meanwhile, Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator, Don Martindale, has generated some head coaching buzz for the work he has done with the Ravens’ defense this year, though we have not heard of any interview requests for him. Per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Martindale does want to be a head coach at some point, but he is also happy to remain in Baltimore as Harbaugh’s DC as long as Harbaugh wants him to.

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North Notes: Big Ben, Ravens, Stefanski

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a rib injury in last week’s upset loss to the Raiders, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Big Ben actually cracked his ribs (video link). Pittsburgh was reportedly unable to make that determination during the game due to a faulty X-ray machine in Oakland, but Rapoport says the injury should not limit Roethlisberger going forward. The Steelers face a critical matchup against New England this afternoon, so they will need Roethlisberger to battle through.

The team is unlikely to have starting running back James Conner when they take on the Patriots, but Rapoport tweets that Conner should be back for next Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • The Ravens have frequently seen their defensive coaches and coordinators obtain promotions from rival clubs, and they could see more of the same in 2019. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Baltimore defensive coordinator Don Martindale, in his first year leading the team’s defense after six years as its linebackers coach, is garnering attention around the league as a legitimate head coaching candidate. La Canfora suggests that Martindale could even replace John Harbaugh in Baltimore if the Ravens elect to part ways with Harbaugh.
  • We heard last week that plenty of teams with expected head coaching vacancies are interested in what the Ravens plan to do with Harbaugh, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the buzz around Harbaugh is continuing to build. Baltimore could retain the man who may be the hottest head coaching candidate in 2019, but it could also leverage the interest in Harbaugh’s services and try to trade him.
  • La Canfora writes that Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who was just promoted to the role earlier this week, was already being considered for head coaching jobs before he took over as Minnesota’s OC. Obviously, how the club’s offense performs down the stretch and perhaps into the playoffs will go a long way towards determining Stefanski’s 2019 prospects, but La Canfora reports that teams are conducting preliminary research on him, and a strong playoff push could solidify his chances of running his own team next season.
  • Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict suffered a concussion earlier this month, and he will miss his second consecutive game when the Bengals take on the Raiders today. As Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes, Burfict is experiencing several worrying trends. 2018 marks the third consecutive year that Burfict has served a suspension to start the season and suffered a December concussion to close it out. He has now sustained a concussion in five of the last six seasons, and between the missed time for injury and for suspension, Dehner suggests that the Bengals could be ready to move on. The league is moving away from players with Burfict’s skill set, Burfict is not playing particularly well when he is on the field these days, and the club could save $6.8MM against the cap by cutting him this offseason.

 

Ravens Promote Don Martindale To DC

The Ravens announced that they have promoted Don “Wink” Martindale to the role of defensive coordinator. In related moves, the team moved defensive backs coach Mike MacDonald to linebackers coach. Don Martindale (vertical)

Martindale takes over for Dean Pees, who retired at the end of the 2017 season. After six years on staff in Baltimore, he’s getting his chance to run the show in Baltimore. “Wink” previously served as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2010 and helped coach the team’s linebacker group to its full potential.

The 54-year-old (55 in May) has big shoes to fill. In his first year as Baltimore’s DC, Pees helped the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory over the 49ers. This past year, Pees’ group allowed the sixth-fewest points in the NFL and generated a league-high 34 takeaways.

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