The Jacksonville Jaguars are leaving no stone unturned in their search for a defensive coordinator. They already have a handful of interviews lined up and will add another one to their schedule after moving on from Mike Caldwell Monday. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Jags will meet Wink Martindale to discuss the vacancy next week.
Not long after Rapoport's report, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated broke the news that the interview will be held Tuesday and Wednesday. Martindale last held the defensive coordinator position with the New York Giants, having joined their staff in 2022. Before that, he spent 10 years with the Baltimore Ravens. First, as their linebacker coach, and their defensive coordinator from 2018-2021.
Martindale is currently the candidate for the position with the most experience on the Jaguars' wish list. Right after dismissing Mike Caldwell, they put in requests to meet with Ejiro Evero and Ryan Nielsen, defensive coordinators for the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons, respectively. However, both requests were blocked.
The Jags were unfazed by the rejection though, and moved swiftly to ask for permission to interview Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, pass game coordinator Chris Harris, New York Jets secondary coach Marquand Manuel, and Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach and pass game coordinator Chris Hewitt.
While the Jaguars were scheduled to have dinner/interview with Hewitt Saturday, there's no specific date for the rest of the meetings as of this writing. Also, the Titans could block Bowen from interviewing if they wanted to since he's still under contract and would make a lateral move in Jacksonville.
While Martindale left Baltimore on good terms, his exit from the Giants was rocky. His relationship with head coach Brian Daboll soured as the season progressed, and he even stormed out after the two got into a heated exchange earlier this week. To add insult to injury, New York waited for him to resign rather than outright fire him. Otherwise, he would've been owed $3 million for 2024. He ultimately signed his resignation, so he could look for opportunities.
The Jaguars DC coordinator search has taken several turns the past 2 days
The Jaguars have been busy after getting shunned in their attempts to meet with Ejiero Evero and Ryan Neilsen. The past two days, they've been linked to five potential candidates for their defensive coordinator opening. They may or may not end up meeting all of them but Martindale is arguably the best of the bunch.
All options come with pros and cons. Marquand Manuel and Chris Hewitt have been working their way up in the coaching ranks and both are well-respected in league circles. Either one would be an intriguing candidate for the vacancy but if the Jaguars' brass are wary of their lack of experience and instead want a grizzled veteran, Martindale is then their guy.
Regardless of who ultimately gets the job, the Jaguars' next defensive coordinator will be tasked with getting the most out of a group that didn't look great at times in 2023, especially in the second half of the league. Whether it was missed tackles or blown assignments, Jacksonville had a hard time stopping opponents from taking a trip to their end zone down the stretch.
The Jacksonville Jaguars already have enough candidates lined up for the job. It will be interesting to see if they keep adding names to the list in the upcoming days. That said, they have more than enough options already in the mix.