Linebacker Blake Martinez
Q: Before we talk about the future, I just want to ask what you thought of the organization's decision to fire the last staff. You had the relationship with (Former Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham coming in and were a captain with them. So just wondering what you thought of them, that whole decision, whether it was the right one.
A: Yeah, I think for me, I'm just a player. I don't get to be in those decisions. For me, it's just one of the things about the business. I learned that early on in my career. Obviously great relationships, like you, said, with all those guys, I will continue to have great relationships with them and now it's moving forward and I'm excited for OTAs.
Q: Just curious for an update on your timeline with your injury. Do you have a target date you can get back to a hundred percent on the field?
A: Yeah, for me right now, it's just focusing day by day, trying to get each checkpoint, doing the things the trainers have me doing for rehab and then all of the strength staff, what they have me doing in the weight room. All I can say is it's going well and just excited to keep chopping wood and make that progress.
Q: There's a lot of talk from other players from other teams about the MetLife turf. When you look back at your injury, is that something you wondered? Was it something to do with the turf? Is that something you can diagnose or figure out after the fact?
A: Not too much. I think for me, I think it was more my cleats. I wore those I think a little bit too long and my foot was sliding in it. So, I just planted awkwardly with the kind of worn-out cleats and it caused it to kind of happen.
Q: I was wondering what you think about going into (Defensive Coordinator) Wink Martindale's defense, obviously he's known for being pretty blitz-happy. I'm just curious if you're excited about the prospect of getting at the quarterback a little more?
A: Oh yeah. Everyone loves to make sacks, and make big plays. Super excited. Wink, it's the first day with him today, just being able to see the culture and his mindset and just the way he kind of commands the room. I think it was just a great start to OTAs today and kind of, as I said before, just excited moving forward with it.
Q: Obviously you had to restructure your contract here to come back. Can you take me through that process? Were you insulted by that? Did you feel that it was part of the business? Did you consider saying no and maybe taking your shot in free agency? How did that go?
A: I mean, it was definitely a difficult decision. But I think for me, it all came down to my family. I think being able to have the structure and the ability to have my daughters in the schools they're in and have that situation handled. I just love playing football and I knew what the coaches brought here from my time being rehabbing here and those types of things and then interactions. I just felt confident knowing that I can go out there and prove the type of player I am coming back from my injury.
Q: You had such a good relationship with Patrick Graham, are you concerned or excited about being able to do that with Wink? Do you think Wink wants that from you? How does that new dynamic happen, and you've got to also rehab and prove you can do all the things on the field that they would want you to?
A: No, 100%. I think that's the part that came into my decision as well. I think for me, I always wanted to be the person that thrives in the uncomfortable because I could have possibly easily left and gone somewhere that's comfortable and those types of things, people I knew or people that I played with before. But being able to go here and come back from my knee injury, go show Wink, and as you said, build that relationship with him throughout training camp, all the process, OTAs, and everything is I think going to be that much more rewarding when it happens.
Q: They obviously asked you to take a pay cut, but did they also tell you that, 'We think you can lead our defense,' was there that give and take? Or was it kind of like, well we'll wait to see?
A: I think their big motto is that obviously, they wanted me to stay here. I think it was mutual on both sides and I think for them, they just basically told me, hey, everyone's going to earn their spot. Obviously, you're coming back from a knee injury, coming out here and showing us that you could be the Blake that you were before is obviously what we're looking for.
Q: You talked about being able to get back to being the Blake Martinez you were before, how difficult a challenge is that for you? I mean you're in a year where, as you alluded to, you've got to prove yourself to a new coaching staff, to maybe earn a new contract in the future. At the same time, you have to get healthy first to do any of that. How big of a challenge is that that you're facing this season?
A: Yeah, I think for me, it's part of the business and I know for myself what I've accomplished through my six years going on my seventh year, I always have to take a step back and look at those things. I think for me, it's just taking it one step at a time and not getting ahead of myself. I think just going through the process of rehabbing my knee, doing the things I need to do, and taking each checkpoint in open strides, I'm going to be able to be happy with what I'm turning myself into regardless of the Blake of the old or this new Blake that I'm forming right now.
Q: You renegotiated, (Wide Receiver Sterling) Shep renegotiated, (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) renegotiated, (Safety) Logan Ryan was let go, (Cornerback) James (Bradberry) looks like he's being shopped around. I mean, when you look at all of this, is there a reason to be excited about the prospect of this year based on what's gone on in the last five?
A: I mean, that's one of the things it's just, you can't look at one thing similar to the other and you can't dwell on the past going into the future. I think for us as a team, we're all excited with the coaching staff that's come in. Obviously, we got to have our actual football moments today on the first day. You could just see the excitement, the enthusiasm, the want to just make us better to be a better team. I think that's what kind of every single person's going to go off of is that everyday instance. Then obviously when the season comes around, everyone wants to win and that's what it comes down to. And when those things happen, everything else is going to line up in the right direction.