The Baltimore Ravens fired defensive coordinator Wink Martindale on Friday, and it signals a huge personnel shift.
After 10 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Wink Martindale is moving on.
The veteran defensive coordinator has agreed to part ways with the franchise. Martindale leaves behind a legacy of blitz-happy defenses that helped the Ravens reach the playoffs in each of the past three seasons before an injury-plagued 2021 campaign.
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Upon the move, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh put out a statement on behalf of the team. Via NFL.com:
“After several productive conversations, Don and I have agreed to move forward in separate directions. We have had a great run on defense. I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done. Don has been a major contributor to the success of our defense since 2012, and especially since he became defensive coordinator four years ago. He has done a great job. Now it is time to pursue other opportunities. Sometimes the moment comes, and it’s the right time. I am personally grateful for our friendship and for everything he has done in Baltimore.”
Under Martindale, the Ravens were always blitz-heavy, willing to give up front seven talent to make sure their corners were elite. The group on the back end includes Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, but both are coming off season-ending injuries. For the next defensive coordinator, the question is whether Baltimore can continue to lean on the duo in the same capacity, or if they’ll need more help as they get fully healthy.
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In the recent past, Baltimore has allowed high-priced, homegrown talent to leave, especially pass-rushers and linebackers such as C.J. Mosley, Matthew Judon and others. Part of the philosophy under Martindale was the belief the Ravens could manufacture pressure with bringing five and six rushers, therefore not needing to pay big dollars to a sack artist.
Now, with the potential for a new mindset on the defensive side, it’ll be interesting to see how general manager Eric DeCosta navigates the offseason and if he spends a bit more on edge rushers, knowing the scheme won’t rely so much on bringing pressure from the second and third levels.
Regardless, the ousting of Martindale likely signals a stark change in how one of the more effective defenses in the league played for years before injuries sapped their ability to compete this autumn.
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