Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls
up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
GIANTS FINALLY GET THEIR MAN, HIRE SHANE BOWEN AS NEW DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR;
ALSO HIRE TIM KELLY AS TIGHT ENDS COACH
a month after former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale exploded in a meeting,
allegedly made wild accusations against head coach Brian Daboll, and threatened
to resign before he and the Giants officially parted ways, the search for his
replacement has ended.
Following a thorough
search that included interviews with former Baltimore defensive backs coach Dennard
Wilson, among others, the Giants have hired ex-Tennessee defensive coordinator
Shane Bowen, who Wilson ultimately replaced after the Titans' coaching staff was
purged following the firing of former head coach Mike Vrabel. It is believed that
Wilson was a front-runner for the Giants' job.
The Giants had also considered current defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson,
who is expected to remain under Bowen, as well as Buffalo linebackers coach Bobby
Babich, who was promoted defensive coordinator despite being another favorite
in East Rutherford, Miami linebackers coach Anthony Campanile, and ex-Los Angeles
Chargers defensive coordinator Derek Ansley.
With Bowen on the job, we can expect a coach with strong developmental skills
and a passion for man-coverage, Cover 2 and a mix of blitz packages. His 2023
defense finished first in the NFL in red-zone scoring. The Titans' defense was
also first in goal-to-go red zone scoring.
Bowen will likely have near-final say in rounding out his coaching staff and he'll
have to pick an outside linebackers coach. And look for general manager Joe Schoen
to bring in some new faces with Bowen's preferences in mind.
The Giants also announced former
tight ends coach Andy Bischoff has left the team to join the Chargers' coaching
staff under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Bischoff had coached under Harbaugh's
brother, Baltimore head coach John, and apparently came highly recommended.
In Bischoff's place, the Giants have hired Tim Kelly, another former Titans' assistant.
Kelly, who was the Titans' offensive coordinator last season, was also the passing
game coordinator. He has 10 years of NFL coaching experience, including three
as Houston's offensive coordinator.
For all you conspiracy nots out there, try this on: Could Kelly have an influence
on the overall passing game and even the offense? Maybe. For that matter, are
Bowen and Kelly valuable keepers on the staff just in case of true upheaval after
the season with, oh, Vrabel on the open head coaching market? Nah, probably not.
Really. Makes no sense. Let it go.
Any interest in talking about the
draft, at least potential first-round picks?
Among the Giants' areas of need - wide receiver, offensive line, edge rusher,
cornerback, among others - there has been plenty of chatter that the Giants want
to move right tackle Evan Neal inside to the right guard spot and draft a right
tackle this year.
We took quick look
at the pre-Combine players and while Penn State's Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Notre
Dame's Joe Alt are likely the top two offensive linemen in the draft, they are
pure left tackles and it would be surprising for the Giants to take one of them
with the sixth overall pick, if available, and convert him or current stud left
tackle Andrew Thomas. Instead, they could look at the likely best right tackle,
Alabama's J.C. Latham (6-feet-6, 360 pounds) in the first round, though sixth
overall is probably too high. Trade down and collect some capitol? Don't rule
Latham has played both sides
but projects more to the right side. While you may get the jitters when you think
about recent Alabama linemen (Neal is an alum, in case you blocked that out),
Latham was rarely beaten and is as powerful as they come.
They might instead take notice of Georgia's Amarius Mims (6-7, 340) on Day 2 or
even BYU's Kingsley Suamataia (6-6, 325) on Day 3.
Another draft-related issue: While
there are those who feel the Giants would be prudent to get draft a quarterback
this season, maybe even as early as the first round, there are others who believe
the Giants would be smarter to select one in the second, third, or fourth round
and look for a capable veteran on the free agent market next month. Maybe that
would be the best way to go and save the blockbusters for 2025.
So, we took a look at potential Unrestricted Free Agent quarterbacks and came
up with a short list. You tell us what you think.
Tyrod Taylor, Giants
Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (!)
Jameis Winston, New Orleans
Marcus Mariota, Philadelphia
See anyone you like? Of course, money will be an issue, but if Daboll, offensive
coordinator Mike Kafka, along with Kelly, want this potential free agent to compete
with Daniel Jones this summer, they might have to shell out a few extra dollars.
On the other hand, they might be wise to just stick with Taylor as the backup,
maybe at a reduced price, and see how things play out.
Send it all over to firstname.lastname@example.org
me on Twitter @_AaronKlein_
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