Giants’ new defensive coordinator expects his unit to hit the ground running: ‘New is over’

shane bowen, Giants
Credit: Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants are installing a new defensive scheme this season after hiring Shane Bowen as their next defensive coordinator to succeed the resigned Wink Martindale. The defense is expected to look much different this season as Bowen takes a far more conservative approach to calling the defense than Martindale.

Oftentimes when a team changes its scheme, there can be growing pains at the beginning of the season. But Bowen will not tolerate such excuses for his unit. He communicated to reporters that he expects the Giants’ defense to hit the ground running in 2024.

Defensive coordinator Shane Bowen doesn’t want the newness of the defense used as a crutch

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

The Giants’ “new” defensive scheme should bring about some big changes this season. However, Bowen doesn’t like that term being used to describe his unit:

“New is over,” Bowen told reporters during mandatory minicamp (h/t “I don’t want to hear new no more. It’s not new anymore. We are still figuring it out and we’re learning every single day and it’s been great work this spring seeing things, but the Giants’ defense is going to continue to evolve based on our personnel and what our guys do best.”

After OTAs and minicamp, Bowen expects his players to have the defense down by now. He wants the defense to hit the ground running this season and not use the newness of the scheme as a crutch.

The Giants’ defense has plenty of room for improvement in 2024

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

While Martindale’s defense was the strength of the team last season, the unit still had plenty of room for improvement. The Giants tied the Baltimore Ravens for the most takeaways (31) in the NFL last season and finished with a +12 turnover differential. However, the aggressive, turnover-inducing scheme had its shortcomings, too.

Overall, the unit ranked 27th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game (361.7), 26th in points allowed per game (23.9), and 29th in rushing yards allowed per game (132.4). Their pass defense was fine, allowing only 229.3 passing yards per game. However, the unit generally struggled against the league’s best offenses and had clear room for improvement.

Bowen will aim to unlock that next level this season. The Giants’ defense has some serious talent — Dexter Lawrence, Brian Burns, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Deonte Banks, Bobby Okereke — the list of quality starters on this defense is long. However, it will be on Bowen and his coaching staff to improve the Giants’ defense in 2024 develop the unit into one of the league’s best.

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