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New Michigan DC Wink Martindale’s defensive vision

A look into what makes Martindale who he is as a defensive coordinator.

New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Michigan’s hiring Don ‘Wink’ Martindale as their defensive coordinator with Jesse Minter joining Jim Harbaugh’s Los Angeles Chargers.

Some tenants, philosophies, verbiage, and schematics of Minter will remain. Minter came from Martindale’s coaching tree when Martindale was defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

In a video surfacing on social media, we get a good glimpse of what it’s like to be around Martindale during a team meeting. In the video, which came during Martindale’s time as New York Giants defensive coordinator, he has a PowerPoint presentation about his defensive vision.

Martindale’s Defensive Vision

  • Fast and physical
  • One play at a time mentality
  • Stop the run
  • Attack and affect the QB
  • Maximize personnel

In the video, Martindale goes on to talk about the importance of stopping the run and how it shows how tough a team is.

“We need to stop the run. It’s not old school, it’s a fact. If you can knock out a run game as a defense and make a team one-dimensional,” Martindale explained. “Because they want to throw it all over the yard anyway, but we can’t give them both. In any situation. Short yardage, you want to see how tough your team is? Look at your short-yardage stats. You shove them back, knock them back in short yardage, you knock them back down in goal line, that shows you how tough your team is.”

There’s no doubt Martindale will be bringing an aggressive defensive approach to the Wolverines, Martindale’s defenses ranked No. 1 in blitz rate for four of the past six seasons in the NFL. However, it’s not all about blitzing for Martindale. Former Giants outside linebacker coach Drew Wilkins’ thoughts about Martindale and his defensive vision are worth noting. In December Wilkins made the point that Martindale cares more about winning than a team compiling sacks.

“The only number Wink cares about is playing winning defense,” Wilkins said. “Any of those stats really don’t move the needle for him. We’re trying to play winning defense and really what you look at that wins games and what directly correlates to playing winning defense, a lot more of that is going to come down to how quick are you forcing the quarterback to get rid of the ball and how low is the quarterback’s completion percentage. What’s their conversion rate on third down? Those things are affected by a lot, but obviously if we can get to the quarterback and pressure him, that helps all those numbers and those numbers directly correlate to wins and winning defense maybe more than a sack would.”

We’ll see if Martindale adjusts his scheme and style in college football, but this is what his overall vision looks like arriving in Ann Arbor.