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2022 Spring Football

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Notebook: DC Wink Martindale wants to dictate to offenses

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale spoke to the media today for the first time since joining the Giants.

Martindale has 18 years of NFL coaching experience, including the last four as the Baltimore Ravens' coordinator. His unit ranked in the top three in the NFL in points allowed in each of his first three seasons, never finishing lower than eighth against the run or the pass and last year allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL.

How would he describe his pressure-heavy defensive philosophy?

"You want to dictate to the offense instead of sitting there and letting them dictate to you," Martindale said. "I think this is a game of adjustments and matchups and everything else, but I would rather them have the headache and stay up five nights before we play them figuring out what we're going to do and try to present different looks every time we play – because pressure does break pipes -- that's our philosophy.

"You have a great quarterback, you want him to be able to make quick decisions that you're going against and if you have an average quarterback, you want him to change up your different looks coverage-wise and everything else but at the end of the day, you want the quarterback on his back. I don't care if he throws it or not, but if you can just get quarterback hits, they know who they are playing against."

*Martindale spent 10 seasons on John Harbaugh's staff in Baltimore. He has no hard feelings about leaving, nor about not being selected after interviewing for the Giants' head coach position in 2020.

"We (Harbaugh and him) had some conversations, and you know there was a lot of change in the league this year," Martindale said. "And there's no big secret, I want to become a head coach in this league. I thought with the different opportunities with the different changes, it was mutual. I love John Harbaugh. He's a brother. Always will be. And Mr. (Steve) Bisciotti (the Ravens' owner) took care of our family for 10 years and I love that organization.

"But when this opportunity came about, I just thought, you know, my time before when I met with Mr. (John) Mara and Mr. (Steve) Tisch, those guys, this is an awesome opportunity for us."

*This doesn't qualify as a surprise, but outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins is a big fan of Kayvon Thibodeaux, whom the Giants chose fifth overall in last month's NFL Draft.

"He's a special talent," Wilkins said. "The thing with him is he's so driven to succeed. He shows up at the combine and benches more than anybody. He shows up in the interview and you see his football knowledge.

"He was just such a great fit for us in Wink's defense. If Wink were to create an outside linebacker in a lab, this would be Kayvon Thibodeaux. He's got all the skillsets that you look for. He can be a dominant edge setter, he's explosive and violent and a relentless pass rusher. And then everything else you see that's required in the package. All those things combined, it's such a good fit for us. And he has taken it and run with it."

View photos from the sixth OTA practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.


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