Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale will interview for the New York Giants head coaching job Jan. 4, according to the NFL Network, but Martindale said earlier this week that it would take “an opportunity of a lifetime” to leave the Ravens.
As the Ravens prepare for their opening-round playoff game next weekend, they also have one eye on various NFL coaching searches, as both Martindale and offensive coordinator Greg Roman are drawing interest from other organizations. That’s a predictable byproduct for a team that went 14-2, won 12 straight games and wrapped up the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
Roman has been granted permission by the Ravens to interview with the Cleveland Browns, and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that the organization will honor requests for its assistants to interview for head coaching opportunities. According to NFL rules, assistant coaches of teams with first-round playoff byes can be interviewed during the bye week.
The Giants also are reportedly interested in Dallas Cowboys passing game coordinator Kris Richard, former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Martindale, 56, is in his eighth season on the Ravens’ staff and his second as the team’s defensive coordinator. He is in his 15th season in the NFL and has never been a head coach, but he would join Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan and Chuck Pagano in using the Ravens’ defensive coordinator position as a springboard to a head coaching job.
This season, Martindale had to rebuild his defense after losing five starters and a trio of Pro Bowl picks last year in Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle. Then after a disappointing first quarter of the season during which the Ravens went 2-2, they revamped their defense again in an impressive on-the-fly makeover, with several midseason acquisitions playing key roles.
The Ravens added inside linebackers Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort, Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters, and defensive linemen Jihad Ward, Domato Peko and Justin Ellis, all of whom made immediate contributions, and reserve safety Chuck Clark was elevated to a starting role.
The result was a defense that ended up ranked No. 4 overall, No. 5 against the run and No. 6 against the pass.
As with Roman, Martindale has fielded questions recently about his future with his name circulating in speculation about various coaching openings.
Speaking before his team’s practice on Dec. 31, Martindale said it would take “an opportunity of a lifetime” to leave the Ravens.
“We love it here,” he said. “We love this city. We love the culture here in the building. We love working for Harbs and Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti, and we’ll just look at every situation.”
Echoing Roman’s assessment that he is focused on the Ravens and their playoff push, Martindale said, “Credit to the players. It’s because of the success of what the players did this year and how well they played. That’s why my name gets mentioned with those things.”
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