Don Martindale

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers, Broncos and Texans’ hires, this year’s vacancy count sits at two. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-14-23 (1:30pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Don Martindale, Brian Callahan Out Of Colts HC Pursuit

10:40am: Callahan has also been informed he is no longer in the mix for the Indy job,’s Albert Breer tweets. Although the Cardinals interviewed Callahan as well, he is not believed to have advanced to the finals of that race. These developments will keep Callahan in Cincinnati for a fifth year as the AFC contender’s offensive coordinator.

Only one of the 10 HC-seeking teams last year (Denver) interviewed Callahan, and he was a late entry into both the Arizona and Indianapolis searches this year. Keeping Callahan for another season will continue to ensure continuity for a rising Bengals team, which has seen its Joe Burrow-led offense ignite over the past two seasons.

10:33am: As the Colts move closer to ending their long-running search for a head coach, Don Martindale is no longer believed to be in the running. The Giants’ defensive coordinator is out of the mix, Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.

The 2022 Giants DC hire is staying in New York, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes (via Twitter). Martindale remains attached to a three-year Giants contract. This represents a positive development for Brian Daboll‘s staff, which still risks losing offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. The young play-caller remains in the race for the Cardinals’ head coaching job. Kafka did not receive a second Colts interview.

One of eight Colts candidates to have gone through a second interview, Martindale joins Ejiro Evero among that lot in no longer being in contention for the position. Evero was one of the first names to be connected to a second Indianapolis meeting, but he accepted Carolina’s DC offer. The Colts are also now unlikely to bump Jeff Saturday up to their full-time HC.

Martindale took over a Giants defense that featured gaping holes at linebacker and cornerback, and while DVOA viewed the Giants as a bottom-tier defense (29th), the group fared well in spots the help Daboll’s team to key wins during one of the more surprising runs to the divisional round in recent memory. Dexter Lawrence‘s breakthrough under Martindale certainly looks like a seminal development, with the former first-round pick now squarely on the radar for a monster extension.

Should Saturday and Martindale indeed be out of the running, it would leave Rich Bisaccia, Brian Callahan, Aaron Glenn, Raheem Morris and Shane Steichen left in the race. With the Colts likely waiting until after Super Bowl LVII, Steichen — finishing up his second season as Eagles OC — remains a name to watch here. Many around the NFL believe Jim Irsay is targeting Steichen, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports tweets.

Poll: Who Will Become Next Colts HC?

Five years after their Josh McDaniels-to-Frank Reich pivot, the Colts are again conducting a rather interesting head coaching search. This process may well produce an unusual stage.

Indianapolis potentially planning a third round on HC interviews, after holding 12-hour meetings — in some cases — with candidates during the second round, adds a memorable wrinkle to its search to replace Reich. A third round of a coaching search has not happened in at least 40 years, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. GM Chris Ballard has run the search, but Jim Irsay will make the call. Where will this search end up?

Almost everyone involved in this Indy journey has been mentioned as a finalist or scheduled a second interview. Dan Quinn hopped off the ride midway through, doing so hours after he scheduled a second meeting about the position. Ben Johnson backed out after his virtual interview, staying with the Lions. Giants OC Mike Kafka also has not been mentioned as being summoned for a second meeting. DeMeco Ryans cancelled his virtual interview and chose the Texans over the Broncos. Jim Harbaugh was mentioned as a candidate in December, but the ex-Colts QB did not interview. Otherwise, this search remains one of the most wide open in memory.

Rich Bisaccia, Brian Callahan, Ejiro Evero, Aaron Glenn, Don Martindale, Raheem Morris, Jeff Saturday and Shane Steichen have either gone through a second interview or will do so soon. Eric Bieniemy and Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone have also been mentioned as potential finalists, though neither is believed to have scheduled a second meeting.

This search has produced the rare mix of all three phases, with Bisaccia and Ventrone representing the special teams wing. Ventrone, 40, was Reich’s ST coordinator throughout the latter’s HC tenure, while Bisaccia, 62, is the rare interim HC to have guided his team to the playoffs. The Raiders passed on Bisaccia, leading him to Green Bay. Could he join John Harbaugh as a former ST coordinator to become a head coach?

Irsay went offense twice in 2018, hiring McDaniels and then Reich. This year’s lot of OCs in contention includes Andy Reid‘s right-hand man. Ballard and Bieniemy worked together in Kansas City for four years, and since Ballard left for Indiana, Bieniemy has become Reid’s top lieutenant. Of course, that has famously not led to a head coaching opportunity. Both Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy earned HC chances as Reid’s HC, but teams have paused on Bieniemy, 53. After this latest Chiefs attack led the NFL in offensive DVOA despite trading Tyreek Hill, will the Colts be the team that goes with the oft-bypassed candidate?

Callahan and Steichen are the only other offense-based candidates linked to having paths to the job. Steichen is just 37 and worked with Reich during the future Colts leader’s time as Chargers OC. Ex-Reich lieutenant Nick Sirianni gave Steichen the play-calling reins midway through last season, and it made a major difference in the Eagles’ trajectory. Philadelphia led the NFL in rushing in 2021 and has produced a top-three attack this year, as Jalen Hurts has made considerable strides as a passer. Callahan, 38, does not call plays in Cincinnati but is a candidate for both the Colts and Cardinals’ HC gigs. Joe Burrow is primed to book one of Zac Taylor‘s assistants a promotion, and Callahan is this year’s candidate.

Evero, 42, leads the league in connections to jobs during this year’s cycle, being summoned by all five HC-seeking teams for interviews and being pursued for DC gigs. It appears the Broncos’ DC will land on his feet, despite Nathaniel Hackett‘s one-and-done, and Denver remains interested in keeping him. The Rams also have Evero in mind as a Morris contingency plan. Morris, 46, would be a second-chance HC, but the ex-Buccaneers leader’s first chance came more than 10 years ago. He has rebuilt his stock in Los Angeles, helping the Rams to a Super Bowl LVI win, and Sean McVay staffers are quite popular on coaching carousels. Morris also has a near-three-month run as an interim leader under his belt, having replaced Quinn with the 2020 Falcons.

Martindale, 59 is believed to have interviewed well in his second meeting (the Irsay stage), and he played a key role in the Giants making a surprising surge to the divisional round. He coached the Ravens to three top-five defensive finishes in four DC seasons. Glenn, 50, started late in coaching due to his playing career spanning 16 seasons. The ex-cornerback joins Evero and Callahan as Cards candidates.

Saturday, of course, is the main variable here. Irsay stunned the NFL by hiring the former Pro Bowl center as his interim coach, pulling him off various ESPN sets and onto the sideline. Saturday, 47, won his first game but oversaw a brutal stretch in the weeks that followed. The Colts lost their final seven games and blew an NFL-record 33-point lead during that stretch. While Irsay’s unorthodox choice appeared to backfire, the owner bypassed advice against hiring Saturday in November and is believed to be receiving similar counsel now. Will the Irsay-Saturday partnership somehow continue? The 1-7 record aside, he has consistently been mentioned as a live candidate. With the Panthers passing on Steve Wilks, no interim HC has been promoted in six years.

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section.

Latest On Colts’ HC Search

While this year’s coaching search has been labeled a long-running endeavor, five of last year’s hires happened during February’s first week. But the Colts’ search has begun to stand out.

Just about every name connected to Indianapolis’ quest to replace Frank Reich has been mentioned as a potential finalist or interviewed a second time. Eight second interviews are believed to have taken place or soon will, with other candidates mentioned as prospective finalists. There may be another round of meetings coming.

[RELATED: Jim Irsay Still Eyeing Jeff Saturday For HC?]

The Colts are nearly through with their second interviews, but Mike Garafolo of notes the team is considering a third round. A rarely seen round three would include a few candidates, through Garafolo adds the team is already being quite thorough during its second run of meetings. Some of the Colts’ second interviews have run as long as 12 hours (Twitter links). As of Thursday morning, the team had conducted 21 total interviews, Zak Keefer of The Athletic tweets.

Indy’s expansive search can partially be explained by Irsay not sitting in on the first round of interviews — all conducted virtually — but a team that employed an interim HC for half of this past season obviously had a head-start on this process. The Colts also have not needed to navigate any Sean Payton dominoes, as they were the one team that did not meet with the new Broncos HC over the past two-plus weeks. The team did, however, see DeMeco Ryans cancel an interview. Ryans nixed Cardinals and Colts meetings, leading to his agreement with the Texans.

Considering how Indianapolis’ 2018 search unfolded — Josh McDaniels backing out of an agreement just after Super Bowl LII — Irsay and GM Chris Ballard operating this way makes sense. Reich, who emerged once the team regrouped from the McDaniels debacle, was not hired until a week after that Super Bowl. The Colts also just completed one of the worst years in franchise history, with Irsay’s impulsiveness playing a role in it. The wide net the franchise has cast will need to produce a coach who will work with a long-term quarterback — after years of stopgap measures — and lead a roster still housing several Pro Bowlers.

Of the names still in the Colts’ mix, a few are also on the Cardinals’ list. Brian Callahan, Ejiro Evero, Aaron Glenn and Mike Kafka have met with both teams. Kafka, however, is one of the few coaches to not interview with Indy’s contingent a second time or be mentioned as a finalist. Kafka’s Giants coworker — DC Don Martindale — is believed to have impressed during his second interview, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News tweets. The Colts plan to interview Eagles OC Shane Steichen on Friday or Saturday, Ian Rapoport of notes (video link). The team cannot interview Steichen again until after Super Bowl LVII.

The Colts dragging this process out much longer does run the risk of the team missing out on some of its preferred assistant hires, but at this point, determining the right leader has eclipsed everything else for the suddenly downtrodden AFC South team. Here is how Indy’s complex search stands midday Thursday:

Colts Planning Second Don Martindale HC Interview

Add Don Martindale to the growing list of candidates to advance to the second round of the Colts’ head coaching search. The Colts are scheduling a second Martindale interview for this weekend, Adam Schefter of tweets.

The Colts are the only team to reach out to the Giants’ defensive coordinator during this year’s hiring cycle, which continues a pattern for Martindale. Despite his success in Baltimore and now New York, Martindale has not been especially popular on the HC interview circuit. But he improved his stock a bit during his first season with the Giants.

[RELATED: Jim Irsay Still Pushing For Jeff Saturday As HC]

Despite significant issues at multiple positions coming into the season, the Giants managed to field a competent defense. The team finished 17th in points allowed, and while DVOA was less kind to Martindale’s unit (29th), the rebuilding team-turned-playoff entrant did enough to turn back a Lamar Jackson-led Ravens team, continue the Packers’ midseason swoon and deny the Vikings on back-to-back fourth-quarter drives in the wild-card round.

The Ravens did not renew Martindale’s contract after the 2021 season, his fourth as the franchise’s DC, but the Giants showed considerable interest. To prevent Martindale from exploring other DC opportunities after their interview, the Giants offered him a three-year contract. That did the trick, and Martindale joined OC Mike Kafka in being critical to Brian Daboll‘s first-year success in New York. The Giants have now seen Martindale, Kafka and quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney receive interview requests. Kafka interviewed with the Texans for a second time, but Houston looks to prefer DeMeco Ryans. The Colts also met with Kafka, but he has not yet been summoned for a second interview.

A Dan Quinntype scenario here exists, per’s Jordan Raanan, who notes (via Twitter) the Giants could bump Martindale’s pay to convince him to stay rather than joining the Colts. Martindale, however, will turn 60 in a few months. After six years as an NFL defensive coordinator, he is running out of time to move up in the league.

As for the Colts, they have a host of candidates still in the mix for their top job. After virtual interviews, the Colts are meeting in-person with candidates the second time around. Irsay did not participate in the virtual interviews; the owner is meeting with the candidates who advance to the second round. Here are the coaches on Indianapolis’ second-interview radar:

Coaching Rumors: Payton, Flores, Evero

By far the biggest name on this year’s coaching carousel, Sean Payton looks to have seen his momentum stall a bit. While Payton is interviewing with the Cardinals today, his candidacy has not produced a second interview anywhere yet. The Panthers met with Payton this week but just hired Frank Reich. While the Texans remain on the radar for the longtime Saints HC, Jeremy Fowler of does not get the sense much momentum is present for such a partnership. The Broncos have been connected to other names recently as well, but that path may be dwindling as well. There might not be a place for Payton — as odd as that sounds, given his track record — on this year’s market, Ian Rapoport of offers (video link)

Trade compensation being required to land the Super Bowl XLIV-winning HC, with the price varying from a first-rounder and other early picks to two first-rounders, has affected teams’ plans here. Payton, 59, has also been mentioned as waffling on this year’s lot of jobs. Returning to FOX for another year and surveying the 2024 market, when two jobs he has long been connected to (Chargers, Cowboys), could be available might be what comes out of this run of interviews. Payton remains in this year’s mix, but buzz has died down.

Here is the latest from the coaching landscape:

  • Regarding the Cardinals‘ search, Brian Flores remains firmly in the mix. GM candidates received the impression Arizona is high on the three-year Miami HC-turned-Pittsburgh linebackers coach, Fowler notes. Previously mentioned as a frontrunner — due partially to the Cards hiring ex-Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort as GM — Flores may have a right-hand man on defense lined up. Some around the league expect the ex-Dolphins HC to bring Gerald Alexander, Miami’s defensive backs coach for the past three years, with him to Arizona, per Fowler. With the Dolphins looking for a new DC, Alexander may be on the move anyway. While ESPN colleague Dan Graziano points to Vance Joseph and Aaron Glenn remaining strong candidates, Flores has generated the most buzz to this point. Flores has also interviewed for the Falcons and Vikings’ DC posts.
  • Raheem Morris booked a second HC interview with the Colts and also met with the Broncos and Texans. Should the Rams‘ DC land a second HC opportunity, Albert Breer of notes Ejiro Evero is the team’s top candidate to replace him. The Denver DC is no lock to be available. He is under contract with the Broncos, who blocked a Falcons DC interview, and has gone through second HC interviews with the Colts and Texans. Denver could pass on retaining Evero by hiring a defensive-minded coach, of course. Evero came to Denver from Los Angeles; he spent five years on Sean McVay‘s staff.
  • The Browns considered bringing in Vic Fangio for a DC interview, Mary Kay Cabot of notes, but they stood down and ended up hiring Jim Schwartz. Cleveland having run a 4-3 defense in recent years may have been a reason for passing on a Fangio meeting, Cabot offers. Fangio has remained quite popular still, having interviewed for three DC jobs — the Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers — already.
  • The Bills are making a change to their defensive staff. They fired safeties coach Jim Salgado, Alaina Getzenberg of tweets. Salgado had been on McDermott’s staff throughout the head coach’s six-season tenure.
  • Giants DC Don Martindale is attached to a three-year contract, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Giants thought enough of the veteran coordinator, whom the Ravens did not bring back last year, they gave him the three-year deal as opposed to the more common two-year pact. Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey also received extensive interest from other teams, with Duggan adding the Chargers joined the Panthers in offering him their ST coordinator jobs. McGaughey, who has been with the Giants since 2018, turned down a Bears interview and opted to stay and work for Brian Daboll.

Colts Request HC Interviews With Mike Kafka, Don Martindale, DeMeco Ryans

The Colts’ list of head coaching candidates continues to grow. The team submitted three interview requests on Monday, beginning with one for Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero).

Kafka continues to draw considerable interest in this year’s coaching cycle. The 35-year-old has also received interview requests from the Panthers and Texans, teams looking to add a bench boss with experience on the offensive side of the ball. Kafka is in the midst of his first season as an OC, but his work to date has quickly boosted his coaching stock.

After leaving the Chiefs to join Brian Daboll in New York, Kafka was surprisingly given the keys to the Giants’ offense at the start of the year. That decision certainly paid off, as the team is bound for the Divisional Round of the playoffs in no small part due to their play on that side of the ball. A resurgent Saquon Barkley has powered the team’s ground game, while quarterback Daniel Jones has erased (at least most) doubts regarding his potential as a franchise signal-caller. To little surprise, then, Kafka is firmly on several teams’ radars as they look for similar improvement in 2023.

The Giants’ other coordinator, Don ‘Wink’ Martindale, is also a target of the Colts. Indianapolis placed an interview request with him, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets. This marks the first such request for the 59-year-old this year, though he has been interviewed for HC vacancies in years past. His first season with the Giants has seen the team put up average numbers at best in several categories, but the unit – much like the offense – has overperformed relative to expectations in what was expected to be a rebuilding year. One of the most highly-respected defensive coaches in the league, Martindale has nearly two decades of experience on NFL sidelines.

Lastly, Indianapolis is seeking a meeting with 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Another hugely popular name during the 2023 cycle, Ryans has a busy week ahead, with several interviews already lined up for this week prior to today’s request from the Colts. He will meet with interested teams in the build-up to San Francisco’s playoff game this Sunday, a notably different setup than that of Kafka and Martindale, who are expected to hold off on interviews this week (Twitter link via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post).

With three new names on their list, here is an updated breakdown of the Colts’ HC search:

  • Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator (Chiefs): Interviewed 1/12
  • Ejiro Evero, defensive coordinator (Broncos): Interviewed 1/12
  • Aaron Glenn, defensive coordinator (Lions): To interview 1/14
  • Jim Harbaugh, head coach (Michigan): Mentioned as candidate
  • Ben Johnson, offensive coordinator (Lions): Interviewed 1/13
  • Mike Kafka, offensive coordinator (Giants): Interview requested
  • Don Martindale, defensive coordinator (Giants): Interview requested
  • Raheem Morris, defensive coordinator (Rams): Interviewed 1/13
  • DeMeco Ryans, defensive coordinator (49ers): Interview requested
  • Jeff Saturday, interim head coach (Colts): Interview expected
  • Shane Steichen, offensive coordinator (Eagles): Interviewed 1/14
  • Bubba Ventrone, special teams coordinator (Colts): Interviewed 1/11

Ravens, Don Martindale Differed On Contract Structure

Don Martindale will reunite with his longtime employer for a day this week, with the Giants hosting the Ravens in Week 6. Despite injury issues at edge rusher and cornerback, the Giants will enter this matchup ranked in the top 12 in both points allowed and total defense.

Martindale, 59, had the Ravens on that level over his first three seasons in Baltimore, but last year’s injury onslaught proved too much for the team to continue its run of solid defensive play. Still, most in the Ravens organization expected Martindale to be back for a fifth season as the team’s defensive coordinator, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

We heard in January the Ravens were unwilling to extend Martindale’s contract, but Pompei adds the team did offer a team option for 2023. Martindale, whose Ravens contract ran through 2022, held out for a true extension. That led to the late-January separation.

Although the Ravens generally want their top assistants on multiyear deals, the team’s reluctance to extend such an offer to Martindale certainly reflected hesitancy to continue what had been a successful partnership. Martindale was with the Ravens for 10 years, the first six coming as their linebackers coach.

The Giants hired Martindale, whom they interviewed for their head coach position in 2020, nearly three weeks later. Former Ravens outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins followed. Big Blue was without its top edge defenders (Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari) for its first two games and has been without Leonard Williams for the past three. The Giants finished their London game — an upset victory over the Packers — without their top three corners but held on to thwart a final Aaron Rodgers drive. The blitzes Martindale became known for in Baltimore are prevalent in New York, and Sunday’s Ravens clash will bring one of Sunday’s more interesting matchups.

The Ravens moved on with Mike Macdonald, a former Martindale assistant who spent the 2021 season under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. The Ravens have also run into injury trouble at outside linebacker and corner, and Macdonald’s defense ranks 18th in points allowed and 28th in yards yielded. At 35, Macdonald is the league’s youngest active DC.

The team is moving toward having its full arsenal of edge rushers available soon, however, with Tyus Bowser and second-round pick David Ojabo returning to practice this week. It is not yet known if either will be available Sunday, with Ojabo having been viewed as needing until around the midseason point to recover from his March Achilles tear. But the team is coming off a strong defensive outing against the Bengals and should be in position to improve further once the edge rushers are all back.

Panthers’ Post-Rhule Fallout: Termination, Replacement, Trades

The NFL news circuit was set ablaze today when news broke of the firings of Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. The termination of Rhule was not necessarily a surprise, as he’s been firmly on the hot seat all year and the possibility of firing Rhule had been discussed “well before” today, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, but it did create a newsworthy fallout of information that is of interest to those who follow the sport.

Many have talked about the contract implications of Rhule’s termination, alluding to the millions of dollars still remaining on his contract. While it’s completely applicable to Rhule’s situation, it doesn’t sound like it is a concern to Carolina. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted out that “Carolina is on the hook for this season, but the salaries for the ensuing seasons are offset by what his future college job pays him.” Essentially, Rhule will absolutely get his guaranteed money, but the onus won’t be on Carolina to pay it. Whenever Rhule, who is presumed to be a top college coaching candidate for next year, gets another job, his salary from the new school will offset the amount the Panthers owe him.

It was also announced that Panthers defensive passing game coordinator & secondary coach Steve Wilks will sub in as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The defensive-minded former head coach of the Cardinals has apparently already begun to make the team his own. When Panthers owner David Tepper was asked why Snow was fired, he reportedly pointed the finger at Wilks, telling reporters to direct that question to the interim head coach, according to ESPN’s David Newton.

Here are a few more fallout items from today, starting with some ideas on Rhule’s replacement:

  • The biggest nugget to come out of today concerning Carolina is that, as most NFL executives expected Rhule to lose his job, many in league circles are expecting the Panthers to start dealing veteran assets in an attempt to accrue draft capital that might make the head coaching position more attractive, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. The Panthers currently only hold four draft picks for 2023: first-, second-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks, supporting the idea that trading away veterans could improve their current situation. Trading away veterans with expensive contracts, such as star running back Christian McCaffrey or wide receiver Robbie Anderson, could prove troublesome, according to La Canfora, so the Panthers are reportedly willing to eat some of those salaries in order to facilitate moving those assets. Early reports claimed that the Bills have reached out about McCaffrey and that they did in the offseason, as well, according to Person, but Tom Pelissero of NFL Network clarified that, while every team will be calling about McCaffrey, the Panthers haven’t engaged in any trade talks yet. In addition to McCaffrey and Anderson, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports expects wide receiver D.J. Moore, defensive end Brian Burns, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown to be on the table.
  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic posed the question today of who might replace Rhule and offered quite a few suggestions. Howe started the list with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who took the Falcons to the Super Bowl as head coach in 2016. Next, he mentioned 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Ryans interviewed for the Vikings’ job this offseason and was expected to interview for the Raiders’, as well. The 38-year-old has rocketed up coaching boards since retiring as a player in 2015. Another name mentioned was Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon who also interviewed for the Vikings last year, in addition to the Texans and Broncos. Howe went into great detail on every candidate, seeming to list anybody who may be up for a head coaching job in the next few seasons. His list included former NFL head coaches including the retired Sean Payton, Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, as well as the current interim head coach, Wilks. Other serious candidates Howe mentioned were Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The list essentially devolved into an article about anybody who may make the jump to NFL head coach in the next few seasons, pointing out “wait and see” candidates such as Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, and Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
  • One interesting name that came out of today’s rumors was former Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Joe Person of The Athletic advised that an eye be kept on Kuechly, who remains close with Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, to come back in some capacity. After retiring from a pro scout position last year, Kuechly has been working as an analyst on Panthers radio broadcasts.

Giants Hire Don Martindale As DC

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.