Wink Martindale: Facing Jets' Aaron Rodgers will be 'great experience' for Giants rookie corners

New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (36) during training camp.
New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (36) during training camp. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Playing against new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been a headache for every defensive coordinator in the NFL for the last 15 years. But Giants DC Wink Martindale is excited for his young defenders to get a taste of facing the creme de la creme of QBs.

“I get excited every time going against him because he’s a titan of the league and we all know that,” Martindale said Wednesday.

“They’re going against the titan of quarterbacks,” he said. “It’s gonna be a great experience for some of these younger guys, because he’ll evaluate your team as well, the way he plays quarterback.”

Exactly who from Big Blue will see time against Gang Green on Saturday night is up to head coach Brian Daboll and GM Joe Schoen, but Martindale said he was “really pleased with the effort we played with [last week] against Carolina” and was glad to see most of the first-team defenders see action.

The Giants’ rookie cornerback pairing of Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III is two players who are expected to see time and could benefit the most from the challenge of Rodgers.

“I know if I was a rookie I would be jacked, you know the two corners, to go against Aaron Rodgers because it’s one of the best of the best,” Martindale said.

He added: “As players and coaches, just like you saw [last season] in London, it’s fun playing that chess match with him. There’s so many little things you gotta cover when you’re going against him.”

Though Banks and Hawkins lack NFL experience, Martindale praised their mental ability to take failure head-on and he loves how they respond to that by having a short memory and demonstrating a desire to get better every day.

For the defensive coordinator, that attitude is part of why he loves the players and the people who make up his unit coming out of training camp.

“It truly is a selfless group, that cares about our success. And that is cool in today’s day and age in the NFL,” he said before singling out Adoree’ Jackson for his work helping the rookie cornerbacks improve. “He wants them to be great.”

At the backend of the secondary, the defensive coordinator added that “nothing is set in stone yet,” but Jason Pinnock will likely get the start at safety next to Xavier McKinney.

“What he did last year and what he’s done to get in shape and get his body right. It’s another year in the system so he’s playing even faster and more reacting instead of thinking now,” Martindale said. “He’s got a bright future.”