Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale and his players have been reluctant to talk about their streak of not allowing touchdowns in the second half of games.
“It’s like a no-hitter,” Martindale reiterated Thursday. “You don’t want to talk about it.”
But Martindale did reveal a surprising source of inspiration for the Ravens as they attempt to wring more out of their halftime sessions — the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and their head coach, Steve Kerr.
“They have short halftimes,” he said, referring to the NBA. “We’ve only got 12 minutes, right, at halftime? So it has to be like an Indy pit crew in there. If you could see the thing, players are going to the bathroom, we’ve got to get them back, some of them are in the training room getting something fixed or getting taped. So it’s got to be a bang- bang thing, and the assistants do a great job. I’ll address them first, and talk about three bullet points, and then every assistant has their role with how they do their position and everything else. It’s worked really well.”
The Warriors are known for burying opponents in the third quarter after a halftime process The New York Times described as “a high-speed 360-degree team review.”
Martindale said the Ravens reached out to the Warriors and also read as much as possible about Kerr’s methods. He added that streamlined halftime coaching was part of the staff’s sweeping effort to improve in every football situation.
He credited Ravens coach John Harbaugh for always pushing the organization to tweak its processes. “John has done such a great job of challenging us every day to get better as a coach and to study different things,” he said.
Ravens safety Eric Weddle raised a skeptical eyebrow when asked about Martindale’s study of the Warriors.
“The Golden State Warriors?” he said. “What do they do?”
As reporters filled him in on Martindale’s comments, he grinned and said, “Never heard anything about it, studying halftime from NBA games. I’d be interested to see what they found out.”
Weddle did praise the team’s in-game adaptability, though he said the players haven’t discussed their second-half success.
“Wink has been, from day one, open about communication and open about what he expects,” he said. “And honest with us. If we’re not playing well, if a guy is not in the rotation, you know why. And it’s everyone, including me. That’s why I think we’re playing well. We play as one.”