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Transcript: Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale

Eric from BBI : Admin : 1/12/2023 7:03 pm
Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale

Martindale: I was really pleased with the effort of the guys that played against Philly, that was a lot of fun to watch. Some guys that haven't had a lot of opportunities that took advantage of (them) when they were out there. Just seeing the overall excitement in the locker room after the game with everybody because they know the challenges that we have starting in the playoffs. I think it's awesome for this organization and the fans, the great fans of the Giants, and it's a lot of fun. You get a different sense of energy in the building and yourself professionally when you're getting ready for these playoff games. It's going to be a great challenge.

Q: How do you balance being aggressive and smart at the same time against a team that's so explosive?

A: Balance aggressive and smart? So if you're aggressive, you're not smart? (Laughs) No, I'm with you. I just think that our personality as a defense is to attack. I said it before, if you've got a NY on your helmet or the old school Giants on your helmet, you're going to attack. Now, there's different ways to attack or to be smart. One of the reasons why we pressure like we do is because we know they're going to hit. It's one of those situations where that was a topic of discussion of could you have done this? Could you have done that? Could you have done this? I just look at it as for myself personally when I'm calling the game, is it time for us to win it? Which at the time we were trying to win it defensively in where we were at in that situation. Now, you're saying well you're pressuring, and you got (wide receiver Justin Jefferson) 18 out there. We have 18 with a safety over the top of him. Just like Buffalo when they rush four on fourth-and-18. Great players make great plays and 18 made a great play, he made two of them. (Quarterback Kirk) Cousins was throwing off his back foot, all credit to them. You guys know how I feel about (head coach) Kevin (O'Connell), I think he's done a great job with this offense, he's come from the (head coach Sean) McVay tree, and you can tell he just wasn't sitting there doing nothing. He was working at that system and it's cool to watch because everybody studies Sean's offense, it's cool to watch his little areas that he's branched off in off of that offense, but it's still in that same family. Let's make no mistake about it, you can't take away 18. You try to limit him, but you can't take away from him. I think I said it the last time, he's one of the top two receivers and he's not number two in this league. It's going to be a great challenge.

Q: There have been a few times this year where teams have limited him. Do you see any commonalities in scheme or just approach of how teams have been able to do that?

A: Yeah, and there's other factors that go into it. Score of the game, you can do some different things. You get a two-score lead, you can do some different things. It's going to be one of those things that you have to keep the ball moving on him, which I thought we did a nice job of the last time we played them. Once again, I've got the utmost respect for Kevin and the job they've done because I know we're up there in the top three as far as one score games, I think they're number one in winning one score games and that's what good teams do.

Q: You said last week that you felt like the defense is on an upswing.

A: Still feel that way.

Q: What is the biggest difference of this defense now maybe than Week 5? Why do you feel like this defense is on the upswing?

A: First of all, it's the brotherhood of the guys in that room and how they care. They're selfless in how they care for each other and they're just as happy to see someone else be successful than themselves. When you get things going that way, that's a lot of fun. Another thing is we're getting healthy. So, guys are excited about that. I just think we're in the playoffs, we've built a playoff defense and it's different ways to do it. We went obviously a different route this year than what I'm used to in the past, but it's been a lot of fun and I'm excited. Like I said, I'm fired up for the fans, I'm fired up for the players because they've worked their tails off since they've been here. It's fun to see those guys have the success that they're having and they're truly excited about representing this organization and taking on Minnesota. So, it's going to be fun.

Q: What makes them a playoff defense?

A: We're in the playoffs, that's number one. I just think that with my experience, I can see it building. I said something to them during a loss that we're building a playoff defense here guys, make no mistake about it, and I feel that way. That's guys that can just play it one play at a time and they don't flinch, they're never flinching. If there's a mistake, we correct it. If there's a play, we celebrate it, and then we get ready to go play the next play. They've just been so professional in studying their opponent, studying the gameplan, and that's the thing that's exciting to me about it is they've been rewarded for it. You know, sometimes in life, you don't get rewarded for that. I'm happy for the guys that have been here for a while and they haven't been in the playoffs yet, too, and it's sort of fun to sit back and watch how they react, too. Defensively, I'm really happy where we're at and excited to see where we're going to go.

Q: Because of how you've built this and, on a week-to-week thing of flipping your gameplan every week to attack your opponent, kind of like what you do. Have you put yourself in a position now where you're going into the playoffs and all the guys embrace maybe something different?

A: I believe so because everything is punch and counter punch. Just like we did when we played Washington, from the first time into the second time. Same thing we did with Philly and looking back on it, I think we did the same thing in Dallas. We had a lot of injuries in that game, but we still held them lower than what they were averaging scoring, I know that. Every time I saw it, I felt shitty walking out of there but then after I saw some of these scores, "hey, I don't feel that bad". I think that's the way professional football is and that's the way being a coordinator is. You've got to have counter punches to everything you do.

Q: You mentioned the old school Giants. When this franchise won Super Bowls, it's been a large part because the defenses hit the quarterback. How much are you sort of inspired by that tradition?

A: Definitely inspired. We know where the standard is, and we want to keep raising the bar. That's why I keep referring to the fans, I think they like seeing it. They like seeing an attacking style defense and ones that can hit the quarterback, We've had 19 different guys this year on the roster that's got a sack. That's crazy. It's also once again a credit to the players and their coaches.

Q: What did you learn from that first matchup with Minnesota?

A: They're really good.

Q: In what ways?

A: I think that's a great question. Talent is obvious, right?

Q: You knew that beforehand?

A: Yeah, but I mean it's legit when you see 18 out there running down the field. I think that was the beginning of, I told the coaches and I told (defensive lineman Dexter Dex (Lawrence), you can ask Dex and (defensive lineman Leonard) Leo (Williams), I said we've got a playoff defense here, guys. Just keep playing it one play at a time and that's when it was 24-(16). That's when we were down, that's before the offense scored. Then I went on the back of the plane, and I told them, I said, "we've got a playoff defense, guys. We got beat by a buzzer beater at half-court". That's what it was. The biggest thing in this league is you never let one game beat you twice. So, you stay consistent. That's the way (head coach Brian) Dabs (Daboll) has been since day one, that's why I love working with him. He's been consistent since day one and there's no riding the roller coasters. It's an emotional game, that's hard to do and keep coming back in on Monday and staying steady with it. I think that's what the players appreciate the most, and I think that's what the coaches appreciate the most.

Q: How much does it help to have (safety Xavier) McKinney back and potentially (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) back for the matchups we've mostly been asking you about in particular?

A: It really helps and that's why they were starters at the beginning of the season. So, I keep going back to the players, just seeing Adoree' out there smiling and we don't know for sure if he can go, I think that it's still up in the air and Dabs will handle all that. It's fun just seeing him smile again because he was down after he got hurt.

Q: With McKinney he calls himself a playmaker, I think rightly so.

A: Right.

Q: The idea he'll play Sunday, does that change the way you can call plays?

A: Sure, it does.

Q: How so?

A: I'll tell you after the game after Kevin sees it first, but it definitely will change the way you can call some plays.

Q: As somebody who's been doing this for a long and has tasted the playoff stuff, Leo has been doing this for a while, this is his first go round. What is your appreciation for his hunger to keep at this and how much do you feel for (him), he's not the only guy but he's been here for a long time.

A: That's part of the excitement for the playoffs itself, to see those guys that haven't done it. Just like I told the defense, when we were getting ready to play the Super Bowl and (linebacker) Ray Lewis was talking to the team, he said, "look, we don't have to win the Super Bowl, we just have to beat the team we're playing". We don't have to win the playoffs, we just have to beat Minnesota, so just keep the main thing the main thing. Seeing those guys and it's their first time in it, it's like seeing a kid on Christmas morning.
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 1/12/2023 7:06 pm : link
I'm going to be selfish AF, but I hope Wink is here for a long a LeBeau like run with the Steelers.
Enjoy his interviews.  
j_rud : 1/12/2023 7:26 pm : link
Really love his comment about sizing up a situation and saying "OK, is this where the defense wins the game for us?". Just love that attitude and the willingness to put it on the players and see where the chips fall. You'll have losses and you'll get burned, it happens. Hell he talks about a time it didnt work right after that comment. But I will always prefer a coordinator who dictates, not one who is is dictated to. I guess reactionary would be more accurate but you get the point.
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