Coming into the year, the area of the defense which people could point to as the weakness was the inside linebacker spot. Since the early days of Brad Jones, the position had been a constant black hole opposing offenses could exploit every play. Recent moves have surprisingly seem to finally be working to fix it long-term, and Martinez is part of that; how big of a part is another question.
Overall, Martinez has been pretty mediocre; there has been some unexpectedly good aspects to his contributions, but he’s also come up short in certain aspects.
The biggest positive he has provided is in run defense, which has been great to this point. Right now, he is PFF’s top-graded rookie in terms of run-stop percentage, and owns the only run defense grade over 80 among the Packers’ inside linebackers.
As good as he has been in that aspect however, he’s been about as bad in coverage. Across the same number of snaps he has in run defense (63), Martinez drops well below replacement-level in his performance. It becomes even more apparent when you compare his showings in this facet to his ILB counterparts. Joe Thomas and Jake Ryan each garner at least a 75 in PFF’s coverage metric, doing so across at least 20 more snaps.
His issues in coverage have contributed to him seeing less of the field as the weeks have progressed. He started the season with 48 defensive snaps before seeing that number reduced to 41, 30, and 15 in the following three games.
With games in the next few weeks against the potent run games of Dallas (#1 in Rush Offense DVOA) and Atlanta (#2) though, Martinez could see his number called on a bit more often.