The New York Giants are going into 2020 with an entirely new approach, set forth by the new coaching staff they have constructed. New head coach Joe Judge will implement a more fundamentalistic style of coaching and play. His players will refine their technique and increase their tackling efficiency with live drills during practice. With the coronavirus pandemic, there will be plenty of restrictions.
However, the systematic methods the coaching staff will use will change drastically with the new regimen in place. On defense, the Giants hired Patrick Graham to lead their unit. He formally acted as the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2019 and the linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers in 2018. He has experience with Judge in New England many years ago.
On offense, the Giants hired former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. He will likely implement a strong 12-personnel system that relies heavily on running the football and a strong offensive line.
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I want to take a look into Graham’s scheme and how his defense will differ from James Bettcher’s in 2020:
The biggest change will be in coverage, as Graham plays man and press predominantly on defense. Bettcher relied heavily on a zone scheme that forced his cornerbacks into unusual play. Janoris Jenkins historically man marks players, and DeAndre baker is best pressing at the line of scrimmage. The former Giants DC did not allow them to play to their strengths, and Graham will shake that style up significantly.
Only one team played more cover 1 than the Dolphins last year under Graham, and that was the Matt Patricia lead, Detroit Lions, per PFF.
The Dolphins used cover 1 on 491 of their 1116 defensive snaps. The Giants and Patriots lagged closely behind with the fourth-most. Clearly, that is a comfortable scheme for Judge. He brought Patrick in to replicate a similar style to New England with his own twist.
The New York Giants will be blitzing…a lot
Another interesting and exciting fact is the Dolphins blitzed on 35.1% of their snaps last year, which ranked seventh in frequency. The Giants blitzed on just 30%, which was just a tad above the league average. We should expect to see the safeties frequently activated in rushing the passer and delayed blitzes to keep opposing quarterbacks on their feet.
Lastly, Graham rotates between a 3-4 and 4-3 base defense, creating mismatches and adapting to different styles of offensive play. His defense will be a lot more versatile and intricate than Bettcher’s, which could take some time for the defenders to get used to.
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