Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
October 27, 2022
Martindale: I’m just so proud to be up here representing an organization and a defense with a group of guys that just are resilient and stand up for 60 minutes. Their competitive endurance is just amazing to me. We had a lot of situations and a lot of situational football during that game. I told our coaching staff, and I told the defense that we’ve never used that many situational calls in a game, just one game by itself. Now we’ve used them throughout the years, but you might not see us in those types of situations again for another two years. Our guys were fantastic at executing the defense and I was really proud and then happy for all of them. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.
Q: I’m paraphrasing but a couple weeks ago you said something to the effect of, ‘you owe it to the players to always remain composed’. That last minute and four (seconds), is that a big test on you remaining composed in that situation?
A: Yeah, I think it’s composure and experience, (for) the reason why you can be composed. Thursdays as a staff we have our, ‘win the game Thursday meetings’ and we talk about all these different situations and what defense we want to play. You saw one that we did at the end of the half there with (outside linebacker) Tomon (Fox) making the hit. We look at things and just because some people say, ‘this is the standard way to play it’, we want to find out what the best way to play it is and put our guys in those situations and they executed. On Saturday we work these special situations and line up in them and I’ll even tell them, ‘Hey, we might not ever use this, but in this situation, this is what we’re going to play’. Like I said, I give all the credit to the players. They executed it and it worked out for us.
Q: Can you think of another quarterback who has had a career like (Seahawks quarterback) Geno (Smith) where they’ve kind of been on the shelf for so long there, in the back of people’s minds then all of the sudden has a breakout year like this?
A: I’ll give you the first name, Kurt Warner. I don’t know if they’ll make a movie with Geno, but as a football fan and respect for the game, I really respect what he’s done with his game. Besides playing against him, it’s fun to watch the success that he’s had.
Q: What’s different about this version of him, maybe than the previous ones?
A: I just think it’s a good combination of having a defensive head coach and he’s worked well with (Seahawks offensive coordinator) Shane (Waldron) and talking about how to manage the game, how they’re going to attack each game, and you can see the differences of it from week to week of how they’re going to attack the game. So, I think he’s worked hard. I think he’s a really good person, and I just love to see the success that he’s having. I just don’t want him to have any on Sunday.
Q: For all the good things you saw on Sunday, you guys gave up more yards than you have all season. How much is that a concern going forward?
A: Well, you have to attack each game to win the game. Do we want that many yards? No. But sometimes it builds character in your defense. Like I said, they’re a resilient group and we know the things we need to work on and we’re working on them. It’s going to be fun to see this Sunday where we’re at with them.
Q: You talk about building character, coming out of this win what did you see from your defense?
A: I’m so proud to see how they react on the sideline; they take it one play at a time. There’s never any complaining or anything else. It’s like, ‘here’s what we need to do, here’s how we need to fix it.’ They just go and attack it. That’s the biggest thing. The most exciting thing is we’re 6-1 and we’re learning a lot of lessons along the way, and we know we’ve got to keep getting better and that’s how they attack each week.
Q: Why do you think scoring is down across the league this season? What are teams doing to make scoring go down?
A: I’m just worried about Seattle. I haven’t even thought about that, with the scoring going down. I’m glad to hear it as a defensive coach.
Q: (Cornerback) Fabian (Moreau) almost sealed the game there with the interception that wasn’t. What have you seen from him?
A: So, you asked about Fabian, I’ll throw (safety Landon) L.C. (Collins) in there too. We have spectacular organizational alignment. From the ownership, from the Maras, the Tisches, to (general manager) Joe (Schoen), to (head coach Brian) Dabs (Daboll). We tell them the type of player that we’re looking for. Joe and his group have done a great job of finding those guys and we’ve been putting them in the mix. I love Fab. I love the way he prepares for the game, that’s the thing that stands out and that’s what I keep telling the young rookies is how he prepares for a game. I’m glad he’s having the success that he’s having.
Q: We mentioned the yards per play and yards allowed, you’re 25th in yards per play allowed but sixth in points allowed, kind of the other end of the spectrum. What do you attribute to that? What do you think of when I say that? How sustainable is that?
A: I don’t know anything about how sustainable it is. I just know that we’re sixth in points and we play real well in the redzone. That’s the name of the game defensively is to try to keep them out of the endzone. We’ve done a good job doing that. I think each game, you look at it differently, so I’m not really worried about where we’re at statistically with that. I just want to know how many wins we have and how many losses we have.
Q: That’s kind of what I was getting at, that red zone part of it. Can you be mediocre throughout the rest of the game but dominant in the red zone? Is that something you’ve seen before?
A: Of course. I think if you’re really good in the red zone, you’re really good on third down, and points allowed, I think you’ll have a lot of success.
Q: What’s the key to stopping a run game when they attack your edges?
A: Well, it all depends on where that edge is at. That edge can go out to the corner, it could go out to the end, it could go to a three-technique, or it could go to a shade. The bottom line to stop a run game and a run game like this, you’ve got to set the edge, okay? You’ve got to set the edge and you got to knock people back but also understand that when you do that and you have an explosive back like Seattle has, they’re going to come down and they’re going to crack your defenders, your bigger defenders. Whether it’s an outside backer or a safety and they’re going to try and get him one-on-one with a corner and your corners have to tackle well. It’s an 11-man job. It’s not just certain things that we all want to point out that it is. It’s an 11-man job and that’s what we’re working on.
Q: When I watch video of (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), I’ve been surprised that he hasn’t drawn as many flags as it looks like when he’s on the field. I don’t expect you to go after officiating but when you have a young player like that, do you have to be conscious of guys not getting frustrated on the field when they’re getting a lot of attention from offensive linemen, and they don’t seem to be generating the kind of attention from the officials?
A: It’s like I said before, we don’t make the rules, we just try to play by them. Rookies usually don’t get a whole lot of calls and I think he knows that. The thing that impresses me about Kayvon is he is playing up, he knows the standard. The play that he made against the back from Jacksonville – I think he ran, the GPS was over 20 miles an hour to chase him down. If you have a guy that’s going to be a leader – he’s going to be a leader, he’s already established as a leader – but puts that kind of thing on tape. It’s hard not to listen and say here’s how you do it. He understands the standard and he’s been playing up to it.
Q: Have you ever had a defense that has had contributions from so many different places? The fourth and one play comes to mind. The play before, (outside linebacker) Quincy (Roche) comes up with a big stop that really doesn’t get noticed. It seems like you try to get all of those guys into the game at some point.
A: Sometimes it’s just necessary that you have to play all those guys and then the guys that make plays, they find their way on the field. To answer the first part of the question, I really can’t remember or have thought of all the different guys making plays as far as different people playing the same spot and all that. I can’t remember that happening. If you get 11 guys to run to the football and, like I said, have the competitive endurance or stamina that they have, it’s just a lot of fun to watch.