Blake Martinez is no longer a member of the Green Bay Packers, but the linebacker still had plenty to say about the team when he met with the New York media on a conference call Monday afternoon.
Martinez, who signed with the Giants earlier in March, said he spoke with Green Bay about returning to the team that drafted him in the fourth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft but that the two sides were not close. The 26-year-old ended up signing a three-year, $30.8 million deal with New York, including $19 million guaranteed.
The Stanford product went on to say that the role he played in the middle of the Packers defense was not ideal and that his lack of big plays, and appearing to give up a big share of his own as well, were not his fault and more a result of the scheme he was asked to play.
Martinez says he had no gap responsibilities in GB this past season and was basically told by DC Mike Pettine to play off whatever Za’Darius and Preston Smith did up front and “make them right.” Hmmm… #Packers #Giants
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) March 30, 2020
Also Packers defense called for a lot of matchup zones where it looked to outsiders like big plays were his responsibility. Thinks he’ll be able to make more impact plays in the Giants defense. Loves new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who was his LBs coach in GB for a year
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) March 30, 2020
Martinez started all 48 games the last three seasons for Green Bay and led the team in tackles each year, including a career-high 155 in 2019. However, he also had just 10 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles in his four seasons with the club.
The Packers signed former Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey in free agency as a potential replacement for Martinez.