The Baltimore Ravens will square off with a familiar friend when they take on former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and the New York Giants in Week 6.
Martindale and the Ravens mutually decided to part ways this offseason in what was seen as a surprising move at the time. The Ravens would ultimately replace Martindale with one of his former disciplines, Mike Macdonald, while the veteran coordinator found a new home in New York.
Speaking to the media ahead of Sunday’s highly-anticipated cross-conference clash, Martindale was asked about his reasons for leaving Baltimore.
Some of those reasons have been made public over the last few months. In this case, Martindale opted to remain rather vague about his reasoning, but it’s clear there are no hard feelings.
"“It was just time. When I say it was just time, it was time for both of us.”"
Martindale later explained that he spoke with Ravens head coach John Harbaugh extensively about the issue and that he was both “happy and excited” about exploring new opportunities.
The Wink Martindale/Ravens split was an amicable one
Martindale spent a total of 10 seasons in Baltimore, the latter four serving as the team’s defensive coordinator after taking over for the “retired” Dean Pees.
The longtime defensive coach gained a reputation for his blitz-heavy defenses and no-nonsense demeanor. But Martindale didn’t want to be a coordinator for the remainder of his career — he wanted to be a head coach.
Martindale received his fair share of interviews during his time in Baltimore, but none of them resulted in a job offer. Reports indicated that Martindale believed his best chance of securing a head coach job would be to step out of Harbaugh’s shadow and leave Baltimore.
Through five weeks, it’s hard to say that Martindale hasn’t maximized the talent at his disposal in New York. The Giants currently sit at a surprising 4-1 and rank top-10 in points allowed per game. Much of that is due to Martindale’s work.
As for the Ravens, while there have been some bumps in the road for new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, the former Michigan assistant seems to be finding his groove.
Come Sunday, Martindale and the Ravens will reunite once again. Don’t expect there to be any bad blood though — the two parties still very much respect each other.