The Dallas Cowboys are (reportedly) in search of a new head coach. After a decade in the control of Jason Garrett, the organization is now going a different direction (so we think). There are so many different ways the team can go. They can bring in a rising star college coach or they can go with an NFL coordinator whose had success in recent years. Either of those options bring hope, but they also bring risk because it’s unclear if their success can transfer once it’s working with a whole new set of moving parts.
That’s the risk the Cowboys are going to have to take as there is no simple formula for success in the NFL. So, who should Dallas choose for their new head coach? Recently, John Owning of the Dallas Morning News identified four current coordinators who should be considered hot commodities for the head coach gig. All four of these guys are currently preparing their team for a playoff run in the AFC. Many of these names you’ve probably heard before, but there is one guy on the rise who just might be a perfect fit for the the Cowboys - Don Martindale.
At 56-years-old, “Wink” Martindale has been coaching in the NFL for the past 15 seasons. He has spent the last eight of those years moving up the ranks as an assistant on the Baltimore Ravens. He’s been their defensive coordinator the past couple seasons. While everyone has been hyping the craze that is Greg Roman and the Raven’s offense, Martindale’s defense has quietly been in the top five in both points allowed and yards gained in each of the past two seasons.
You don’t really hear much about big-name stars on the Ravens defense, but time and time again, the coaching staff brings out the best in their players, making it really hard on opposing offenses. One of the reasons is the assortment of ways they attack and they take a systematic approach to disguising things up. Owning explains:
“Wink” is one of the most forward-thinking defensive coaches in the league. Aggressiveness is the name of his game — he loves to take the fight to offenses in an effort to put them on their heels.
Simplistic sounds good in theory, but at some point a defense needs to have a Rolodex of answers and counters to an offensive scheme. Offensive coordinators and quarterbacks are simply too good for a defensive coordinator to rely on the execution of a simple scheme.
Martindale runs a variety of complex coverages, including trap coverages, intertwined with blitzes and varying alignments to keep offenses guessing. Speaking of blitzing, he loves to manufacture a pass rush using an array of blitzes. The Ravens were by far the most frequent blitzers in the NFL, doing so on 54.9% of snaps this season — 11.6% higher than the next team.
A fresh defensive mind like Martindale would be a nice change on defense, but it doesn’t stop there. Like the Jelly of the Month club, Martindale could be the gift that keeps on giving...
#Ravens DC Don “Wink” Martindale is emerging as a top candidate as the coaching carousel spins, and his top choice of OC is a fascinating one. Sources say Martindale would be paired with #LSU wunderkind Joe Brady who set the field ablaze against Oklahoma.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 30, 2019
With a new coach comes an entire new staff. How great would it be to also get one of the most explosive college passing game coordinators as well.
Brady removed LSU from the stone ages of smash-mouth football and built an explosive offense that mixes an outstanding running scheme and plethora of run-pass options with an extensive empty formation package (the quarterback is the only player in the backfield) to boot. Now, a lot of this is helped by the fact that LSU is dripping with pro-caliber talent, but the schemes are sound and help optimize the talent.
Will the Cowboys new head coach be an offensive guy or defensive guy? Maybe the Cowboys don’t have to choose if they can get two guys for the price of one. How would you feel about the Cowboys going after Martindale?