Giants make crucial coaching change to develop their star pass-rushers

Andre Patterson, New York Giants defensive line coach, talks to reporters before mandatory minicamp at the Giants training center in East Rutherford on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Credit:Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants revealed that they are making a crucial change to their coaching staff in an effort to develop their star pass-rushers this season. According to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, Giants defensive line coach Andre Patterson told reporters that he will be working with the edge rushers as well this season, rather than just training the interior defensive linemen.

DL Coach Andre Patterson will train the outside linebackers in 2024

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Credit: Michael Karas / USA TODAY NETWORK

Patterson called the new plan to coach both the defensive linemen and the edge rushers a “huge change.” Under new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, the Giants will be deploying a much different pass-rushing scheme more reliant on a four-man rush than the creative blitz packages utilized by former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

While Martindale was the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, Patterson worked exclusively with the defensive linemen. Martindale did not have him cross-train with the outside linebackers as well. This season, Patterson will be cross-training with both position groups:

“I’m working with those outside linebackers on pass rush,” Patterson told reporters (h/t Big Blue View). “…I do have a little history of helping those guys, so it’s been good. It’s been good for me to visit with those guys and let them see how I think it should be done. Guys that I’ve had in the past that weren’t high draft picks or whatever became Pro Bowl players as rushers in this league, so it’s been good to spend some time with those guys.”

Patterson has developed players into tremendous talents in the past, namely Danielle Hunter during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Patterson was the Vikings’ defensive line coach (among other things) from 2014 to 2021. He aided in the development of Hunter, who is now a three-time Pro Bowler with five double-digit sack seasons under his belt.

Patterson also receives credit for the development of Giants All-Pro defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. Before Patterson was hired by Big Blue in 2022, Lawrence was a good player, but far from elite. Ever since Patterson began coaching him, Lawrence has been among the best defensive players in the NFL, being named second-team All-Pro two seasons in a row.

The Giants could see major breakouts from their pass-rushers

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Nov 19, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates after making a sack against the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Third-year edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux expressed his excitement to the media for the defense to start playing as more of a unit with the new coaching change:

“I think last year the interior and the edge weren’t cohesive,” Thibodeaux told the media (h/t “Now it’s going to start to work like clockwork. That’s the maturity. That’s where I’m growing as a player and we’re growing as a defense, being able to play as a unit.”

Patterson has already made an impression on Thibodeaux, as the 23-year-old edge rusher expressed his excitement to be working with the “legend” coach:

“Dre is a legend. He’s like Mr. Miyagi, Yoda, knows how it all works.”

Kayvon Thibodeaux via

The Giants are hoping that their defensive line is one of their biggest strengths this upcoming season. Thibodeaux and Lawrence will now be joined by star pass-rusher Brian Burns, the team’s biggest acquisition of the offseason. The Burns-Lawrence-Thibodeaux trio, now all being coached by Patterson, could be among the best in the NFL.

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