The Baltimore Ravens have promoted Don “Wink” Martindale, the team’s linebackers coach, to their defensive coordinator position.
The news comes in the wake of the retirement of Dean Pees, who has been the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator since 2012. It was initially reported that Martindale was the heir apparent to Pees, however the team had reportedly reached out to former Indianapolis Colts head coach (and former Ravens defensive coordinator) Chuck Pagano about potentially filling the position.
Martindale started his NFL career in 2004 as the linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders, a position he held through 2008. In 2009, Martindale joined the Denver Broncos as their linebackers coach, eventually being promoted to the team’s defensive coordinator position in 2010.
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During his one year as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator, the team gave up the most yards and points per game in the NFL (though, it’s worth noting that this was before the team had drafted linebacker Von Miller and the team had lost Elvis Dumervil for the entire season).
After two years away from the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens hired Martindale as their linebackers coach the Thursday before they played (and won) in Super Bowl XLVII. Martindale has served as the linebackers coach since then up until now.
“‘Wink’ has earned the promotion to defensive coordinator. His aggressive mentality will serve to take our defense to new levels,” said Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “He is obviously respected by players, many of whom have already benefited from his direct coaching at the linebacker position. He knows the ins and outs of what we have been about on defense and has been an important contributor to our success on that side of the ball. This is an exciting day for Wink and his family, and also one for the Ravens.”
Promoting from within to a defensive coordinator position has been a pattern in recent history with the Ravens. Greg Mattison, Chuck Pagano, and Dean Pees all rose to the defensive coordinator position in a similar way.
Martindale has had some notable success as the Ravens’ linebackers coach, guiding C.J. Mosley to three Pro Bowls within his first four years with the team, as well as significantly helping in the development of former rising star Zachary Orr and current rising start Matt Judon.
“He always talked about wanting to be a coordinator,” said Mosley. “I’m a little biased, because I’ve been with him my whole career and I know what kind of a person he is and what kind of a coach he is. … As long as he’s here with us, I’ll be happy.”
In a corresponding move, the team has promoted Mike Macdonald to replace Martindale as the team’s linebackers coach, and Sterling Lucas has been promoted to a defensive quality control coach position.