Ex-Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale Is Back on the Open Market

Don "Wink" Martindale as defensive coordinator of the Ravens.

Getty Don "Wink" Martindale as defensive coordinator of the Ravens.

The Monday after the regular season ends is usually the beginning of the coaching carousel around the league. Surprisingly, it looks like a former Baltimore Ravens, and now ex-New York Giants, defensive coordinator will be available.

On Monday, January 8, NFL Networks’ Ian Rapoport reported, “A top defensive coordinator now available: Sources say the #Giants and DC Don “Wink” Martindale are parting ways. Martindale interviewed for HC jobs in the past, and he could get more looks, as well.” 

Rapoport later clarified that Martindale “resigned” from the Giants. It was a surprising move that has fans and media baffled.

SNY’s Connor Hughes posted, “Attempting to spin Wink Martindale’s departure from the #Giants as anything other than a massive loss is beyond silly. New York had one of the game’s best defensive minds in their building, a true culture changer/setter, and let him out.”

Martindale will be a hot commodity on the coaching scene not only for a coordinator position but a potential head coach as well.  Martindale has almost 40 years of coaching experience at this point.

“He’ll be coveted and won’t be out of work for long,” according to Rapoport. The Giants’ defense was one of the few bright spots, at times, the team had during a disappointing season.

However, Hughes believes the relationship between Martindale and head coach Brian Daboll could have influenced this situation. He wrote, “They [Giants] didn’t need a new DC. They’re filling a hole they created. And they have to fill it because Brian Daboll & Wink couldn’t make it work.

Release of Assistants Could Have Influenced Wink Martindale

The writing may have been on the wall and been apparent to Martindale after the Giants released two of Martindale’s top assistants.

The Athletics’ Charlotte Carroll posted, “Giants outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins and his brother defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins have been fired, per source.”

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan said, “This is a significant move. Drew Wilkins is Wink Martindale’s right-hand man. Drew has been with Martindale since 2012 (12 years) and Kevin since 2015 (9 years).

According to Rapoport, “Expect Drew and Kevin Wilkins, two top assistants, to join him.”

Martindale will likely bring both wherever he ends up. It does not seem to surprise many that he resigned quickly after two of his top assistants were cut lose.

Wink Martindale & Assistants Were Part of Dominant Ravens’ Defenses

Martindale has been a member of the Ravens family since he joined as a linebackers coach in 2012. He has coached many Ravens star linebackers including, Ray Lewis, Daryl Smith and C.J. Mosely.

Martindale was promoted in 2018 to the defensive coordinator position. According to the Ravens’ website, “Led the Ravens’ defense to a No. 1 ranking (292.9 ypg allowed) in his first season as DC…It was the second time (2006) in team history the Ravens held the top spot…The AFC North division champs allowed the second-fewest points per game (17.9).”

Martindale was the defensive coordinator for four years 2018-2021 for the Ravens. According to Pro Football Reference in those four years his defense ranked 2nd, 3rd, 2nd and 19th in points per game and 1st, 4th, 7th and 25th in yards per game.

Martindale and the Ravens went their separate ways following the 2021 season. Martindale was a key coach in the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory against the San Francisco 49ers.

Drew Wilkins has been a member of the Ravens even longer. He joined the team in 2010, “as a football video operations intern.”

Wilkins had various roles on the defensive coaching staff and spent the “last four coaching the outside linebackers,” according to the Giants website. Additionally, Kevin Wilkins joined the Ravens in 2015 and also moved around the coaching staff in the six years he was with the Ravens under Martindale.

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