Well, the title of this blog may be a bit misleading. The blessing really isn’t too much of a disguise. Kind of like Batman’s sidekick Robin. The guy literally just wore a mask to cover his eyes and no one could ever figure out who he was. Pretty awful disguise if you ask me. Anyway, back to the Giants. When Brian Daboll was first hired as Head Coach, he said he would keep Patrick Graham on as Defensive Coordinator as long as he didn’t get the Head Coaching job in Minnesota. Well, he didn’t get the Vikings job, but he did decide to jump ship to Vegas to become DC of the Raiders. The loss of Graham opened up a search for a new Defensive Coordinator in New York. The man they hired may just take away the sting of Patrick Graham leaving for Sin City.
The Giants new Defensive Coordinator is Don “Wink” Martindale. Before you even know anything about him, you can just tell he is a football guy. I mean just look at him.
(Photo: getty images)
Wink Martindale has been with the Ravens since 2012, and has been their Defensive Coordinator since 2018. Since he became the DC, he has posted a top 10 defense every year besides last year. Much of last year’s struggles has been credited to the Ravens dealing with a ton of injuries. Injuries aren’t really a valid excuse, but even if you believe that, the man went 3 out of 4 years with a top 10 defense in the NFL. So then, why was he fired? It was apparently a contract dispute between Wink and Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. Well right now, I’m thankful for that dispute. I can obviously be wrong, but this feels like one of those rare times where something good just falls into your lap.
When Joe Judge was fired and rumors started to surface regarding Patrick Graham staying, I was….ok with it. Listen, I like Graham. He was the best part about the Giants coaching staff the last two years and there was no reason for him to be let go…other than the fact that he was Judge’s right hand man. I don’t know, to me, it kind of felt weird keeping Graham on the staff. So, when Graham left for Vegas, you could imagine I wasn’t as devastated as some and if you couldn’t tell by this blog, I am very excited about the Martindale hire.
Martindale and Graham’s defenses are going to look very different. Graham played more of a bend don’t break defense, which was fine. It got the job done, kept the Giants in the majority of their games, and played to the Giants strengths. Wink, on the other hand, is one of the most aggressive defensive play callers in the league. He’s well known for his blitzing schemes, which is much different than what Graham was running the last two years. This is something I think Giants fans as a whole will embrace. The Giants history is rich with defensive pass rushers and it’s something that many Giants fans have been clamoring for, even with Graham coaching up a solid defense. Although I am excited about Wink’s aggressive scheme, it does come with one concern.
Say what you want about Patrick Grahams defense, but he knew had to adjust and create different game plans week to week. From what I understand, Martindale is going to send the heat no matter what. That’s not to say he doesn’t make any adjustments, as he did last year when he lost his two top corners. But if his scheme ain’t working, then I hope he is willing to try something else. This is just a small concern though. He has a very good reputation around the league, and though a few players could go without his blunt nature, it seems the majority of his players love him. It’s clear that this defense will look much different under Martindale, and I don’t think that it’s going to be a bad thing, even with this small concern.
The Giants lost a very good coach in Patrick Graham, no doubt about it. But they may have gained one that is just as good, if not better.
Let’s hope the loss of Graham was a blessing in disguise, in the form of Wink Martindale.