Giants Defensive Coordinator Surprised by Safety Xavier McKinney’s Comments
Wink Martindale Expresses Disappointment and Addresses Concerns
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has expressed his surprise and disappointment over safety Xavier McKinney’s comments following the team’s 30-6 loss to the Raiders on Sunday.
McKinney, who is one of the defensive captains, stated after the game that the team’s leaders were “not really being heard.” This complaint came as a shock to Martindale, known for his player-friendly approach, as he had never encountered such a situation in his 36-year coaching career.
“Yeah, it surprised me because it’s the first time it’s ever happened in my career that a player would make a statement like that,” Martindale said. “I think it was a case of the kid being frustrated from losing. We spoke about it and cleared things up. The example he gave me was an in-game adjustment.”
Martindale emphasized the negative impact such comments can have on the team’s morale, stating, “It hurts the locker room. It hurts the defensive room when you say something like that.”
Despite the criticism, McKinney will retain his starting role as a safety in the upcoming game against the Cowboys, according to Coach Brian Daboll. There will be no on-field discipline for expressing his opinions.
However, Martindale admitted that McKinney’s comments did hurt him personally. Known for his “Keep It Real” meetings and open-door policy, Martindale views defensive meetings as a safe space for players to voice their concerns.
“It did [hurt],” Martindale said. “I’ve always been open and honest with players. I believe in handling things internally.”
Linebacker and first-year captain Bobby Okereke acknowledged McKinney’s perspective but emphasized the importance of resolving issues within the team.
“That’s not my perspective or interpretation of what we have going on,” Okereke said. “But I never want to invalidate his feelings. I know he, Wink, and [Daboll] have discussed it and reached some understanding.”
Okereke also stressed the need to keep internal matters within the team, stating, “When things like this happen, it’s best to handle it in-house and avoid distractions.”
The Giants hold captains meetings every Friday morning before defensive meetings, where the coaching staff encourages players to voice their concerns and provide feedback.
“We open the floor for discussions,” Okereke explained. “We clear the air and address any conversations or issues from the locker room. We discuss the weekly schedule, offensive and defensive strategies, and the game plan. It’s an open forum.”
The Giants have had a challenging season, losing tough games to the Bills and Jets in recent weeks. The team now faces the reality of playing the remainder of the season without their starting quarterback, Daniel Jones, who tore his ACL in his right knee during the game against the Raiders.
When asked about McKinney’s comments, Coach Daboll refrained from direct comment and instead highlighted the effectiveness of their established meeting structure.
“The meetings we have had for the past two years have been productive,” Daboll said. “Communication between myself, the coordinators, and the players has been comfortable and effective.”