Shane Bowen has big shoes to fill in replacing Wink Martindale as Giants defensive coordinator

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Shane Bowen is taking over as the New York Giants defensive coordinator and things are going to be different than the way Wink Martindale ran the unit the past two seasons.

Based on each man’s history, there will be less blitzing and more reliance on the front to generate a pass rush.

“I hope they see us flying around, playing with speed, playing with great effort,” Bowen said Monday after the Giants reported for the opening phase of their offseason training. “I think a physicality to our game, playing with violence, attacking the line of scrimmage, guys being fundamentally sound. Not beating ourselves. Making sure we are lined up, we are communicating, doing everything pre-snap that we need to do to put ourselves in position to make plays.”

The goal for Bowen, who spent the past three seasons as a Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator, is to improve a unit that finished in the bottom quarter of the league in both total defense and rushing defense in each of the past two seasons.

After working together in 2022 to get the Giants back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, Giants coach Brian Daboll and Martindale struggled in their relationship last season. Martindale left the team after the season.

The 37-year-old Bowen was hired a month later and he is trying to get to know his players who liked working with Martindale.

“I’ve watched all the film from last season, so I have an idea, strengths, weaknesses, areas I think we need to improve, players need to improve specifically,” Bowen said. “But that will kind of continue throughout the spring.”

The Giants, who went 6-11 in missing the playoffs, have talent despite losing safety and second-leading tackler Xavier McKinney to Green Bay in free agency.

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence leads the unit with bookend edge players Kayvon Thibodeaux and Brian Burns, who was acquired in a trade with Carolina. Leading tackler and inside linebacker Bobby Okereke, who played every down last season, returns for a second season. Cornerback Deonte Banks should improve after a solid rookie season.

One number that was impressive for the defense last season was the turnover differential. Despite their record, New York was a plus-12, tied with Baltimore for best in the league.

Bowen said his job is to put the players in situations for success. If that means adjusting his overall scheme, that’s fine. He blitzed about 20% with his defenses in Tennessee, half as much as Martindale.

“The last thing I want to do is have so much scheme we can’t focus on our style of play, the technique, the fundamentals and paralyzing ourselves before the snap,” Bowen said. “I want to make sure that when that center has his hand on the ball, we are lined up. We’ve got our cleats in the ground and we are ready to roll and attack and play ball and we are not overthinking out there.”



Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up