Martinez responded in kind by putting in another highly productive season, racking up an NFL fourth-best 151 tackles (75 solo) and taking charge of their sagging defense as it’s captain.
But Martinez’ production, leadership and focus may not have come to be had the Giants not given him the proper platform to operate in. Head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham handed Martinez the reins to the defense and he agrees that it was Judge’s attention to detail that helped him — and the Giants’ defense — succeed this season.
Martinez said that playing for Judge has ‘opened his eyes’ because of Judge’s attention to detail where he can break down game film and draw a direct correlation back to what was taught and discussed on the practice field and in the meeting room.
“The one thing Coach Judge does really well is he can pinpoint every aspect of what an individual is doing whether it’s the punter, the waterboy, the middle linebacker, whatever it is he’s able to point exactly where you started at and why the result ended the certain way it did,” Martinez told reporters this week.
As for Graham, who had been receiving head coaching interest from other teams before re-upping with the Giants, Martinez joked about his attachment to Graham, which began back when the two were with Green Bay.
“That’s one of those bittersweet things. I’m like okay, Pat. I’m kind of like that stage five clinger girlfriend — ‘uh, you’re not allowed to leave me,” Martinez said. “I’ll come find you’. No, I’m excited for him. He’s an extremely smart coach, extremely amazing coach. I’m happy for him.”
Martinez is also rooting for his friends in Green Bay in the NFL Playoffs. The Packers hold the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC and drew a bye in the wild card round round this weekend. But it’s the Giants’ future that Martinez is most focused on.
“We have a high potential of being a great group as we started to show throughout the later part of the season. It’s just an awesome group of guys that come to work every single day. I know we’re going to continue doing that and as long as we’re doing that, we’re going to keep proving to ourselves and to everyone that we can be a top defense in this league,” he said.