Giants bringing in two intriguing candidates for vacant defensive coordinator position

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen (New York Giants candidate)
Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants have a crucial vacancy to fill on their coaching staff following the messy departure of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Head coach Brian Daboll’s search for his next defensive coordinator began last week with their first interview and will continue this week with another intriguing candidate.

Giants interview Ravens DBs coach Dennard Wilson for DC job

The Giants’ first candidate for the position is Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson. They interviewed Wilson (41 years old) for their defensive coordinator job earlier this week, per NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport.

Though reports have mentioned that the Giants are interested in adding a coordinator with experience, Wilson has yet to serve as a defensive coordinator in his career.

Wilson has, however, been a Passing game coordinator. He held that position with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022 — a unit that dominated opposing offenses en route to a Super Bowl LVII appearance. Philadelphia held the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense (179.8 yards per game) that season under Wilson’s mentorship.

This season, Wilson’s Baltimore Ravens have been arguably the best defensive unit in the NFL highlighted by their stellar secondary. The Ravens’ pass defense ranked sixth in the NFL during the regular season, allowing just 191.9 yards per game.

Wherever Wilson goes, he seems to coach a top-ranked secondary. The 41-year-old coach could make a jump into a larger role with the Giants and take on the role of defensive coordinator for the first time in his career. If the Giants want to prioritize the development of their secondary, Wilson will be a top candidate for them during this hiring cycle.

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The Giants could bolster their run defense by hiring Shane Bowen

While Wilson may be a first-time defensive coordinator candidate, the Giants’ other contender is not. Shane Bowen has plenty of experience leading a defense as he has been the Tennessee Titans’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons (2021-2023).

However, the Titans recently fired head coach Mike Vrabel, leaving him and his staff available for other vacancies around the league. Bowen has quickly stood out as an intriguing candidate for teams’ defensive coordinator positions. He will also be interviewing for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ vacancy this week.

Bowen has been coaching for eight years and was with the Titans for six seasons. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2021 after spending his first three seasons with the Titans as outside linebackers coach.

Under Bowen’s tutelage, the Titans have had one of the NFL’s best defensive units:

From 2021 through 2022, opponents averaged a league-low 80.7 rushing yards per game (2,745 total) against the Titans. In that span, Bowen’s defense allowed a total of two individual 100-yard rushers—one in each season. At the same time, the defense allowed a third-down conversion rate of 35.4 percent (154 of 435), which ranked third behind the Buffalo Bills (34.1) and Baltimore Ravens (34.9). 

In 2022, the Titans led the NFL in rushing defense for the first time since 2003, surrendering a league-low average of 76.9 yards per contest (1,307 total) for the second-best finish in franchise history (73.4 in 1960). The Titans also ranked third in third-down defense in 2022, allowing a conversion rate of 34.2 percent (77 of 225). The 28 total starters used on defense was the second-highest total in the NFL, and the 40 total players used on defense led the league. 

via the Tennessee Titans’ official website

If the Giants were to hire Bowen as their next defensive coordinator, they would be getting an experienced coach who knows how to gameplan against a strong rushing attack. While being experienced, Bowen is still a younger coach (37 years old) with plenty of room to grow. He would be an exciting addition to Daboll’s staff.