The New York Giants added two new linebackers this offseason, Alec Ogeltree and Kareem Martin.
Martin is a player of former Arizona Cardinals and current Giants defensive coordinator, James Bettcher. With Bettcher comes a 3-4 scheme, or some sort of hybrid system. With the Giants working with a 4-3 system for years, switching to a 3-4 would be an extreme change, which makes a hybrid system more likely.
This benefits Martin and Ogletree greatly, as both are great at the point of attack and were primary run defenders in their respective defenses. GM Dave Gettleman traded for Ogletree to solidify the middle of the field, a position that former GM Jerry Reese avoided oh so religiously.
But, there is one remaining linebacker from the Reese era that is trying to make a significant jump in the new system. Former third-round Clemson product B.J. Goodson will be fighting against the storm, as he now has competition at the position he was once arbitrarily awarded.
After coming off an injury plagued sophomore season that saw Goodson enjoy some success, he has the odds stacked against him in 2018. He only managed to start in seven games before spending the remainder of the season on IR. He was awarded with managing the defense and calling plays, an extraordinarily intimidating task for such a young third-round player. But, with new defensive quarterback Alec Ogletree entering the scene, Goodson now has to fight twice as hard for the playing time he was freely given in 2017.
According to Giants.com, Bettcher’s defensive starters are still to-be-determined:
“I’ll tell you what,” Bettcher said earlier this month, “I can’t tell you today who we’re going to be on defense and really what we’re going to look like until we get through training camp, until we get into meetings, until we actually get on the field, until we don’t just play some basketball on grass in the offseason program. Until we get to training camp and we have helmets and pads on and we’re striking and separating and playing off of blocks and what we’re really going to look like.
“Football is football, schemes are schemes, but at the end of the day, all teams play the same coverages,” Goodson said. “And basically it turns into all of the same defenses. Football is football. We’re going to go out and play, and I’m excited about the new faces that I get to play with and embracing them.”
On Ogletree, Goodson said:
“All I knew about him was watching film on him versus opponents we were game-prepping on. And as I get to know more and more about him, knowing that he’s from a part of Georgia where I’m familiar with, it’s nice to get to know him.”
The young linebacker surely knows that the competition will be aggressive and fierce, but there’s nothing that says Ogletree will win the job based on his past success. Goodson will have his opportunity to impress Bettcher and earn his playing time like everybody else.