Don Martindale

2024 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

After a crowded carousel previously stopped, the 49ers opened their defensive coordinator position. Here is how the NFC champions’ search looks:

Updated 3-2-24 (10:00am CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dave Ragone)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Ken Dorsey)

  • Joe Brady, interim offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (Bills): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed

Carolina Panthers (Out: Thomas Brown)

  • Marcus Brady, senior offensive assistant (Eagles): Interview requested
  • Brad Idzik, wide receivers coach (Buccaneers): Hired

Chicago Bears (Out: Luke Getsy)

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Brian Callahan)

  • Andy Dickerson, offensive line coach (Seahawks): To interview
  • Dan Pitcher, quarterbacks coach (Bengals): Promoted

Cleveland Browns (Out: Alex Van Pelt)

Las Vegas Raiders (Out: Mick Lombardi)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Kellen Moore)

New England Patriots (Out: Bill O’Brien)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Pete Carmichael)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Brian Johnson)

  • Jerrod Johnson, quarterbacks coach (Texans): Interviewed
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Interviewed 1/23
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): Hired

Pittsburgh Steelers (Out: Matt Canada)

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Shane Waldron)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Dave Canales)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Tim Kelly)

  • Nick Holz, passing game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed
  • Eric Studesville, associate head coach/running backs coach (Dolphins): Interview requested

Washington Commanders (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Chip Kelly, former head coach (Eagles/49ers): On team’s radar
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Hired

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Ryan Nielsen)

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Mike Macdonald)

  • Zach Orr, inside linebackers coach (Ravens): Promoted

Buffalo Bills

  • Bobby Babich, linebackers coach (Bills): Promoted
  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Sean Desai, former defensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview

Chicago Bears (Out: Alan Williams)

  • Joe Barry, former defensive coordinator (Packers): To interview 1/27
  • Chris Harris, secondary coach (Titans): To interview
  • Eric Washington, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Bills): Hired
  • Terrell Williams, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Titans): To interview

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Dan Quinn)

Green Bay Packers (Out: Joe Barry)

Jacksonville Jaguars (Out: Mike Caldwell)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Derrick Ansley)

  • Jesse Minter, defensive coordinator (Michigan): Hired

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Raheem Morris)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Vic Fangio)

New England Patriots

  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Promoted
  • Michael Hodges, linebackers coach (Saints): To interview
  • Tem Lukabu, outside linebackers coach (Panthers): To interview
  • Christian Parker, defensive backs coach (Broncos): Interviewed

New York Giants (Out: Don Martindale)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Sean Desai)

  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Vic Fangio, former defensive coordinator (Dolphins): Hired
  • Ron Rivera, former head coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/22

San Francisco 49ers (Out: Steve Wilks)

  • Gerald Alexander, safeties coach (Raiders): Interviewed 3/1
  • Daniel Bullocks, defensive backs coach (49ers): Interviewed 2/28
  • David Merritt, defensive backs coach (Chiefs): To interview
  • Nick Sorensen, defensive passing game specialist (49ers): Promoted
  • Brandon Staley, former head coach (Chargers): Interviewed

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Clint Hurtt)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Shane Bowen)

  • Brandon Lynch, cornerbacks coach (Browns): Interviewed 1/30
  • Dennard Wilson, defensive backs coach (Ravens): Hired

Washington Commanders (Out: Jack Del Rio)

  • Joe Cullen, defensive line coach (Chiefs): Considered a candidate
  • Joe Whitt, defensive backs coach (Cowboys): Hired

Michigan To Hire Don Martindale For DC Job

FEBRUARY 9: Michigan is indeed set to hire Martindale for the DC post, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. He will take over a Wolverines defense which has helped Macdonald and Minter land NFL gigs as he looks to rebuild his pro coordinator stock following an unceremonious Giants departure.

FEBRUARY 7: Don Martindale interviewed for multiple defensive coordinator jobs during this year’s hiring period, but the final two teams in need at this position — the Cowboys and Seahawks — do not have the recent Giants coordinator on their respective radars.

As a result, Martindale looks to be considering coaching in college. After seeing DC Jesse Minter follow Jim Harbaugh to Los Angeles, Michigan is eyeing Martindale — per’s Matt Zenitz — to run its defense. Martindale’s right-hand man with the Giants, Drew Wilkins, is also drawing consideration in the college ranks, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets, adding that Martindale is a serious candidate for the Michigan job.

[RELATED: Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

Martindale, 60, has not coached at the college level since being Western Kentucky’s DC in the early 2000s. The Broncos, Ravens and Giants subsequently employed Martindale as their DC since 2010. After a successful stint in Baltimore, Martindale did not prove a fit in New York. After helping Brian Daboll to a Coach of the Year campaign in 2022, Martindale feuded with the New York HC in Year 2. This came to a head when Daboll’s firing of Wilkins — a longtime Ravens assistant who followed Martindale to New York — set off the fiery DC, leading to a shouting match and Martindale resigning his post.

The Ravens hired Mike Macdonald to replace Martindale following the latter’s one-year run as the Wolverines’ DC (2021). This would make Martindale a logical fit, though his dispute with Daboll would certainly require an investigation by the team/school that hires him. Martindale and Wilkins worked as the Giants’ top assistants on defense, effectively running things on that side of the ball — sometimes without Daboll and GM Joe Schoen‘s say-so. Wilkins has worked with Martindale since 2012, when the latter arrived in Baltimore.

The Jaguars and Packers interviewed Martindale for their respective DC jobs, but each team went in a different direction. Jacksonville hired ex-Atlanta DC Ryan Nielsen, while Green Bay brought Boston College HC Jeff Hafley back to the pros. Considering the unstable college landscape, it is interesting Martindale is being connected to moving back to an NCAA gig after 20 years in the NFL.

Michigan is also considering Chiefs D-line coach Joe Cullen for its DC post, Zenitz adds. Unlike Martindale, Cullen is in consideration for one of the remaining NFL vacancies; the Seahawks have shown interest.

NFC Coaching Notes: Martindale, Macdonald, Gruden, Saints, Canales, Bucs, Bears, Eagles

The Packers went off the board with their defensive coordinator hire, bringing in Boston College HC Jeff Hafley. Matt LaFleur has looked to the college ranks during each of his DC searches, wanting to hire then-Wisconsin staffer Jim Leonhard in 2021. Hafley’s hire comes after the Packers squeezed in another interview with a seasoned NFL coordinator. Don Martindale met with the Pack about the gig, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets.

Martindale resigned his two-year post as Giants DC after a turbulent second season with Brian Daboll; he has since interviewed with the Jaguars for a job that went to Ryan Nielsen. Martindale has been accused of going rogue at points in New York, with the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz adding another footnote here. Ahead of the Giants’ Christmas game against the Eagles, Martindale is believed to have requested the equipment staff change linebacker Tomon Fox‘s number from 49 to 94 due to the DC’s plans of having him bumped up from the practice squad. That change was made without Daboll or GM Joe Schoen‘s approval.

As the Giants’ DC search continues, here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • The SaintsJon Gruden connection persists. Although Gruden is not on the radar — at least, as far as we know — for the Saints’ OC job, a GM informed the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora the former Raiders and Buccaneers HC should be expected to have a bigger role with New Orleans in 2024. Gruden worked as a consultant last summer and met with Saints officials recently. The GM suggested the possibility Gruden could eventually replace Dennis Allen, which would be quite the development considering the circumstances surrounding Gruden’s Las Vegas exit. For now, Gruden, who is still suing the NFL, remains without an NFL job.
  • Unsurprisingly, Mike Macdonald confirmed he will start his Seahawks tenure as the team’s defensive play-caller. Though, the new Seattle HC said (via’s Albert Breer) he is open to that changing at some point. Michigan’s 2021 DC, Macdonald called plays for the Ravens over the past two years and became one of this year’s most popular HC candidates as a result. Although Pete Carroll carried a defensive background, he did not serve as the Seahawks’ defensive play-caller.
  • The Buccaneers have lost much of their offensive staff to Carolina, seeing one-and-done OC Dave Canales take three staffers (receivers coach Brad Idzik, run-game coordinator Harold Goodwin, O-line coach Joe Gilbert). Tom Moore, however, will be staying in Tampa, per Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager. Moore, 85, has been with the Bucs since Bruce Arians‘ 2019 arrival. The former Colts OC, who is now 85, has served as a consultant for the NFC South team. This will be Moore’s 47th NFL season.
  • Baker Mayfield finished last in QBR in 2022, seeing his Panthers stay responsible for that dismal result. Canales helping the inconsistent QB recover from what happened in Carolina represents a key reason for his HC hire,’s David Newton notes. A Canales selling point hinged on the Bucs’ downfield passing, with Newton adding Tampa Bay went from 24th in that area (6.9 air yards per attempt) in Tom Brady‘s final season to third in 2023 (8.4).
  • The Eagles have permitted quarterbacks coach Alex Tanney to explore opportunities elsewhere, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. During the period between Brian Johnson‘s exit and the Kellen Moore OC hire, Tanney asked the team for the opportunity. The Eagles are moving on, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. Tanney received interest from the Colts last year, and McLane points to Indianapolis under ex-Eagles OC Shane Steichen as a potential landing spot.
  • The Bears have hired three more assistants. Chad Morton is signing on as running backs coach, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser, while’s Courtney Cronin adds Chris Beatty is coming in as wide receivers coach. Most recently with the Chargers, Beatty coached D.J. Moore at Maryland. A former NFL return man, Morton is following OC Shane Waldron from Seattle. Morton was the Seahawks’ RBs coach from 2017-23. Chicago also hired Jason Houghtaling as assistant O-line coach,’s Tom Pelissero adds; Houghtaling was Tennessee’s O-line coach in 2023.

Jaguars To Interview Wink Martindale For DC Job

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.

Giants, DC Don Martindale Part Ways

JANUARY 10: After the explosive report about Martindale cursing out Daboll and storming out of the Giants’ facility, the sides engaged in a multiday standoff. But this long-rumored separation is now official. The Giants announced Wednesday they have split with Martindale, who was signed through 2024.

The Giants have let Martindale out of his contract and will save some money in doing so. The team will no longer owe Martindale $3MM for the 2024 season,’s Jordan Raanan tweets. New York no longer has the ability to block a Martindale DC move elsewhere; he is a coaching free agent again.

JANUARY 8: Brian Daboll presented comments to the contrary earlier today, but Don Martindale‘s time as defensive coordinator of the Giants could soon be over. The latter is not expected to remain in place for 2024, report ESPN’s Jordan Raanan as well as Dianna Russini of The Athletic.

Indeed, Martindale has now resigned, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. The veteran staffer will head elsewhere in pursuit of both DC and head coaching opportunities. When speaking to the media earlier on Monday, Daboll said he expected both Martindale and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka to remain in their posts. The former has instead chosen to move on.

Martindale enjoyed a successful debut season in New York, as did Daboll and the rest of the team’s staff. The Giants’ defense played a crucial role in their surprising run to the divisional round of the postseason last year, and expectations were high entering 2023 for all involved. The team took a notable step back this year, however, and a reported rift emerged between Martindale and Daboll.

On a number of occasions, both coaches made attempts to downplay the significance of the report, stating that their relationship was seen as being strained only due to the team’s lack of performance. Martindale made it clear his future was uncertain, but he also stated an intention of continuing to work with Daboll in New York for 2024 and beyond. Instead, he will now start over once again.

The 60-year-old spent one year as the Broncos’ DC before a lengthy tenure with the Ravens. Initially joining Baltimore’s staff as a linebackers coach, Martindale was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2018. His time in that role produced three straight seasons as a top-seven unit in terms of both points and yards allowed per game. Regression in 2021 led to a parting of ways, however.

That led Martindale to New York, a stint which has now proven to be rather short-lived. The Giants did not fare well in most defensive categories in 2023, but a larger share of the blame has been laid at the feet of the offense. Generally known for being well-liked amongst his players, Martindale profiled as a logical candidate to be retained in the event Daboll elected to keep much of his staff intact. Since his announcement this morning, however, offensive line coach Drew Wilkins and defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins have been let go. Both brothers have a history with Martindale, who like them will have a new home by next season.

With most of New York’s staffing changes coming on special teams and defense, Kafka may very well still be retained through the offseason. However, both Martindale and ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey are not out of the fold, meaning Daboll will have a number of signficant additions to make to his staff over the coming days and weeks.

Latest On Giants, DC Don Martindale

JANUARY 10: The Giants have not yet started searching for a Martindale replacement and are not planning to until he informs them of an official resignation, per’s Mike Garafolo, with this standoff still going. Although Martindale is not technically gone, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan indicates neither side is aiming for a third season to come to pass at this point. Resignations are fairly rare in the NFL, due to the financial component, and it will be interesting to see if Martindale now forces the Giants to fire him.

JANUARY 9: It is fairly clear the Giants’ relationship with Don Martindale will wrap after two seasons. Brought in without ties to Brian Daboll in 2022, Martindale feuded with the 2022 Coach of the Year this season. That beef escalated Monday.

Following Daboll’s decisions to fire two of Martindale’s assistants — brothers Drew and Kevin Wilkins, who came with the defensive coordinator from the Ravens — the veteran DC cursed out Daboll in his office and stormed out of the Giants’ facility, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports. Martindale told people he would resign, but the Giants have not yet heard anything from the outgoing assistant.

Martindale, 60, is owed $3MM for the 2024 season. Resigning would lead to Martindale forfeiting that money, but with one year remaining on the three-year deal the vocal DC signed back in 2022, the Giants can interfere with him landing somewhere else as a defensive coordinator for the ’24 season. Martindale is believed to be flying back to a home he has in Florida, Schwartz adds.

The November report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, which indicated the Daboll-Martindale relationship was in a bad place, came not long after Daboll took issue with Martindale’s approach during the team’s blowout loss to the Cowboys in Week 10. Implementing a conservative gameplan around Tommy DeVito and a depleted secondary in that matchup, Daboll did not approve of Martindale deploying blitz packages as he did during a game in which the Giants allowed 640 yards — second-most in team history. Daboll confronted Martindale about Glazer’s report privately, per Schwartz, but no explanation emerged.

Daboll is believed to have fired Drew Wilkins, the team’s outside linebackers coach, due in part because of a perception he and Martindale were operating in rogue fashion and believing, Schwartz reports, they did not always have to answer to the offense-oriented head coach. This also led to the ouster of Kevin Wilkins, who worked as a defensive assistant. Drew Wilkins had spent 10 seasons with the Ravens, the timeline overlapping entirely with Martindale’s Baltimore stay. Joining the Giants shortly after Martindale, Drew Wilkins operated as a top lieutenant on defense. On his watch, Kayvon Thibodeaux showed progression in Year 2, posting a team-high 11.5 sacks.

Daboll made a point not to be tied to coaches he was previously familiar with, instead assembling an assistant cadre featuring differing backgrounds. After Martindale and ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey‘s ousters, it is worth wondering if the former Bills OC will deviate from that strategy. The Giants finished 26th in scoring defense and 27th in yards allowed, both finishes worse than the team’s 2022 playoff season.

This Martindale matter will be resolved soon, and it marks the second time in three years a team will part ways with the veteran defensive coach. Differing on contract structure in 2022, the Ravens let Martindale go after a four-season DC run. Martindale interviewed twice for the Colts’ HC post last year. After this simmering feud led to this conclusion, it is worth wondering if another team will consider the Super Bowl-winning assistant for a top job moving forward.

Giants Fire ST Coordinator Thomas McGaughey; OC Mike Kafka, DC Don Martindale Likely To Be Retained

2:14pm: Further changes to the Giants’ staff are coming. Offensive line coach Drew Wilkins and his brother, defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins have been let go, Charlotte Carroll of The Athletic reports. Both staffers have a history with Martindale given their shared time in Baltimore, and the latter has publicly praised both on several occasions. For that reason, speculation continues to point to a Martindale departure even though Daboll suggested otherwise this morning.

10:30am: Changes have been made to the Giants’ coaching staff, but a degree of stability is set to remain in place. Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson have been fired, head coach Brian Daboll announced on Monday.

All three coordinator have been mentioned as potentially being on the hot seat, so McGaughey’s dismissal comes as little surprise. The 50-year-old’s NFL coaching career dates back to 2001, and he had a stint as an assistant with the Giants from 2007-10. He returned to New York after as the team’s coordinator in 2018 (following stints in that same role with the Jets, 49ers and Panthers), enjoying relative success early on.

In recent years, however, the Giants’ third phase performances have taken a turn for the worse. In 2023, New York finished 21st in terms of special teams DVOA, marking a continuation of the team’s underwhelming showings. Now, for the first time since Pat Shurmur‘s tenure as head coach, the Giants will need to find a replacement special teams coordinator.

Johnson followed Daboll to the Giants in 2022 after their shared time with the Bills. The O-line was a sore spot throughout the campaign, though, and New York allowed a league-leading 85 sacks. That figure is in part a result of the slew of injuries the Giants dealt with up front, but also a lack of development from certain young members of the unit. That includes right tackle Evan Neal, who struggled before missing the latter portion of the season due to an ankle injury which will require surgery.

Notably, though, Daboll added that he expects both offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and defensive coordinator Don Martindale to be retained for 2024. Both staffers were reported to be on the chopping block in November, something which came as little surprise given the team’s regression from its impressive playoff run in 2022. New York faced issues in the passing game both before and after Daniel Jones‘ ACL tear, leading to a 30th place finish in scoring (15.6 points per game).

The team’s defense did not fare much better under Martindale this season, and tensions between he and Daboll became a major talking point during the season. A November report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer pointed to a parting of ways being likely given the Daboll-Martindale rift, something the Giants attempted to publicly downplay. Martindale himself has also stated an intention to remain with the Giants, and it now appears that will be the case.

Significant improvement on both sides of the ball will be needed by New York if the team is to avoid a repeat of this season’s shortcomings. Plenty of significant decisions loom, including one on the future of running back Saquon Barkley. Jones’ contract has also not quelled doubts about his Giants tenure beyond the 2024 campaign. While ownership is on board with general manager Joe Schoen‘s rebuilding efforts, Daboll appears to likewise be satisfied a largely intact coaching staff will be able to rebound in 2024.

Wink Martindale Addresses Future With Giants

Earlier this month, Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale addressed the November 26 report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer suggesting that there is palpable tension between Martindale and head coach Brian Daboll. The report, which surfaced just two weeks after Martindale and Daboll engaged in a heated exchange during New York’s Week 10 loss to the Cowboys, was supported by Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News and even indicated that Martindale could be fired before the end of the season.

When speaking about his relationship with Daboll, Martindale said, “[w]e’re fine. It’s the same thing as it was last year. It was just different because we were winning more games” (via Leonard).

Indeed, the 5-8 Giants, who surprisingly advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs during the first season of the Daboll-Martindale partnership, have just a 4% chance of qualifying for the postseason this year (and that is despite the club’s current three-game win streak). Martindale’s unit ranks in or just outside the bottom-10 in total defense, points allowed per game, and defensive DVOA, which is largely why he was reported to be on the hot seat even before the Glazer report (though those rankings are not appreciably worse than they were in 2022, and by measure of DVOA, the Giants’ defense is actually performing better this season).

Losing obviously creates tension, and if the relationship was not in a great place even during a winning season, it stands to reason that it would deteriorate during a disappointing campaign. For what it’s worth, Martindale — who says that Daboll was the one to bring the Glazer report to his attention — indicated that he would like to be back with the Giants in 2024, though his remarks were not especially emphatic.

“Yeah,” Martindale said when asked if he wants to remain with the team. “Yeah.”

However, the 60-year-old coach also acknowledged that he could not say what would happen at the end of the season.

“As far as where I’m gonna be at, no one knows that,” Martindale said. “I say we, [my wife Laura] and myself, worked long enough and hard enough in this league that you hope you have all kinds of choices. I might be grabbing my golf clubs and go to play golf in Florida. … So you just don’t know what’s gonna happen. I can’t predict the future.”

Martindale interviewed for the Colts’ head coaching job last year and also interviewed for the Giants’ HC post back in 2020, but it seems unlikely that he will be on the head coaching interview circuit in 2024. He is under contract with New York for one more season, and given how popular he is in the locker room — and given how it would look for Daboll if he were to have to replace all three of his top coordinators in one offseason, which is a distinct possibility — Dan Duggan of The Athletic believes ownership will intervene and try to keep the relationship between Daboll and his DC in a tolerable place (subscription required).

Duggan does go on to say that such an intervention may not happen if the Daboll-Martindale rift is, as Glazer suggested, unable to be mended. And Duggan, who acknowledges that Glazer “doesn’t miss,” has heard nothing that would contradict the Fox personality’s report.

Therefore, Daboll could indeed be looking to replace Martindale, special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka in short order. Like Martindale, Kafka’s job security was called into question in November, and Duggan suggests that Daboll could seek to more firmly take the reins of the offense as he enters his third season with the Giants, which would lead to a parting of the ways between Kafka and the team.

NFC East Rumors: Giants, Prescott, Lewis, Garcia

The reported rift between Giants head coach Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has gotten weird. After recent reports of tension between the two coaches and rumors that both the team’s coordinators are in danger of losing their jobs, New York elected to deny, deny, deny. And then deflect, deflect, deflect.

The day of our initial report, a New York Post contribution by Mark Cannizzaro relayed multiple accounts from players and staff pushing back on the idea of a rift. Daboll himself expressed his “respect” for Martindale to the media last week telling them, “I’d say the biggest argument that Wink and I have had is who has the last piece of pizza.”

Daboll is known for running a bit of a closed-door operation intent on eliminating outside distractions, so taking his statements at face value is difficult to do. Especially when the following day, Pat Leonard of New York Daily News provided a description of a press conference in which general manager Joe Schoen and Daboll failed in their attempts to play it cool.

For the second straight day, Daboll made a joke about him and Martindale being avid eaters, saying, “I just met with Wink a little while ago. We had donuts.” This was followed by Schoen repeatedly deflecting questions about Martindale’s future with the team to Daboll, claiming that Daboll had already discussed these things with the media, which he hadn’t.

It seems like opinion for now, but those in the room seem to firmly believe in the supposed rift between Daboll and Martindale. The Giants’ attempts to get the media looking in the opposite direction don’t seem to be effective.

Here are a few other rumors from the NFC East:

  • Our own Adam La Rose recently provided a strong breakdown of the potential extension situation for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. In it, La Rose relayed the team’s plan to wait until the offseason to solidify a new deal for their two-time Pro Bowler. Well, today, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided a bit more detail on the situation, cluing us in to a potential deadline for an extended contract. Rapoport speculates that, since Prescott is due a $5MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the new league year, if an extension is going to happen, it’s going to be before then. The 2024 League Year is set to start on March 13, giving the team until March 17 to get a deal done.
  • A few weeks into the season last year, we saw Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis undergo season-ending surgery for a Lisfranc injury. At the time, we questioned what the injury meant for Lewis’s future as he was set to enter a contract year and an injury plus the breakout of then fifth-round rookie DaRon Bland could threaten his job security. Apparently, we should have been worried about his future for a different reason as Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News told us recently that Lewis’s injury had the potential to threaten his football career. The team’s director of rehabilitation, Britt Brown, told Gehlken that “a lot of guys…wouldn’t have come back from that.” Brown continued, “When that initially happened, his career was immediately in jeopardy.” Lewis, though, fought to return and has played in every game past Week 1 for the Cowboys this year, displaying impressive resiliency in the face of dour odds.
  • The Commanders had to turn to some new leaders on the defensive side of the ball this week after firing Jack Del Rio a little over a week ago. Cristian Garcia, who was recently tabbed as the team’s interim defensive backs coach, is reportedly whom head coach Ron Rivera will rely on, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 29-year-old assistant coach was asked this week to “handle a larger role in game planning and on gameday.” While it’s surely an exciting challenge for Garcia, facing the Dolphins in his first week with increased responsibilities was certainly a daunting task.

Tension Mounting Between Giants HC Brian Daboll, DC Don Martindale?

The 2023 season has proven to be a disaster for the Giants, with the team’s on-field performance falling well short of expectations in the wake of last year’s run to the divisional round of the playoffs. As a result, frustrations appear to growing in the coaching ranks.

Tension between head coach Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale is palpable, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports notes (video link). A disconnect between the two staffers was first mentioned by Dan Duggan of The Athletic earlier this month, noting a heated exchange which took place either side of halftime during the team’s blowout loss to the Cowboys in Week 10 (subscription required). While New York followed up that loss with an upset over the Commanders, things have not gone according to plan for the organization this year.

A sticking point in this situation seems to have been the public criticism levied at the coaching staff by safety Xavier McKinney earlier in the season. Martindale publicly responded to the comments, noting it was unprecedented to receive complaints related to communication with players in his lengthy coaching career. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan confirms the McKinney incident represents a potential flashpoint in the Daboll-Martindale relationship, which at this point in a trying season is “festering.”

The pair had no previous working relationship when they joined the Giants’ staff last year. Daboll came to New York with considerable acclaim from his time as the Bills’ offensive coordinator, while Martindale boasted a general track record of success during a four-year run coordinating the Ravens’ defense. Their first season together resulted in an unexpected postseason appearance and a road victory in the wild-card round, but the team has struggled across the board this year. The Giants rank no better than 27th in DVOA for offense, defense and special teams.

As a result, Martindale’s name (along with that of second-year offensive coordinator Mike Kafka) has come up with respect to coaches who could be fired in the offseason. Strife with Daboll could obviously affect the chances of that taking place, but a strong finish to the campaign would also bolster Martindale’s case for remaining in place for at least one more year. Duggan notes that “the writing is on the wall” for special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, so at least some changes on the sidelines should be expected relatively soon.

As Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News adds, the Glazer report is only “scratching the surface” of the current state of affairs between Daboll and Martindale. A winning run to close out the campaign would no doubt smooth things over to a degree, but the Giants’ staffing plans will remain a key storyline to watch over the coming weeks and months.