The New York Giants have featured one of the league’s most conservative defenses over the past few years, playing a “bend don’t break” style of football. With a questionable pass rush, they relied heavily on dominant defensive backs to help cover the defensive backfield, sometimes for far too long, which put them in a liable spot.
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The New York Giants’ defensive scheme is about to change entirely:
However, that “bend don’t break” mentality is about to shift entirely with new defensive coordinator, Wink Martindale. When Patrick Graham took the job for the Las Vegas Raiders, the Giants quickly pounced on Martindale, who is coming off of a disappointing season with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens were plagued by injury at the cornerback position last season, finishing 25th in the NFL in yards allowed per game, but did rank in the middle of the pack, giving up 23.1 points per game. The Giants allowed 24.5 last season, taking a step back from a dominant 2020 campaign.
However, the Ravens allowed the second-fewest points per game in 2020 at 18.9. Considering how dominant the Giants’ defense was that season, Baltimore was far better, ranking in the top 10 in both passing and rushing yards allowed.
Martindale heavily relies on an aggressive Cover-1 defense, which puts pressure on the cornerbacks to stick in man coverage. The system requires two essential factors — a fiery pass-rush who can get the quarterback quickly and sticky corners who are dominant during the earlier potions of routes.
“He tells our defense all the time that we’re building a bully here,’’ said DB coach Jerome Henderson, per the NY Post.
Martindale spoke to the media on Thursday, providing insight into how difficult it is to prepare for his defense:
“You want to dictate to the offense instead of sitting there and letting them dictate to you,’’ Martindale said on Thursday. “I would rather them have the headache and stay up five nights before we play them figuring out what we’re going to do and try to present different looks every time we play — because pressure does break pipes, that’s our philosophy.’’
At times, we’ve seen the Giants’ defense get steamrolled against tougher opponents. However, Martindale’s style always keeps opposing coordinators on their toes, sending blitzers from all different spots. One thing is for sure, this will be an incredibly fun defense to watch, especially after adding Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 5th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins went as far as to say that Thibodeaux is a lab-made OLB in the eyes of Wink.