Ravens part ways with defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale after four years on the job, 10 with the team

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The Baltimore Ravens will move forward with a new defensive leader, as the organization announced Friday night that the team and defensive coordinator Don Martindale would be moving in separate directions. “Wink” Martindale has been Baltimore’s defensive coordinator for the past four seasons and is considered one of the best in the business. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh issued a statement announcing the decision:

“After several productive conversations, Don and I have agreed to move forward in separate directions. We had a great run on defense, and I’m very proud of what’s been achieved and the work he’s done. Don has been a major contributor to the success of our defense since 2012, and especially since becoming defensive coordinator four years ago. He has done a great job. Now is the time to pursue other opportunities. Sometimes the time comes, and it’s the right time. I’m personally grateful for our friendship and for everything he did in Baltimore.”

According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the Ravens reached out to former defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who served as the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that current Ravens defensive line coach and run-game coordinator Anthony Weaver should also be considered for promotion.

Martindale joined the Ravens in 2012 after a year-long stint as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2010. He worked as Baltimore’s linebackers coach from 2012 to 2017, then was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2018. of his first season as a coordinating defenseman, the Ravens finished with the NFL’s No. 1 defense. The unit finished fourth overall in 2019, then seventh overall in 2020 before dropping to 25th overall last season.

Injuries can certainly be partly to blame for the Ravens’ defensive shortcomings over the past season. Several notable names finished the year on injured reserve, such as cornerback Marcus Peters, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety DeShon Elliott. The Ravens missed the playoffs this season for the first time since 2017 and finished in last place in the AFC North for the first time since 2007.

Last offseason, La Canfora publicly questioned why Martindale wasn’t getting more hype on the coaching carousel. Now a free agent, he will certainly generate a lot of interest as a defensive coordinator.

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