The Dallas Cowboys NFC East foe, the New York Giants, are making a lot of changes in their organization. The Giants have a new GM in Joe Schoen and recently hired Buffalo Bills OC Brian Daboll to be their head coach. Given that New York’s head coaching choice is offense-focused, their choice for defensive coordinator was crucial.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the Giants selected former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale as their DC. Martindale is widely recognized as having one of the most aggressive coaching styles in the NFL. The 58-year-old loves to send extra defenders to go after quarterbacks and runs a high-flying defensive scheme.
The veteran coach has spent 17 years in the NFL, spending his last nine in Baltimore. From 2018-2020, his defense ranked in the top 3 in the league. And much of that success comes from QB pressure. No one in the NFL blitzes more than Martindale. In the last four years, these are the Ravens’ blitz percentages:
- 2018: 1st in NFL (39.6%)
- 2019: 1st in NFL (54.9%)
- 2020: 1st in NFL (44.1%)
- 2021: 6th in NFL (31.1%)
So what does this mean for the Cowboys? It’s actually great news for quarterback Dak Prescott who happens to be phenomenal against the Blitz.
Why the New York Giants choice to hire Don “Wink” Martindale as their new defensive coordinator is good news for the Cowboys and Dak Prescott
Martindale is undoubtedly a smart hire. The Giants have been eyeing him for his coaching prowess for a while. The DC even interviewed for New York’s head coaching position in 2020 before Joe Judge was given the job. Now, he joins the organization as a defensive coordinator. But this move gives the Cowboys even more strength against their NFC East enemy.
This hire plays right into Prescott’s strengths. Whether you think Prescott is a flop or you think he’s a franchise QB doesn’t really matter. The quarterback’s strength against the blitz is statistically proven. Prescott is one of the best in the NFL at reading defenses and knows how to get the ball out quickly.
According to Per Sports Info Solutions, the Cowboys’ QB was 103 of 165 in throws against the blitz. He also threw 1,171 yards, 23 touchdowns, and had a 113.2 passer rating against aggressive QB coverage. To give you some perspective, Aaron Rodgers (who may very well win league MVP) ranked second against the blitz with just 15 touchdowns. When Prescott can get a pass off, he beats this scheme better than any other quarterback.
Teams who had success against Prescott and the Cowboys offense chose to drop more defenders into coverage rather than focusing on QB pressure. Those opponents realized that leaving guys like CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup in man coverage was not a great move.
Time will tell if Martindale sticks with his aggressive scheme. Regardless, he has a tall task of creating a turnaround for the league’s 21st-ranked defense that allowed 354.8 yards per game.