According to reports, Don Martindale has signed a contract extension with the Ravens to become the highest paid defensive coordinator:
The Baltimore Ravens have the best coaching staff they have had in the Harbaugh era. Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator of the Ravens, won Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2019 season. Don Martindale has had two very strong seasons as the defensive coordinator. The Ravens deciding to reward their coordinators with extensions is a big deal for a young team that has a window to win it all.
The offensive coordinator position has often been an area of turmoil for the purple and black. This wasn’t just in the Harbaugh years for the Ravens. It wasn’t like Baltimore was ever in love with Matt Cavanaugh‘s play-calling in the Billick era. Harbaugh started with Cam Cameron. He went through Jim Caldwell, Gary Kubiak, Marc Trestman and Marty Mornhinweg before he finally got to Greg Roman.
The fact that the Ravens have a well respected offensive coordinator, who is comfortable in his job security is a relatively new phenomenon. If the Ravens can keep Roman around, it will give Lamar Jackson stability from a coaching perspective. For the most part, Joe Flacco didn’t have that. He went from offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator and the only one that fit his playing style perfectly was Kubiak.
Roman was the key in allowing Jackson to do his thing. Roman built an offense around Jackson that worked specifically for him. The Ravens didn’t lose either of their coordinators to head coaching vacancies after their 14-2 2019 season. The offense is going to be able to pick up where they left off. Jackson is going to get to build upon the foundation that was set in 2019. That’s an advantage that the Ravens have to keep trying to give to their franchise quarterback. Roman still has other opportunities in the College Football world, apparently:
Martindale keeping his post as defensive coordinator is a big deal. The reason Martindale is a great defensive coordinator is that he always makes the most out of what he has to work with. The 2019 team came into the seasons with injuries and issues on the defensive front and never had the set of pass rushers Martindale would have preferred. If it weren’t for Martindale, the Ravens pass rushing woes would have been more pronounced and Eric DeCosta’s mid-season pickups wouldn’t have worked out so well.
Martindale becoming the top paid defensive coordinator makes sense. Martindale has never had some of the greatest defensive units in Ravens history. He’s made what most coordinators would make an adequate defense into one of the best units in the league. Martindale is a players coach who is just as innovative and creative as Roman is.
Martindale is most importantly an aggressive defensive coordinator. He knows that pressure in the backfield, and the constant threat of pressure is what wins in the NFL. He fits right in with the rich history that the Ravens have at this coaching position. He’s a lot more like Chuck Pagano, Mike Nolan, Marvin Lewis and Rex Ryan than he is Dean Pees or Greg Mattison. That means a lot to the Ravens Flock. There is a certain style of defense that works in Baltimore and a certain style that doesn’t fly with the fans.
The fact that Steve Bisciotti and company know how important their coordinators are is important. The Ravens have struggled to find the right combination at offensive and defensive coordinator. Harbaugh finally has the right coaching staff around him. It could be an important factor in the 2020 season as the Ravens are certainly contenders.