Giants head coach Brian Daboll talks to defensive coordinator Wink Martindale...

Giants head coach Brian Daboll talks to defensive coordinator Wink Martindale during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Aug. 1, 2022. Credit: Brad Penner

The question posed to Wink Martindale was about the status of his relationship with Brian Daboll.

His answer, was that he resented what prompted the query.

“I hate the fact that it’s a story,” Martindale said on Friday in response to a series of questions before Friday's practice regarding a report from Fox Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer a couple of weeks ago that intimated that the defensive coordinator could lose his job before the end of the season.

Martindale made it clear that he would welcome a return to the organization for next season, saying “yeah, yeah,” when asked directly if he wants to come back.

Speculation about the relationship between Martindale and Daboll began in earnest during the Giants’ 49-17 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas on Nov. 12 after cameras showed the two engaged in an extended on-field conversation.

During the “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show on Nov. 26, Glazer described Martindale and Daboll as being “in a bad place.” He said he did not believe the two would “continue their relationship after the season, maybe not even during the season. It could be a mutual parting of the ways.”

Daboll was asked about the report after the Giants’ 10-7 win over the Patriots on Nov. 26 and dismissed it. When the question was raised during Daboll's and general manager Joe Schoen’s availabilities with reporters the next day, Daboll said he was “done with that” and Schoen said he did not believe the relationship has changed.

With the Giants having last week off, Friday was the first day reporters had a chance to ask Martindale about the story, and in the course of his question-and-answer session, it was evident that he was irked by the report.

Why?

“Because it takes away from how good Bobby Okereke is playing,” Martindale said. “And how good Kayvon Thibodeaux is playing. How good [Dexter Lawrence] is playing. How good [Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A’Shawn Robinson] are playing. How good [Xavier McKinney] has been playing the last three weeks. Because to me it’s about the players.”

Referring to his relationship with Daboll, he said: “We’re fine.  It’s the same thing as it was last year. It was just different because we were winning more games. It’s different every place you go, the relationship with the head coach and the defensive coordinator or assistants, especially when it’s new. It’s been, what, 22 months now? Year-and-a-half? We’re going to keep working, keep trying to win. We’re all focused on Green Bay."

Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka was adamant that the Giants do not have a burgeoning quarterback controversy on their hands. When asked if the locker room is supportive of the decision to play Tommy DeVito over Tyrod Taylor against the Packers, Kafka said, “I think so. I sure do. [Daboll’s] made the decision. I fully support it. I back it.”

The Giants, who will host the Packers on Monday night, enter the nationally televised game ranked 28th in the NFL with 364.3 yards allowed per game. They are surrendering 24.3 points per game, which is 26th in the league.

Not helping matters is an offensive attack that ranks 31st in the NFL in points per game (13.3) and is last in total yards per game (258.7). Those are among the reasons that the Giants are 4-8 after a 2022 season which they qualified for the playoffs with a 9-7-1 record and beat Minnesota on the road in the wild-card round.

More Giants

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME