for display only
Big Blue Interactive The Corner Forum  
Back to the Corner

Schmeelk: What does Shane Bowen's defense look like?

Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/6/2024 9:26 am

John Schmeelk: Our player interview series on the "Giants Huddle" podcast is underway, with our defensive interviews set to begin next week. The nature of Shane Bowen's defense was a huge topic of conversation with all the defensive players I spoke to. Here was the consensus:

More zone with players watching and reading the quarterback on the second level.
More two-high safety looks.
Fewer blitzes with more adapting the scheme to the offense lined up across from them.
Aggressive one-gap penetrating scheme on the defensive line while maintaining rush lane integrity.
Not a passive zone scheme.
There will be a combination of pattern match and drop zone.
Do not expect a lot of uncontested short passes.
There are man principles in many of the zone coverages.

Those were the major highlights of the conversations you will hear over the nest few weeks. The defensive front will be expected to win one-on-one, get up-field and stop the run on the way to the quarterback. Expect some wide alignments, especially on passing downs to generate 1-on-1 matchups for top pass rushers like Brian Burns, Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux. The defensive front is the strength of the team, and they should be able to execute what the scheme is asking of them.

In the secondary, all the linebackers and defensive backs were excited to have their eyes on the quarterback a lot more than the last two years, when their backs were often to the quarterback playing man-to-man defense. It will allow them to use their instincts and film study to anticipate where the quarterback wants to go with the football and make plays on it. The Giants were tied for the league lead with 31 takeaways last season, and the design of the new defense should give them a chance to finish near the top of the league again.

24 Questions in 24 Days: Shane Bowen's defense explained - ( New Window )
"Do not expect a lot of uncontested short passes" is a key for me.  
Ira : 7/6/2024 9:34 am : link
I've seen too many 3rd and short under a number of different defensive coordinators where the Giants corner is 10+ yards off the ball and the receiver runs out a few yards, turns and gets the 1st down.
I'm no expert  
Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/6/2024 9:56 am : link
but it seems like the NFL has adopted much of what Nick Saban has done in terms of secondary coverage. What stands out to me is how complicated split coverage can be. If I understand it correctly, you can run a certain kind of coverage to one side of the field and a different kind of coverage in another. Obviously everyone needs to be on the same page or someone is going to run free.
BTW  
Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/6/2024 10:01 am : link
this is why game reviews with the secondary can be so tough. It's not always clear who is at "fault" when a receiver makes a play.
I thought a man-to-man defense was better than a zone defense.  
Ivan15 : 7/6/2024 10:07 am : link
After watching Martindale’s defense for 2 years, I think I prefer a zone defense. Not saying that Martindale’s defense had a bunch of dummies, but I think a zone defense requires smarter players working together.

I can understand why the Giants wanted Graham back, and Bowen seems like a good choice. This is his chance to show HIS defense is more than just Vrabel’s defense.
This is more like what the rest of the league is doing  
UberAlias : 7/6/2024 10:09 am : link
Wink was an anomaly. It's going to frustrate fans at time, but when done right it works.

This is the year we need Kayvon to break out. He's been good, but rarely the difference maker we need him to be. Schoen's first two picks were supposed to anchor the roster. That's a big part of where we are. Fingers crossed.
RE: This is more like what the rest of the league is doing  
Ivan15 : 7/6/2024 10:21 am : link
In comment 16548937 UberAlias said:
Quote:
Wink was an anomaly. It's going to frustrate fans at time, but when done right it works.

This is the year we need Kayvon to break out. He's been good, but rarely the difference maker we need him to be. Schoen's first two picks were supposed to anchor the roster. That's a big part of where we are. Fingers crossed.
______________
I am looking forward to seeing how Burns and Thibs will be used together. Within the structure of how Bowen’s defense appears to be, it seems that one (Burns?) will play more like a DE and the other (Thibs?) will play more like an Edge/LB with both players changing roles a lot to keep the offense guessing.
RE: I'm no expert  
HBart : 7/6/2024 10:23 am : link
In comment 16548931 Eric from BBI said:
Quote:
but it seems like the NFL has adopted much of what Nick Saban has done in terms of secondary coverage. What stands out to me is how complicated split coverage can be. If I understand it correctly, you can run a certain kind of coverage to one side of the field and a different kind of coverage in another. Obviously everyone needs to be on the same page or someone is going to run free.

Yup.

And a key complexity of Daboll's offense -- every receiver capable of every role -- increases the odds the bad guys secondary hoses the read and therefore the coverage.
watching a bunch of Titans games last season  
Giantsfan79 : 7/6/2024 10:40 am : link
They were near the top of the league in giving up 20-25 yard passes but close to the best in the league in preventing 40+ yard plays.
RE: watching a bunch of Titans games last season  
Pepe LePugh : 7/6/2024 11:21 am : link
In comment 16548953 Giantsfan79 said:
Quote:
They were near the top of the league in giving up 20-25 yard passes but close to the best in the league in preventing 40+ yard plays.

Fits with 2 high Safety and contested short throws mentioned in OP.
sounds a lot like a middle ground between patrick graham and wink  
Eric on Li : 7/6/2024 11:25 am : link
which in theory sounds good.

thinking back both graham and wink had better 1st years than 2nd years even as their personnel mostly improved.

a lot of this aligns with recent trends, hopefully bowen can execute. and guys stay healthy.
RE:  
christian : 7/6/2024 11:37 am : link
In comment 16548924 Ira said:
Quote:
I've seen too many 3rd and short under a number of different defensive coordinators where the Giants corner is 10+ yards off the ball and the receiver runs out a few yards, turns and gets the 1st down.

From what I've read, it appears getting off the field on 3rd down was a problem for Bowen. Over the last 3 years the Titans have the 3rd worst conversion rate against on 3rd down at 47%.

This the downside of trying to keep things in front of you and not give up the big play.
Link - ( New Window )
Wink's defense didn't suck because guys couldn't cover.  
robbieballs2003 : 7/6/2024 12:02 pm : link
It sucked because the run defense sucked. Be careful what you wish for. There is no perfect defense. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I feel like too many have a short memory. Graham sucked. Our offense could never get in a rhythm because we could never get off the field. Yes, they had good red zone numbers but if teams constantly have long drives it messes with the offense. The same can be said for our offenses. Our offenses don't keep drives going so our defense is on the field for longer than they should be. We do not play complementary football. Bowen will get his chance but get ready for a lot of deflating games. There is nothing worse than a crowd trying to get in the game and your defense constantly giving up 3rd down conversions.
Guess the number of games ALL of these players are healthy/available  
David B. : 7/6/2024 12:30 pm : link
Thibodeaux
Burns
Lawrence
Ojulari

Let's be real. If you can get 10+ games from just Thibodeaux
Burns, and Lawrence together those games should be pretty good.

Now add the 2-4 games Ojulari plays per year. If you assume the other 3 are on the field, you'd really have something.

If Bowen needs 4 consistent pass rushers, the Giants still need to draft a few more in the next drafts.

My pessimistic guess: All 4 of them healthy at the same time 4-5 games.
So last years Giants defense was better at getting off the field  
Blue21 : 7/6/2024 2:12 pm : link
than Tennessee's on third down? Now that scares me.
RE: Guess the number of games ALL of these players are healthy/available  
Pepe LePugh : 7/6/2024 2:57 pm : link
In comment 16549005 David B. said:
Quote:
Thibodeaux
Burns
Lawrence
Ojulari

Let's be real. If you can get 10+ games from just Thibodeaux
Burns, and Lawrence together those games should be pretty good.

Now add the 2-4 games Ojulari plays per year. If you assume the other 3 are on the field, you'd really have something.

If Bowen needs 4 consistent pass rushers, the Giants still need to draft a few more in the next drafts.

My pessimistic guess: All 4 of them healthy at the same time 4-5 games.

Has Dex missed a game due to injury in his career? Thibs has missed two in two years. Burns something like three games in five years.
Ojulari is another story, but to imply that there’s cause for concern for the group as a whole is crazy.
RE: So last years Giants defense was better at getting off the field  
Toth029 : 7/6/2024 3:18 pm : link
In comment 16549054 Blue21 said:
Quote:
than Tennessee's on third down? Now that scares me.


A 1.5 difference on 3rd down. Redzone is huge as well.

Third down:
Giants 37% (9th)
Titans 38.5%

Redzone:
Giants 61%
Titans 37.7% (1st)
Tennessee's Defense  
Archer : 7/6/2024 4:13 pm : link
I watched many of Tennessee's games and came away with some observations.
The scheme is risk-averse. Between the 20's they gave up a lot of yardage in a "bend but not break" philosophy. Their corners did not challenge and played off coverage.

This changed in the red zone. The Titans used a man-zone tight coverage.

While the defense did not blitz they created pressure by overloads and disguising who was rushing the passer.
This was done with a lot of stunting. They had very creative stunts to free up rushers.

While the Titans did not rush blitz their safeties often were required to fill gaps and the LBs dropped into coverage.

Most of the stunts were in the A-B gaps. The ends were wide and crashed down.

I came away thinking that the game plan was sound but that there was a lot of thinking going on, a lot of pre-snap and post-snap movement.

It also relies on freeing up a pass rusher. The stunts are designed to create an angle for the lineman. The lineman must beat the OL. I hope that the Giants players are well-suited to this defense.
Is it?  
David B. : 7/6/2024 4:35 pm : link
Quote:
to imply that there’s cause for concern for the group as a whole is crazy.


Crazy? How many times has ANY, whole starting unit on the Giants been healthy in the last decade? I can't remember. Not since the era of the last two SBs.

How many times did the Giants get a new blue chip guy to go with an existing blue chip guy (or guys) -- thinking it would make the unit really special -- only to have it vanish due to injuries. Cruz and OBJ played what? 3 quarters of one game together. Plax should have played with Nicks, but he was in prison.

You wanna build your Defensive scheme on rushing 4 guys who can beat the guy in front of him, you probably have to have at least 6 of those guys on the roster. Not just the Strahan's Osi's, JPP's and Tuck's, but also the guys like Kiwi, Jay Alford, Chris Canty, Fred Robbins. Guys who push the pocket from the middle who can be counted on for a few sacks a year.

The Giants now have 3 such guys on the D. That should make it better than last year. Teams shouldn't be able to double Dex, Burns, or KT without paying for it.

Whatever Ojulari provides will be gravy. Simmons, too, but no one's figured out how to use that kid.
I'm looking forward to it.  
mittenedman : 7/6/2024 4:39 pm : link
I don't think he's a top DC by any means, but talent drives results, and the Giants have a front 4 again. This is a scheme that will look really good if the DLine is kicking ass.
RE: Tennessee's Defense  
Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/6/2024 5:00 pm : link
In comment 16549092 Archer said:
Quote:
I watched many of Tennessee's games and came away with some observations.
The scheme is risk-averse. Between the 20's they gave up a lot of yardage in a "bend but not break" philosophy. Their corners did not challenge and played off coverage.

This changed in the red zone. The Titans used a man-zone tight coverage.

While the defense did not blitz they created pressure by overloads and disguising who was rushing the passer.
This was done with a lot of stunting. They had very creative stunts to free up rushers.

While the Titans did not rush blitz their safeties often were required to fill gaps and the LBs dropped into coverage.

Most of the stunts were in the A-B gaps. The ends were wide and crashed down.

I came away thinking that the game plan was sound but that there was a lot of thinking going on, a lot of pre-snap and post-snap movement.

It also relies on freeing up a pass rusher. The stunts are designed to create an angle for the lineman. The lineman must beat the OL. I hope that the Giants players are well-suited to this defense.


Thanks for sharing!
RE: I'm no expert  
Brown_Hornet : 7/6/2024 7:22 pm : link
In comment 16548931 Eric from BBI said:
Quote:
but it seems like the NFL has adopted much of what Nick Saban has done in terms of secondary coverage. What stands out to me is how complicated split coverage can be. If I understand it correctly, you can run a certain kind of coverage to one side of the field and a different kind of coverage in another. Obviously everyone needs to be on the same page or someone is going to run free.
Split coverage isn't really any more difficult that other coverages. For instance, a "Cover 6" may simply be cover 2 to the boundary and cover 4 to the field.
Boundary is CB in the flat with a S over the top. The Field side has both the CB and S with 1/4 deep responsibility and the OLB has the flat.
ILBs are hook to curl.

These guys are pro's. The coverages should all be fairly remedial to them.
Disguising them is different. It takes a bit of nuance to disguise but make sure that you have leverage in the scheme at the snap.
RE: RE: I'm no expert  
ChrisRick : 7/6/2024 8:57 pm : link
In comment 16549182 Brown_Hornet said:
Quote:
In comment 16548931 Eric from BBI said:


Quote:


but it seems like the NFL has adopted much of what Nick Saban has done in terms of secondary coverage. What stands out to me is how complicated split coverage can be. If I understand it correctly, you can run a certain kind of coverage to one side of the field and a different kind of coverage in another. Obviously everyone needs to be on the same page or someone is going to run free.

Split coverage isn't really any more difficult that other coverages. For instance, a "Cover 6" may simply be cover 2 to the boundary and cover 4 to the field.
Boundary is CB in the flat with a S over the top. The Field side has both the CB and S with 1/4 deep responsibility and the OLB has the flat.
ILBs are hook to curl.

These guys are pro's. The coverages should all be fairly remedial to them.
Disguising them is different. It takes a bit of nuance to disguise but make sure that you have leverage in the scheme at the snap.



Good post BH. Thanks for sharing your insight.
I hope I am wrong  
Sam Huff : 7/7/2024 2:38 pm : link
but this smells like Rod Rust.
After looking at the chart that christian provided  
BobR in Durham : 7/10/2024 5:10 pm : link
on opponent's 3rd down conversion rates, I'm more optimistic about Bowen's defense. Here's the Titan's allowed conversion rates and rankings for the last 3 years from that chart:

Titans
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion Rate in 2023 = 38.53% (Rank #18)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion Rate in 2022 = 34.22% (Rank #3)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion Rate in 2021 = 37.33% (Rank #6)

If you take into account the rash of injuries in the Titan's secondary in the 2023 season - which could explain the 47% conversion rate allowed in the last 3 games of 2023 (the column labeled "Last 3" is for the last 3 games, not the last 3 seasons) - their performance seems consistently good.



RE: I hope I am wrong  
Angel Eyes : 7/12/2024 2:50 pm : link
In comment 16549363 Sam Huff said:
Quote:
but this smells like Rod Rust.

How so?
Looking at the defensive line however,  
Angel Eyes : 7/16/2024 1:27 pm : link
I don't see how it's a one-gap scheme. Most of the players on it are nose tackles by trade, meaning their job is to tie up blockers enabling linebackers to make tackles and the ones who can be classified as penetrators have pretty long shots to make the roster.
Back to the Corner