The Ravens have fired defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, a surprising shakeup that comes less than two weeks after the end of a disappointing season.
In a statement the Ravens released Friday, coach John Harbaugh said that he and Martindale, who had one year remaining on his contract in Baltimore, had “agreed to move forward in separate directions.”
“We have had a great run on defense, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done,” Harbaugh added in the statement. “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.”
Martindale’s dismissal is the first domino to fall in an offseason that could reshape the Ravens’ defense, which struggled throughout a disappointing 8-9 season. The team allowed 369.8 yards per game over its season-ending six-game losing streak, which sank the Ravens’ playoff hopes after an 8-3 start.
Martindale, a beloved coach among players and one of the NFL’s most aggressive play-callers, had served under Harbaugh since 2012. After coaching the team’s linebackers for six years, he took over as defensive coordinator for Dean Pees in January 2018.
From 2018 to 2020, the Ravens had one of the NFL’s highest-paid and highest-performing defenses, ranking in the top 10 in overall efficiency each year, according to Football Outsiders. In Martindale’s first three years as coordinator, the Ravens led the league in scoring average (18.2 points per game allowed) and total defense (307.8 yards per game) and tied for first in defensive touchdowns (12).
“In our [defensive] room, the way he speaks to us, talks to us and just relates with us, it translates to how we play for him,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said last January. “We have a lot of different packages, different things guys can do, all kinds of stuff, and he makes sure everybody knows that. He puts everybody in position to play at their strengths.”
This year, however, injuries and inconsistency, especially in their well-regarded secondary, led to a precipitous fall. The Ravens finished 28th overall in DVOA, their lowest ranking since the franchise’s first year in Baltimore. They also had the NFL’s worst pass defense; their 278.9 yards allowed per game were an NFL high and franchise record.
Martindale, who’d endeared himself …read more
Source:: The Mercury News