Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale interviewed with the New York Giants last year before they hired Joe Judge as their head coach.
As the Ravens prepare to face the Giants on Sunday, Martindale is expected to draw interest again from teams that will be seeking a new head coach. In three seasons as the Ravens' coordinator, Martindale has built a reputation for being a creative coach who puts players in positions to succeed.
Martindale is pleased that his profile continues to rise, but he's also grateful that he loves his current job. Martindale said owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Eric DeCosta, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome have created a culture of winning.
Martindale would be looking for a similar environment if he decided to leave.
"The thing that gives me the advantage going through the process last year and going into it this year is, I know I'm going to be myself, because I love the job that I'm at," Martindale said. "The culture that John and Steve and Eric and Ozzie that we've built here is outstanding. I know what I want to see when I get into those opportunities.
"A lot of people go into those opportunities and they want to win a three-hour interview. I want to win three Super Bowl trophies. I want to make sure that it's the right fit and I'm just going to be myself, because that's worked out OK for me so far. It's exciting to be looked at. It's always about the players, it always has been, it always will be. It's a humbling experience, but yet it's also an exciting time as well."
Harbaugh said Thursday that no official request had been made to interview a member of Baltimore's staff.
"We'll cross that bridge if we get there," Harbaugh said. "(I'm) very supportive of our guys getting opportunities."
Offense Being Fueled By Red-Hot Lamar
The Ravens have been rolling offensively during their three-game winning streak, averaging 40.3 points per game. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said Lamar Jackson's play has been the spark. His game-by-game quarterback rating has steadily increased the last three weeks from 101.8 against the Dallas Cowboys, to 115.6 against the Cleveland Browns to 133.1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Since Lamar's come back from his bout with COVID, he's probably playing better than anybody in the league, really, when you look at it," Roman said. "He's a huge catalyst for that. It's all 11 people doing their job. I don't think we've arrived at an identity yet. There's more chapters in this book. We're trying to chase getting better all the time. But when you look at what an offense is supposed to do, our guys have been doing it recently."
Jackson's joy at being back has been obvious since he was sidelined Dec. 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Roman said crisp practices recently have led to strong performances during games.
"That really kind of goes to every player," Roman said. "You want to practice and create an environment and practice as if you're playing the game and build those habits. I think Lamar's grown quite a bit in that area and there's still room to go. That's something we definitely want to continue doing. The more we can practice like we play and have that mindset, the better off."
Martindale Loves Judon's Complete Play
Matthew Judon was rewarded with his second straight Pro Bowl selection this week, although with five sacks, it will be difficult for Judon to match his career-high of 9.5 sacks in 2019. However, Judon is an all-around outside linebacker who is strong against the run, rushes the passer, and occupies blockers to create opportunities for teammates. In Judon, Martindale sees a defensive leader who keeps getting better.
"I think he's become a complete football player on all three downs," Martindale said. "He's a very intelligent player. He tries to play like he's not, but he is a smart football player. Every year you get that experience, the game slows down for you. I think the world of him. He's so unselfish, he's just as happy when his teammates have success as when he does. That's rare in today's world, period. That's what I appreciate and respect most about Matt."
Roman Pays Tribute to Kevin Greene
Roman began his Thursday videoconference by paying tribute to Kevin Greene, the Hall of Fame linebacker who passed away this week at age 58. Greene finished his career with the Panthers when Roman was an offensive line assistant in Carolina (1995-2001) and the two became close.
"I had the great fortune of working with Keven Greene a long time ago," Roman said. "He was a shining example of hard work, passion, dedication and teamwork. He had a great Hall-of-Fame career. He was a great player, also a great husband, great father, great friend. Tough guy to work out with. I used to work out with him, had a hard time walking usually the next day. I'm sure he's found a gym up in heaven and heaven's a better place. So rest in peace."