Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
May 26, 2022
WINK MARTINDALE: Really like where we're at right now. Second time we've gone through the installation of the package and love the room and really excited to take this thing all the way into mini-camp and then build for the third time that they will go through it in training camp.
With that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q. Can you talk about some of the young corners you have opposite Adoree?
WINK MARTINDALE: Yeah, like A-Rob (Aaron Robinson), initially just come to my mind when you said that, I think he's been doing really well. And they are all competing. It's hard when you sit there and look at all the different corners right now because of how early it is. You know, we haven't even had a practice in pads yet.
And also, they are not in their top training camp fall shape yet. But what I've seen, I really do like. I love that room. And I think we've got the best secondary coach in the league, Jerome Henderson. I'm excited for that room.
Q. You went through a year last year where it seemed like you were trying to find a new corner every week in this defense. What kind of lessons did you learn of trying to overcome that?
WINK MARTINDALE: Don't go to DoorDash to find a backup corner.
I think that just everything's in perspective. You have to have a flexible enough scheme that you can make some different changes. If you have a guy that hasn't had much playing time or has been a backup or whatever, that you can make some different calls to help that player out.
But I mean, football, this is a tough profession. You know, it's just like I talk about corners all the time, offensive coordinators talk about wide receivers. Everybody is drafting wide receivers in the top part of the Draft. It's great challenge.
Q. You mentioned Aaron. What do you like about him on the outside? When they drafted him last year, he was seen as an inside guy.
WINK MARTINDALE: I think that from what I've seen, my evaluation with it is the game is slowing down for him, like any rookie going into his second year. But when you put him outside, I think it slows it down even more from being inside. It's like walking in middle of the street when you're inside, compared to the outside, you're just standing on the sidewalk and you see things a lot better, a lot easier.
Q. When you come in, everybody says, okay, Wink is going to bring a pressure package; that's what he believes in. Can you give a quick thumbnail on what your philosophy is? It's easy to say pressure. A lot of guys like pressure but you analytically do it more than anybody. What is your philosophy about what you want to do to the offense?
WINK MARTINDALE: I think that, really you just answered the question, is you want to dictate to the offense instead of sitting there and letting them dictate to you. 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.
Q. When you present that to the players for the first time, what was their reaction, especially the guys who have been here before?
WINK MARTINDALE: Like I said, it's a great room. I really do enjoy that room of players and people, coaches and the players. It's just been a lot of fun. I just tell them who I am. I'm not one of those guys that's going to drive home and say, I wish I didn't play max coverage there. We going to put the game in the players’ hands because this game always has been and always will be about the players, and I've said that ever since I've been in this position.
I think that as long as they know it situationally what we're going to call, and we'll talk about it. We'll talk about it on Saturday. We'll talk about it on Fridays, but in the Saturday night meeting, in these situations, here is what we're going to call, is everybody with us? You get a lot of success because you're putting the game in the players’ hands and that's what it's about.
Q. On defense as a whole, how does length help you guys defensively?
WINK MARTINDALE: I always say there's a good place for a small person. It’s behind a big, long person in this league, because you know, it helps everything. It helps your open field tackling and helps separating off blocks and it helps going up to the 50/50 ball. Length does play a big part of it.
I thought Joe (Schoen) did a great job, and Dabs, with the draft and free agency and the undrafted free agents. It's been a long process. We've been here like four months now. I was joking with Dabs the other say, I said it seems like we've been together for four years. But I mean, that’s a good thing. That’s how much we are enjoying it here and doing this.
Q. You were obviously in Baltimore for awhile and you did a lot of really good things there. What was your reaction when John Harbaugh mentioned to you that he was going to make a change?
WINK MARTINDALE: Really, John didn't mention it to me. We had some conversations and you know there was a lot of change in the league this year. 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. Bisciotti 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. Mara and Mr. Tisch, those guys, this is an awesome opportunity for us.
Q. What do you remember about that interview and why was that a positive experience for you?
WINK MARTINDALE: Just the man that Mr. Mara was in talking to him. It was just a very comfortable conversation, which he made it comfortable, because I'm interviewing for the head coaching job and I wasn't comfortable. I was nervous.
But it was just a really good conversation that we had for about four hours.
Q. After all success you had in Baltimore, what is there left for you to prove to become a head coach, do you think?
WINK MARTINDALE: It will happen if it's supposed to happen. I tell my kids this. Wherever you're at is where you're supposed to be and that's the way I feel here now. I don't know what's in store for us or down the road, and that's the great thing about life. But I know one thing: We're going to have the best Thursday you've ever seen, and that's how we look at it defensively.
Q. Seeing the departures that you guys had, most notably James Bradberry and Logan Ryan, some of the outside perspective is this defense is going to struggle this year. What would your message be to that perception?
WINK MARTINDALE: We'll see. We'll see.
Q. Do you prefer Wink or Don?
WINK MARTINDALE: Wink's fine. I've been called that since college.
Q. How excited were you guys that you did draft an edge rusher, Kayvon, with the fifth pick and what are your expectations for him as a rookie?
WINK MARTINDALE: Just to be Kayvon. I mean, as a defensive coordinator, you want every pick to be a defensive player. But I was excited. He was Drew's No. 1 guy, Drew Wilkins, the outside linebacker coach, and he was my number one guy coming out of the process.
He is going to be a lot of fun to be around.
Q. What made him your number one guy?
WINK MARTINDALE: Just all his different flexibilities and the way we can use him in the scheme and his pass rush ability. He's a bright, very football-smart kid that has a lot of aspirations and goals, and don't we all want our kids to have aspirations and goals. I've loved him since day one.
Q. You had another young pass rusher last year in --
WINK MARTINDALE: Odafe?
Q. Oweh. And are there any similarities? Is there anything coachability wise that you would relate?
WINK MARTINDALE: Yeah, they are both great people, you know what I mean, and they are football smart, but they are definitely different. It's going to be, like I said, a lot of fun to watch.
Q. About this job, are you doing a deep dive on what the talent level is here, or do you just simply say, I can work with whatever they give me?
WINK MARTINDALE: I think that you do that -- I think that you work with whatever they give you, wherever you go. And I think anybody tells you any different, they are looking you dead in the eye and lying. I didn't know Brian personally. We've been around each other, but I have respected him as a coordinator, as a defensive coordinator going against an offensive coordinator, and I've learned a lot of football in the last four months from him, how he looks at things offensively.
And let's don't forget, he coached defense, too. He coached defense for five years. I just really respect him as a man, and I know you guys can see the change in the culture around here and that we are going to have fun and we are going to play hard nosed. We are going to run after the football and tackle people. I guarantee you that. We'll play as hard as they can play.
Q. In Baltimore, you guys had, seemed like a great linebacker every year. I know he's coming off injury, but what do you see from Blake Martinez here or in the past?
WINK MARTINDALE: Blake's doing everything that you can possibly do to get back on the field. He tells me he's ready to go right now, and I know Ronnie (Barnes) is doing great job with him. I really respect Blake and what he's done in this league.
Q. You’re a very fiery guy, we all know that, but circling back to before, the idea that people don't have high hopes for this defense, do you want to prove that wrong?
WINK MARTINDALE: Look, we'll control the narrative. That's what I'll tell you. We control the narrative. People can say what they want to say. We'll see when it's time to kick it off down there in Nashville, we'll see where we’re going to be at by then. But we control the narrative in the room, and I'm excited about this this season.