Giants’ Bobby Okereke is developing chemistry with new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen

New York Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke (58) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker Bobby Okereke was one of the bright spots of the New York Giants’ 2023 NFL season and intends to keep up his level of play into next year. While Okereke held up his end of the bargain in this past campaign, he understands that the team has to play up to standard as a unit, and for the defense, that will only happen with sound play-calling.

Giants’ Bobby Okereke and DC Shane Bowen are getting off on the right foot

Stepping in for Wink Martindale, Shane Bowen will man the Giants as their newest defensive coordinator. Commonplace with a new coach being brought into the fold, Okereke wasted little time touching base with Bowen.

Okereke had this to say about the two coming together and getting on the same page, as Fan Nation’s Ezekiel Trezvant IV shared:

“We sat there and talked ball for about 10 minutes, talking to him about my experiences, playing with Matt Eberflus in the Cover 2 system, playing with Gus Bradley in the Cover 3 system, and obviously playing with Wink in the blitz-man system. Excited to immerse myself in what they do, what we do now.”

Okereke acclimated himself to all three defensive systems he was a part of with the Indianapolis Colts and now the Giants. In his first season parading behind the Colts’ four-man rush in Eberflus’ Cover 2 zone, Okereke came alive with four defended passes and 132 total tackles in support of his DBs in drop coverage. Once transitioning over to Cover 3 under Bradley, his numbers remained consistent and he also recorded 52 assisted tackles.

Will we see Okereke produce another career year in Bowen’s system?

The Giants put Okereke in a position to succeed as he tied his career-high in interceptions (two) and QB hits (six) in 2023. Coming off of a career year, Okereke is hoping that he can develop chemistry with Bowen and help lead the Giants’ defense in pursuit of more wins in 2024.

Bowen, the former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator from 2021-2023, spearheaded the league’s best run defense in 2022 and had them hold teams to 2.9 yards per carry from the top of that season until Week 2 of the 2023 campaign. Such was the best metric the NFL had seen since 2007, per Tyler Rowland of Fan Nation.

Bowen has the chops and Okereke has the talent to make a fruitful dynamic in New York. Their open communication this early is a great sign that the offseason will allow them to gel, along with Okereke’s teammates.