Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale hopes to stay with the Giants next season

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale downplayed a report that his relationship with New York Giants coach Brian Daboll has soured, saying he hopes to return next season.

Speaking for the first time since FOX insider Jay Glazer reported roughly two weeks ago there was tension between the two coaches and he might be fired, Martindale said Friday the only thing that has changed between he and Daboll is the Giants' record.

New York is 4-8 heading into Monday night's game against the Green Bay Packers (6-6) at MetLife Stadium. In Daboll's first season, the Giants were 7-4-1 after 12 games en route earning a wild-card playoff berth, their first since 2016.

“I don’t see eye-to-eye with my wife all the time,” Martindale quipped when asked about any tensions. “He’s the head coach, and it’s my job to forward his plan. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

The FOX report said the tension between the two coaches was so high, Martindale might not finish out the season.

“I’m still here today,” Martindale said. “Every time my key card works… It’s not like I go there, and it works, and I go, ‘Yeah!’”

When asked if he would be back, Martindale said he wants to return, but that's a decision not in his hands. He added he likes working for the Giants.

“I’ve said that this is not a steppingstone, it’s a destination, and it still is,” Martindale said. “I think when you’re doing something the way we’re doing it when we got here, and I’m talking about building this defense. When they build the big skyscrapers over there in the city, they put in the pilings. That’s not fun to watch. It’s fun to go see the building after it’s done.”

Of the three Giants three units, the defense has been the best by far, despite trading talented defensive lineman Leonard Williams to Seattle at the deadline. Williams contract was to expire at the end of the season.

In their current two-game winning streak, the Giants defensive has forced eight turnovers.

The 60-year-old Martindale said the Fox report bothered him. He said Daboll walked up to him after the Giants beat the Patriots on Nov. 26 and told him about the report. He said there was another report suggesting four people who might replace him in 2024.

“So, if you sat there and you based your life off of what you read, you’d be very miserable,” Martindale said. “I refuse to do that. Like I said, I care too much about these players. We care too much about these players and their success and building a program here that I’m just not going to let it affect me.”

Martindale said the only thing he is focused on this week is finding ways to slow down quarterback Jordan Love and the Packers' offense.