DON "WINK" MARTINDALE PRESSER TRANSCRIPT
Opening statement: "Welcome! I'm honored, I'm excited about this new position – being elevated to defensive coordinator. As I said to our website yesterday, it's a very humbling experience. It's a humbling experience for a lot of reasons because, A) This game has always been – always will be – about the players. And the players that reached out to me after I was named defensive coordinator, it was just very humbling. If you're a coach, it hits you right in the heart. Ray [Lewis] sent me a text, Ed Reed sent me a text, Haloti Ngata sent me a text – from the guys in the past. Of course, 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] sent me a text right away; he's fired up and ready to go. Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosley, as you all know, has supported me through this whole process. It was an exciting process. It was a learning process. I can't tell you, and tell the fans and this organization, how proud I am to take this position and go forward."
*Why do you think you're the right guy for the job, when you were in the balance of when you might or might not get it? *(Nestor Aparicio) "Why did I think I was the right guy for the job? I think any coach worth a salt thinks that they're the right guy for the job. I have been preparing for this job all my life. I understand what comes with this job, with this great organization, and I think it's one of the greatest challenges there is in the National Football League."
What is it about your style that you think you got so much of the player support, whether they were former or current, to back you up and get this position? (Morgan Adsit) "As a coach, when you do it for the right reasons, when it's not about you, it's about them. I take great pride in putting players in the right place so they have success, and when they know that, that's when you really get things rolling. We've had that success here at the linebacker position. I think it just carries through with everything. When you can take them from the beginning and say, 'Here's where we're going to go,' and you can prove to them that's where they're at, and they have success – whether it's a C.J. Mosley with what he's done with the three Pro Bowls; whether it's a Zach Orr, coming from an undrafted free agent and telling him, 'This is where you're to be,' and take him to that spot with his effort and work ethic and talent – I just think it works hand-in-hand. They know – players know that."
What does it mean to you to step into a position that's been held by such esteemed guys such as Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Dean Pees and Chuck Pagano?" (David Ginsburg) "Right – and I coached with about every one of those guys you just mentioned. I understand the pressure of the job at task, and what's great about it is the coaching staff we have here right now has been awesome. We've been back at it for seven days. John [Harbaugh] has come in and spent two days with us, and he has some projects to take our good and make it great. It's very humbling. But like I said, I understand the pressure, and I look forward to the challenge."
You have a relationship with both Ryan brothers. How have they influenced you, and how would you compare your style as a coordinator to some of the other names that you have mentioned?* (Luke Jones)"Every man is their own man. I'm good friends with Rob and Rex, and [their father] Buddy was a big influence. I called a game at Western Kentucky, and he was standing next to me on the sideline at a playoff game. So you want to talk about pressure? That was a little bit of pressure – not blitzing when he wanted to blitz! They were a big influence. But actually, I've coached with the Harbaugh family in the three years I was with coach [Jack] Harbaugh, and 'Harbs' [John] more than I did with Rex and Rob. Obviously, Rex and Rob talk about it more than what the others might. *(laughter) *It's been great in my development as a coach. I was also with Lou Holtz and his son Skip – that was another big influence in my life. My high school coach, Ed Domsitz – he was my hero. He's the reason why I got into coaching, and he's still coaching today. Yeah – go ahead with the jokes. He was young when he coached me! (laughter) *There have been a lot of different coaches that you take from here and there, and that's what's developed me."
This defense this past year was among the best in the league and created a lot of turnovers, but obviously people are going to talk about the fourth quarter stuff. How do you turn this defense from a really good defense to a great defense? What do you feel like needs to happen? (Jeff Zrebiec)"That is where we are at right now. I know our mantra last year [was] – and it still will and always will be – finish. The first thing about the turnovers – we really emphasized takeaways. I think you get takeaways when you emphasize it, and you work the drills as John [Harbaugh] had us doing through OTAs and training camp and everything. I think the speed of the defense helps you with your takeaways as well. I think the quality of the players that you saw who are at the Pro Bowl now [helps with takeaways]. You go from the front with 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs], C.J. [Mosley] in the middle and Eric Weddle in the back. I think Jimmy Smith was on his way to a Pro Bowl until he had his [Achilles] injury. Good players help you with the takeaways. Now the finishing part, we are close. Obviously, the last two years it has been the last play that has knocked us out of it. We are going to work diligently – all of us – with our package and situational football. That is going to be the next step, I think, that skyrockets us. That is the big thing that I see. We are going to take our 'good' and make it 'great.' We were really good. Let's make it great."
How will you be the same and how will you be different than Dean Pees? (Stan White)"That is a tough question. I think personality-wise and just calls, there will be some things that are the same. Then, there are going to be sometimes where I am going to pressure more. I think I have a more aggressive personality in calling a game – sometimes too aggressive. That is something I have learned from the past. There is that fine line of what quarterback you are playing and things of that nature."
You had one year of being the defensive coordinator in Denver. What did you learn most from that experience?* (Jamison Hensley)*"[I learned] that you win or you learn. And I learned a lot that year. *(laughter) *I started off by talking about the players of this game, and it always has been and always will be about the players. I was proud, even though the stats were what they were. I was really proud with how we played, and I know it did not work out the way we wanted it to work out. Not at the time, but eight years later, I am glad I went through that process, because I think that makes me a better coach today. It is like I tell my guys – you either win or you learn."
Do you look at this as a second chance to prove yourself? (Ryan Mink)"Yes, yes, without a doubt. My family knows it. Everybody knows it. My players know it, and I can't wait."
Were there times where you questioned the last couple of years or even before that whether you would get another shot? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think that is human nature. The one thing that I found out, and it is the same thing I talk to my position group [about] – it is to stay humble and stay hungry. No matter what success you have, keep pushing forward to get better. I never knew it was going to roll out this way the way it did. I am glad it did. I just think that you take one day at a time and try to be great. The thing that I can't emphasize enough to the players is that I want to do it; we want to do it for them. This isn't about 'Wink,' it is not about Chris Hewitt, Joe Cullen; we are all great coaches. Mike Macdonald, I think he is a rising star in this league – same thing with Chris and Joe. It is about getting the players in the right spots to do the right things at the right time. With our program, our discipline, our effort, I hope everybody sees that. We want to make sure that we come out and attack every game. It is not going to be the same every game, because every game is different and you play great situational football."
Can I ask you about a specific player, CB Marlon Humphrey? What do you want to see from him, and how much did he show you this year? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think he has tremendous upside. He is tough. He is competitive. He has a great skill set. You guys have seen it; you have covered this team long enough. The jump from their rookie year to their sophomore season, where they actually get a little bit of an offseason to recover and start lifting again … He is going to take off."
You obviously have a couple of veterans going to the Pro Bowl in OLB Terrell Suggs and S Eric Weddle, but they are older players. How do you feel about the overall youth of this defense, and what do you see in those guys and not just continuing to do what they are doing, but getting better? (Luke Jones)"I think it is just what you said. I love the young guys on this team. There is nobody tougher on a rookie than me, especially in my room, the linebacker room. You will see the jump. When you come out [to practice], you will see the jump in these young guys, because they can all run, and they are talented, talented football players."
Obviously, people always call you "Wink," which is your nickname. Who first called you that? Where did that come from?* (Jamison Hensley)*"Donald Brown from Akron Buchtel. Donald Brown – college teammate of mine when I walked in as a freshman at Defiance College. It stuck."
Were you a big fan of Wink Martindale, the game show host? (Jamison Hensley)"I wish that I was related to him, because I think I would have a big inheritance. But I'm not." (laughter)