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Transcript: Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale

Eric from BBI : Admin : 10/26/2023 6:40 pm
Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale

Beautiful day, huh? Sun's always brighter after a W.

I was really happy with the way that our guys competed. The fans were great during the game, which led to our success, too. It creates confusion for the opponent. I thought that we competed well for all four quarters, which I've stood up here and said that before, but we did. We communicated well, we executed well, and I was just really happy for all the guys.

With that, I'll open it up to questions.

Q: How would you describe (outside linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux's season to date, especially recently?

A: I've said this every time I come up here, I think he's a very good football player and I think he's having a really good season. I mean, you're talking about a guy in the NFL that as an edge rusher, as a linebacker who played 68 out of the 69 plays, which is a rarity in itself. I think that—where's he at now, five-and-a-half sacks? He makes everything roll for us. I know no matter what he does, it might not reach what some people think he should be doing, but I think he's a hell of a football player. I'm glad that we have him. I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to coach him.

Q: What do you make of his number of pressures?

A: I think that we ask him to do so many different things. Sometimes, they're going to put all the attention on him going into that game. Sometimes, we can get one-on-one, sometimes we can't get one-on-ones. So, all we're interested in really is just wins and playing well defensively. Just to point one individual guy out, I think we're going down the wrong street with that. There's guys that do a lot of the other heavy lifting stuff that, in my opinion, don't get enough credit. He's one of them with how we move him around and how we use him.

Q: Last week, (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams was talking about how in a certain system, you might be called upon to do different things. So overall, can you talk about this defense and how selfless it is on an individual basis, so that the unit can succeed?

A: Right. I think that's the biggest thing and the hardest thing to do in the NFL, is get 11 players in your group that are going to be selfless, that care about other people's success in that room more than their own. That's just today's day and age of life. I think once you get guys who care that way for each other, I think you could be a force in this league, and we're heading in that direction. It's not there yet, but we're heading in that direction.

Q: How do you think (safety) Jason (Pinnock) has played this year, and was there pressure on him in terms of replacing (safety) Julian Love, who was a captain and a big player on this team?

A: Yeah, I don't think there was pressure because of that. I think that he was the next man up and I think that he's doing well. There are some little things that he needs to still grow at and continue to grow at. But I think you saw Sunday, he's a very effective piece of our unit, and I'm really happy with where JP (safety Jason Pinnock) is at.

Q: Where do you think he needs to grow?

A: I mean, just at everything. All the little things. That's the entire defense. I've stood up here and told you we need to work on tackling, we need to work on this, we need to—every day, you need to work to get better. I think you're starting to see some of the growth of the entire group. That's everybody; it's not just individually.

Q: You talked about earlier in the season having multiple guys who wish they had one or two plays back and you wanted to get that number down. How have you seen that progress?

A: I think in the last two weeks, you've really seen there's still some guys that have one or two plays, but there's fewer of them. I think that's where you see the success of the defense. We're starting to get better at that.

Q: Knowing that you're going to face the Jets offense, but there's going to be a lot of eyes on both teams' defenses here and kind of measuring them against each other, do you think your guys like that challenge of going up against the Jets defense on the same field?

A: I don't know if we necessarily look at it that way. I think that we look at our opponent's offense, and we stay solely focused on that. I'll just leave that up to you guys to see. I think (Jets Head Coach) Robert (Saleh) has done a heck of a job, and (Jets General Manager) Joe Douglas has done a heck of a job of building that roster to what they want to do. Robert came from San Francisco. He's got tough, fast, physical players led by one of the best inside linebackers in the league with (Jets linebacker) C.J. (Mosley). I think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Q: When you picked Kayvon, you didn't know if Kayvon would be there at five. One of the guys who could have been there was (Jets cornerback) Sauce Gardner. He seemed like your kind of cornerback. I'm just curious what you thought.

A: First of all, I didn't do the picking. So, we took who was there. In hindsight, you just don't know what would happen. I'd like to get both of them.

Q: What do you see in (Jets quarterback) Zach Wilson?

A: I think that you can tell that the guy has been around greatness. You guys know how I feel about (Jets quarterback) Aaron Rodgers. You can tell the kid's confident – he's not a kid, he's a grown man – but the guy's confidence and how it's grown playing the position. So, I've seen the improvement in the way he's running the offense. The biggest challenge that we're going to have is that running back (Breece Hall) because he's special. You can tell that he's really come back from his injury, and he's one step and gone, so we need all 11 to get to him.

Q: What you said this summer about (cornerback Deonte) Banks, that's when you used the goldfish from Ted Lasso. But when he's competing against guys who are at an elite level and makes some of the plays that he made on Sunday, is he even further along than maybe most rookies would be?

A: I don't know. I don't know that measuring stick. I think that he's doing the things that we thought he could do coming out. There's going to be receivers in this league that make plays. You've just got to bounce back and play the next play. They've got a great receiver (Garrett Wilson) there in New York. He's going to make plays. You try to limit them, but he's going to make plays. You've just got to go play the next play and go.

Q: Did he almost bait (Commanders quarterback) Sam Howell to throw that interception?

A: I'm not going to talk any schematics about Washington because we've got them in a few weeks down the road. It was a really good play by Tae.

Q: It seems like (inside linebacker Micah) McFadden's really kind of elevated his game the last two weeks. Has something kind of clicked for him in the last couple of weeks?

A: I think it's the entire year. I think it's been since training camp. He's playing with a lot more confidence this year and the game slowed down for him. He learned a lot last year, got his nose bloodied a little bit and he's come back, and I think he's playing really well.

Q: How much does (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) next to him help him?

A: It helps both ways that they're used to playing with each other and communicating with each other. You can throw Zay (safety/inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons) in that with third-down stuff, second-and-long stuff, and I think those three have done a nice job.

Q: With Dallas, and Buffalo and Miami and San Francisco, and all these scary offenses you've played, is there any chance you might look at the Jets and go, 'Ah?'

A: Please. No way. That running back, every time he touches the ball it can go 85 yards. With the receivers that they have, you don't talk about the others because 17 (Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson), he's a werewolf out there. He can make plays all over the place, but the other receivers are doing well. So, we're going to have our hands full come Sunday. We're excited about the challenge.
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