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Giants’ LB Bobby Okereke makes pitch for ‘legendary’ Wink Martindale to remain DC

Martindale’s future uncertain as changes to coaching staff loom

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Wink Martindale
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said last week that “the future is bright if you’re asking me how I look at my future.”

The way the Giants’ defense finished the season playing, and the way Giants’ players have spoken so passionately in recent weeks in defense of Martindale, the Giants better hope that future is with the Giants. They better do all they can to patch up whatever the differences are between Martindale and head coach Brian Daboll are that caused Jay Glazer of FOX Sports to say at midseason that the relationship between the two was in a “bad place” and that Martindale would be unlikely to continue with the Giants beyond this season.

The Giants held the Philadelphia Eagles to 10 points on Sunday, none in the first half when star quarterback Jalen Hurts was in the game, en route to ending a five-game losing streak against Philly. They had five sacks and generated four turnovers.

After giving up 49 points and 640 yards to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10, the Giants defense turned things around. Over the final six games, they allowed 30 or more points just once. They created 21 turnovers, 3.5 per game.

After Sunday’s game, middle linebacker Bobby Okereke spoke eloquently about what Martindale means to the defense. He called Martindale “a great, elite coach.”

“Wink is a phenomenal leader,” said Okereke, who signed with the Giants as a free agent last offseason. “Even above a football coach, he’s a great human being. He really knows how to bring a group of guys together. And, we talk about competitive spirit all the time, but it really starts with Wink. He has that fire, he has that passion that makes an elite football coach. So every day in practice, every game we’re all excited and fired up to go to war for him. So we love him as a coach. We love him as a person, and I really just feel blessed to come here and be, be under him.”

Okereke credited the defensive turnaround over the final six games to Martindale.

“That just speaks to Wink. He’s a legendary coach,” Okereke said. “He’s seen the top of the mountain, and he just coached with so much wisdom. He really held us accountable towards the end of the season to embrace adversity, whether, it’s going out there and special teams not playing well, offense not playing well, even if we’re not playing well. Just to really kind of have that back against the wall mentality. And that’s all starts from the top.”