Ravens report card: Grading Don Martindale in 2020 season

The Baltimore Ravens had a very strong defense in the 2020 season and Don Martindale needs to get credit for that. Martindale is one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL. The Ravens finished with the sixth-ranked defense in terms of yards allowed per game.

Baltimore allowed just 18.9 points per game and that was good for the second-best defense in points allowed. On paper, it’s very easy to see that Martindale is good at his job. Not all the numbers were great though. Baltimore struggled to get to the quarterback.

Despite having one of the best secondary units in the NFL, the Ravens only managed to get 39 sacks on the season. The pass rush was a huge issue against the Buffalo Bills in the postseason. So there is a lot to get to, even if you know a favorable grade is coming Martindale’s way. Let’s get into the grade book and continue our Ravens report card series. 

Positives:
  • Martindale did a good job rotating the right personnel into the game.
  • Martindale showed the ability to adjust mid-game, a strength the offensive coaching staff hasn’t quite mastered the same way.
  • The defense managed to deal through key players missing time due to injury.
  • Including the playoffs, the Ravens defense held their opponent to under 20 points 11 times.
  • Martindale had a perfect game plan for the second meeting with Tennessee Titans. He completely neutralized the best running back in football, Derrick Henry.
  • The defense got hot later in the season. The defense gave the Ravens chances to compete when even when the offense failed to show up.

Negatives:

  • Martindale had the absolute worst game plan of his career against the Kansas City Chiefs and it backfired horribly.
  • The pass rush vanished at times and Martindale had no answer for it.
  • The defense had some very frustrating games and was more inconsistent than a fairly dominant defense should be.
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DON MARTINDALE

Defensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens

A -

Positives:

  • Martindale did a good job rotating the right personnel into the game.
  • Martindale showed the ability to adjust mid-game, a strength the offensive coaching staff hasn’t quite mastered the same way.
  • The defense managed to deal through key players missing time due to injury.
  • Including the playoffs, the Ravens defense held their opponent to under 20 points 11 times.
  • Martindale had a perfect game plan for the second meeting with Tennessee Titans. He completely neutralized the best running back in football, Derrick Henry.
  • The defense got hot later in the season. The defense gave the Ravens chances to compete when even when the offense failed to show up.

Negatives:

  • Martindale had the absolute worst game plan of his career against the Kansas City Chiefs and it backfired horribly.
  • The pass rush vanished at times and Martindale had no answer for it.
  • The defense had some very frustrating games and was more inconsistent than a fairly dominant defense should be.

Putting it all together:

In the 2020 season, when Martindale was feeling it, the other team was in trouble. The Ravens were a top 10 defense any way you slice it. That happened without top 10 pass rush and inconsistent play at pretty much every position in the front seven.

Martindale is one of the best coordinators in the game. He’s not perfect and he’ll have some misfires. That being said, he’s the coach on the Ravens staff that makes you the least frustrated every season. Nobody does more with what he has to work with than Martindale does.