He’s been a tackling machine, compiling 203 total tackles this past regular season, according to the coaches’ film review, and becoming the first Packers defender to top 200 in one year since coaches started tallying the numbers in 1975. He led the team for a third straight time.
In the passing game, Martinez switched from being a coverage linebacker under Capers (11 passes defensed in 2017) to getting more involved in the pass rush under Pettine, racking up eight sacks over the last two seasons.
He also hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season, playing in 56 straight (including playoffs) dating back to December 2016, despite a hand injury this year that required a type of cast or wrap for several games. His career has never been full of splash plays – though his fourth-quarter interception (his first since Nov. 2017) in Week 17 at Detroit was instrumental in the Packers getting a first-round bye this year – but reliability has been more his trademark.
“Consistent,” Martinez said, when asked what kind of player he’s proven to be in his career thus far. “For me it’s every single game, you’re going to get the same guy, he’s going to be a guy that goes out there, fights for his team, whether injured or not, can line everybody up, get everybody in the right positions, make plays that he needs to make, do everything a defensive coordinator needs him to do.”
Martinez certainly has done his part off the field as well, not only in the locker room but in the community, earning the Packers’ nomination for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for 2019, which will be handed out to one winner amongst all 32 nominees across the league this weekend at NFL Honors.