Baltimore Ravens Staff Changes: Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale Fired

Former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen of the Ravens’ Flock, we have our first “parting ways” of the season! I know I’m late to the party but this one is a huge shocker to us all. The Baltimore Ravens and coach Harbaugh have parted ways with now-former defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale in a surprising fashion. Even I’m still screaming “what the f**k” here at home, on Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime of our processing of this news, let’s look at some things.

First off, some of the timeline of work within the Ravens staff.

He worked from positional inside linebackers coach (2012-2015) to linebackers coach (2016-2017) to the defensive coordinator( 2018-2022) with the Baltimore Ravens. Beforehand, he was the DC and linebackers coach with the Denver Broncos. And before that, the LB coach with the Raiders and various college-level positions.

Martindale brings swagger with him everywhere he goes His play calling was pretty consistent, and his putting together the defense has been an incredible feat for the past four years as defensive coordinator. As far as his stats go, we’ll get to that soon, but there’s a large set of reasons why much of the Baltimore Ravens fan base would want to keep Wink in house.

Many of us wanted to see his bling or chain come out throughout the season, but unfortunately, we didn’t get many chances to see this happen. Oh well, and it brings us to the next bit of knowledge on now-former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.

The official stats of the defenses he built while in Baltimore

Courtesy of Pro Football Reference, we can see all the percentages and overall grades that gave him official stats. We can see an abundance of head coach boosters to add to his resume during his time.

For time’s sake and reading material, here is a screenshot of the PFR stats.

With all that, statistically, he is a coach who has done well during his time with the Ravens. Like I said before, he’s a coach with much swagger, full of trash talk that can back it up, and a guy defensive players want to be around. This year, the trash talk has been overdone because of all the injuries/illnesses hit by the team, but do we expect any less from the unofficial third Ryan brother? 

The answer to that is no, and I loved every bit of it. 

Now, where does the new Ravens’ Defensive Coordinator search go from here?

At Ravens ATB, we’re already pushing out defensive coordinator candidates’ names internally and externally. I’m not even going to lie here; some are pretty awesome, and some are a little questionable. Nonetheless, here are some of our guys so far.

Internal:

  • Linebackers Coach: Rob Ryan
  • Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary: Chris Hewitt
  • Defensive Backs Coach: D’Aton Lynn
  • Defensive Line: Anthony Weaver

External:

  • Former Vikings HC: Mike Zimmer
  • Former Jacksonville Jaguars DC: Joe Cullen
  • Current That Team Up North (Michigan) DC: Mike MacDonald
  • Former Broncos HC: Vic Fangio

My favorite — or top two guys — to take the job would be coaches D’Aton Lynn or Chris Hewitt out of the current internal staffing options. It isn’t to say that coach Rob Ryan or coach Weaver wouldn’t be good guys to fill the role, because they both have tons of defensive coordinator experience, but we have to look at some other factors.

Two(ish) factors in my pick for coach Lynn are that he was hand-chosen to be the head coach of the college East West Shrine Bowl and would be a “fresh face” in the roll. Those are notable resume boosters in themselves.

Now for external hires

I’m looking at either Mike Zimmer or Mike MacDonald if we’re being sincere. Keep Fangio away from the team cause he might have another feud with our franchise quarterbacks again. Anyways, Zimmer is an experienced guy who knows how to run and build quality defenses at the professional level. Offensively, we know how he handled the Vikings.

On the other hand, Mike MacDonald has been a crucial piece in That Team Up North’s success in this 2021 season. Seeing him do what he did up there was both sickening (coming from an Ohio State household) and incredible (coming from a football and NFL individual fan). If he returned to the professional level and Baltimore, I would be a happy man.

The search for a new Ravens defensive coordinator will be a fun guessing game for our fans, but a stressful period for the organization. 

The Baltimore Ravens Future Overall Outlook for 2022

Well, it’s been a little over a week since the last Baltimore Ravens ball game. We’re into the heat of the playoffs, and I don’t know about you all, but I wish our Ravens were playing in them. Unfortunately, wishes are not always granted, but we can look towards the future. The Ravens’ future is very bright.

Shawn Hubbard. BaltimoreRavens.com

In the last post-game press conference, Chuck Clark said, “Just watch how we bounce back.” There is nothing more reassuring than hearing that because he’s right. So far, the 2022 season is exciting to look forward to because of so much.

The Baltimore Ravens’ future outlook is one to be excited about

Outside of the obvious, we are finally getting Ravens football back in the spring/summer of 2022 via mini-camps, OTA’s, training camp, etc. There will be the return of the following players from injury:

  • QB Lamar Jackson
  • RB JK Dobbins
  • RB Gus Edwards
  • LT Ronnie Stanley
  • S DeShon Elliott
  • LB LJ Fort
  • CB Marlon Humphrey
  • CB Marcus Peters
  • FB/DL Pat Ricard

And the list goes on and on as far as injured players returning. That’s exciting in itself. Now some of these players are on the free agency market. That’s another topic we can discuss later on — outside of the need to re-sign my guy, center Bradley Bozeman! Extending Bozeman will be an essential key for this offensive line and the offense in general. We cannot break up the bromance of Kevin Zeitler & Bozeman!

Anyways, the Baltimore Ravens’ future, as far as existing personnel goes, is genuinely remarkable nonetheless.

Speaking of personnel, we have to discuss that it’s also draft season! We’ve dove into the draft content a little bit on the newest episode of Around The Flock already but let’s look at the set-in-stone stuff.

The Baltimore Ravens Future Draft Picks include the following.

Ravens media via twitter.
  • 1st Round – No. 14
  • 2nd Round – No. 45
  • 3rd Round – No. 76
  • 3rd Round – Comp pick (David Culley)
  • 4th Round – From New York Giants for Ben Bredeson
  • 4th Round – Normal pick
  • 4th Round – Comp pick (Matthew Judon)
  • 4th Round – Comp pick (Yannick Nqakoue)
  • 4th Round – From Arizona Cardinals in 2021 Draft
  • 6th Round – From Miami Dolphins for Greg Mancz

With a whopping total of 10 draft picks, they’ll be looking to bolster the depth chart with many young quality guys. I’m hoping they do a nice mix of positional needs, but we know the team places the best player available guys first. We’ve been taking mock drafts for the Ravens seriously around here. The Ravens’ future is looking so good here. I can’t wait to dig deeper into this draft class. I know our head contributor TD Hunter has already been diving into it but give me time to research prospects!

The Baltimore Ravens’ Future Opponents has finally been set!

Ravens Media via Twitter

We’ve received the last place schedule for the most part, but come next season, that won’t mean a damn thing. I mean, it will, but at the same time, it won’t. The NFL is a week-to-week league, with anything happening at any time. So looking at the possibilities of going to any games would be slim to none unless I decide to go to the Jungle, Paul Brown Stadium, again when the Ravens come to town. Another option I’m trying to convince my wife of is taking a trip to Jacksonville, FL, whenever the Jags and Ravens play.

That would be an incredible time. Another quick note on the Baltimore Ravens’ Future travel plans is that they get to play at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey twice in one season against the New York Jets and New York Giants.

Overall, I’m happy with this opponent’s layout & the possibilities with the actual schedule. I’m also super excited for this draft season & all the injury returns. 2022 will be an incredible year, and I hope everyone is looking forward to it like I am. As we’ve said many times, the Baltimore Ravens’ future is very bright.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article & remember to follow ATB Ravens everywhere you go!

Baltimore Ravens COVID-19 List: Chuck Clark

Baltimore Ravens place Chuck Clark on COVID-19 list
Credit: Baltimore Ravens; Shawn Hubbard

It has been around 24 hours, if not less, since news broke that Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark has been placed on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list.

It is still unclear whether he contracted the virus or was in close contact. The NFL is currently tightening up its COVID protocols with the new cases and outbreaks thanks to the Omicron variant. So seeing him in action this Sunday is still a huge question mark.

Being a key player, not only in the Ravens’ secondary but also on the defense as a whole. Clark will surely be missed if unable to suit up on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

Chuck Clark’s Stats

58 total tackles, one sack, and eight passes deflected. Also, a successful pick-up on the onside kick.

This guy has been relatively decent in coverage, a good tackler, and a solid overall player. Granted, even though he has a 62.4 PFF grade. He’s still a key player in this Raven’s defensive unit.

The Replacements

As we all know, this Ravens team brought back Tony Jefferson to help with a depleted secondary. Let’s explore some of the other guys real quick.

Geno Stone

 A young stud who is making his case to stay on this team instead of the practice squad and cut rotation, let’s look to see if he continues on a positive trend. So far, he only has 9 total tackles.

Anthony Levine

A guy who we’ve been able to count on for years, whether it’s in the special teams unit or on the defense as a strong/adjustment safety or a stacked up LB. He knows how to read the offense and get the job done if needed.

Hopefully, we’ll see Chuck Clark off the COVID-19 list and back on the field for the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday. We have to be patient, positive, and hope for the best. 

Stay tuned for more awesome Ravens ATB content!

Baltimore Ravens Offensive Line: How Do They Compare

ravens offensive line
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens offensive line has been a popular topic as of late. Throughout recent history the Ravens have had one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. But how does this years offensive line compared to years prior? Lets take a look.

The Ravens Offensive Line

Week in, week out, they are the first to be blamed and the last to fame. As a fan base, we need to do an in-depth look at our previous and current “Status Quo” of the offensive line. With that being said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of things.

Some say that the Ravens’ current offensive line is good. Others will say that they are bad. Some of us roll with a happy medium of good enough. It’s tough to properly grade all these big fellas in a world where everyone is focused on skill positions, but thankfully, some people at Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference have us covered.

The Present

Left Tackle: Alejandro Villanueva

Ranked 57/81 in the Tackle position
Marked as a 62.7 Graded Yellow Player

This guy is a solid player game in and game out. Yes, unfortunately, he has gotten beaten in the pass pro a lot more than I’d like to admit, but the guy is always looking to make improvements when he can. Coming to Baltimore has opened his versatility more, in my opinion, considering he was going to be placed at right tackle before the Ronnie Stanley injury. The transition to right tackle was a little rough, but it was also full of potential. The team moving him back to his most comfortable position ended up working out.

Left Guard: Ben Powers

Ranked 25/78 in the Guard Position
Marked as a 68 Graded Green Player

Ben Powers has been a giant question mark of “Can he fill in this weird left guard void?” since Bradley Bozeman moved over to center. Don’t get me wrong, he is a quality player and has been proving me wrong week in and out. The way he tends to move around to get in crucial blocks has been quite impressive. Will he keep the “this all game thing” going, or will there be more rotations?

Center: Bradley Bozeman

Ranked 10/38 in the Center Position
Marked as 72.1 Graded Green Player

Everyone should know by now that Bozeman is my favorite offensive lineman on this current Ravens team. Outside of a few bad snaps (which happens from time to time) he’s been an excellent guy in the communications job, along with getting in all of his assigned blocks. I have been praying to the football gods that he stays Raven for a long time.

Right Guard: Kevin Zeitler

Ranked 17/78 in the Guard Position
Marked as 70.9 Graded Green Player

Mr. Kevin Zeitler. A guy we only wish we had sooner to fill the large shoes left by the retirement of future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda. A guy who has now played for 3/4 AFC North teams (if I’m not mistaken) and excels in the right guard spot. His footwork, hand in the cadence/snap count, and ability to make adjustments at whims notice are uncanny. Sometimes, he does get beat but not very often. Just get his replacement ready to fill his shoes whenever he goes to retire (hopefully as a Raven).

Right Tackle: Patrick Mekari

Ranked 44/81 in Tackle Position
Marked as 68.4 Graded Green Player

Patrick Mekari has been at the top of my list for this team, starting center or guard. It hurt a little seeing him not a starter in either position at first, but when Stanley went down early in the season & seeing him take over right tackle with huge success was a pleasant surprise. Later on he got hurt himself. His presence was missed while away. The game vs. the Bears, though, did show that the rust needs to be shaken off.

This lineup listed above is good enough to get this Ravens team to the playoffs & into a bit of a post-season run. You can take whatever you want out of the stats you can find, the film, & anything else to form your own opinion. But at the end of the day, this is a solid unit, even with a 68.42 grading average.

2019 Offensive Line

  • Left Tackle: Ronnie Stanley
    • 88.5 Graded Blue Player
  • Left Guard: Bradley Bozeman
    • 63.4 Graded Yellow Player
  • Center: Matt Skura/Patrick Mekari
    • Matt: 68.7 Graded Green Player
    • Patrick: 70.5 Graded Green Player
  • Right Guard: Marshal Yanda
    • 86.6 Graded Blue Player
  • Right Tackle: Orlando Brown Jr
    • 72 Graded Green Player

The 2019 14-2 Baltimore Ravens offensive line was an average of 74.95 graded team. They were roughly 6.53 points better than the current team (as of somewhere in between weeks 11 & 12 of the 2021 season). There was some bolstering but also some regression in other areas, as we all know. We had all pros in Ronnie, Marshal, and Zues Jr.

2020 Offensive Line Grading

  • Left Tackle: Zues Jr
    • Graded as a 76.5
  • Left Guard: Bradley Bozeman
    • PFF Grade 64.3
  • Center: Matt Skura
    • PFF Grade 50.2
  • Right Guard: Ben Powers
    • PFF Grade 59.4
  • Right Tackle: DJ Fluker
    • PFF Grade 63.8

We can also ask how did the team have an 11-5 record with this offensive line? Let me remind you of these things. Ronnie went down the first time. Matt Skura, Trystan Colon, & Patrick Mekari were all competing for the starting center position. Tyre Phillips was also in the right guard rotation. The 2020 COVID season was bizarre and mildly successful for a whole lot of offensive line shuffles.

Anyways, as we look forward to the remaining weeks in the 2021 season, note that our current starting lineup can be just as good as the 2019 offensive line. Give it time and let it grow. Even though times look tough with the recent injury report, the big guys up front are communicating more and getting that chemistry they need to get the job done. Thanks to them, the Baltimore Ravens can end the 2021 season as a 12-5 or 13-4 team.

Friday Night Lights – A Small Rural Indiana Rivalry

Union City

Well it was a calm Friday evening. Work was over. I got all cleaned up, and while taking the dog out for a potty break I heard cheers and air horns. I got curious, and the wife had informed me that the Union City (IN) Indians — her HS alma mater — was playing their county rival the Winchester (IN) Golden Falcons. Being a fan of the game and wanting to take a step back to memory lane, I thought “why not go watch the game?” Then a bright idea popped into my head while showering: go to it, take notes, and write a feature on it.

Well here we are! Let’s get into things shall we?

Also, quick note: Come to find out it was Union City’s Senior Night.

It was a close offensive shoot out from the word go, or at least since I got there.

The game was close to the end of the half when I managed to arrive. Precisely with 3:49 minutes left in the second quarter and visiting Winchester backed up on their own 12 or 11 yard line on a 2nd & 18 due to a penalty flag. Score was Winchester 29 – 14 Union City. The Winchester offense was showing promise with their undersized offensive line compare to the Indians’ front 4.

What honestly kept me interested is how well the smaller group played. Throughout the entire game they utilized a lot of sweeps, traps, and power pulling plays. The OL unit stayed low and drove their legs, but during the series when I arrived they couldn’t get it done. QB #12, Brayden Tippett, showed promise with his arm and legs in attempts to keep that drive open, but the punting unit ended up coming on.

The Golden Falcons did everything they could to stop a dynamic brotherly backfield in the Union City offense. RBs #5 Blayne Daniels and #6 Bradin Daniels were tearing up the field behind a nice blocking scheme. This allowed the Indians to start making a comeback drive and score a nice TD. Unfortunately they missed out on two more points when missing a two-point conversion.

The Score was now WC 29 – 20 UC!

As I was waiting for the kick off, I started to mingle with the home team crowd. Was informed of some nice information there, too. Focusing back on the game, I see #5 Blayne Daniels kick a long one down to the 5ish yard line. Not only is this kid a strong runner with vision, he’s also capable of being a good small college kicker. Winchester was looking to make a quick answer drive down the field without any issues. That is, until #12 Tippett threw an interception that was almost returned for a TD. Thankfully for the Golden Falcons, the returner tripped up at the 12 yard line.

Union City fell short of a touchdown right before the half in attempts to make the game closer.

Winchester set to kickoff to start the second half.

It wasn’t anything too special, but it seemed that Winchester was looking to utilize squib kicks all night or didn’t have much leg power. Union City had a solid return and put them into good field position. Winchester #12 Brayden Tippett & #4 Braxton Bosworth looking to set a good defensive tone with good reads to stop the Indians offense. Tippett making good angles with great side to side flow to make a few tackles.

Even with that good tone set, Union City was able to put up a score via the air. QB #25 Brenden Wright tossed a nice short pass to #14 Xxavier Ware. Ware just so happened to break the defenders ankles even though Winchester #88 Cooper McCoy had great initial coverage to get his open TD. PAT was good. Putting the score at 27 – 29.

Once Winchester got the ball back at their own 11, this explosive young offense started to kick things into gear with more angry runs by #4 Bosworth. Also real quick, I do want to point out Winchester OL #68 Andy Toney was doing all the proper footwork, hand motions, and drive that you can ask for in a starting guard.

Anyways, Winchester unfortunately ended up having to punt giving the Indians the ball with decent yardage. Winchester #9 Maddox Rose was playing fairly decent lock down coverage most of the night, until a missed tackle on his part gave Ware some key yardage.

Fast Forward a bit

Union City’s Ware scored once again through the air — and trucking some defenders — putting them up 34 – 29. The first lead change of the game. At that moment, I decided to move around to get another angle of the game. During that time, I happened to meet up with an unnamed scout. We were both impressed on how things were going in this small town rivalry game.

The Golden Falcons have been finding themselves having success with the wideout screens. The Indians struggled to defend, but #10 Elijah Moore in the LB corps was looking to make a name for himself. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Bosworth & Tippett for Winchester were doing everything the could to extend plays and eventually score a touchdown. Winchester was back up 37-34.

The Golden Falcon defense came up big, stopping an Indians offense that had great yardage, forcing them to punt for what seemed like the first time since I arrived at the game.

Last chance to seal the deal.

The Union City Indian defense had to come up strong within the final minutes. The fast nature and angry run mentality of the Winchester Golden Falcons was just too much.

You could tell that they were shutting down and shooting themselves in the foot with penalties. Winchester took advantage of the situation and scored another touchdown putting them up 44 to 34. That proved to be the final score. The Golden Falcons managed to stop a garbage time TD, winning their Milk Can trophy.

This game was fun to watch through and through, and brought back some memories that were locked in the back of the brain from my ball days. If you have the opportunity to go to your local game, I’d highly recommend it.

Wrap up and sign off.

Before completely signing off for this piece, I just want to give a quick list of players who I think would do well at the D3, maybe D2 level.

  • Kolson Clemons, OL – Union City #72
  • Adrian Corona-Lara, OL – Union City #75
  • Brendan Wright, ATH – Union City #25
  • Brooks Burelison, WR – Winchester #6
  • Braxton Bosworth, RB – Winchester #4
  • Bayden Tippett, LB – Winchester #12

Some of these kids, if they play at the next level will probably have to change positions — but they’ll do well in my opinion.

I hope everyone who reads this enjoyed it. Don’t forget to follow Around The Block Network on all forms of social media & have a great day!