Giants pass-rush should get a massive boost thanks to big coaching change

The Giants pass-rush was already expected to be good. Now it might be even better.
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

With the 2024 version of the NY Giants roster all but set as the team took the practice field for the first time for organized team activities (OTAs), the question marks that surround the offensive side of the ball remain there. On the flip side of things, the defense, at least on paper, has a lot of potential.

When the Giants made the trade with the Carolina Panthers on the first day of free agency to land veteran pass-rusher Brian Burns and give him a massive extension, the Giants made a major statement to fortify the defense and improve a unit that could use a boost. Kayvon Thibodeaux took a major step forward during his sophomore season, as he recorded double-digit sacks in 2023 with 11.5. Adding Burns, though, gives the Giants another legit option on the other side of Thibodeaux, plus Dexter Lawrence in the middle.

However, there is a new wrinkle with the Giants defense heading into 2024, as current defensive line coach Andre Patterson is now working with the pass-rushers during the offseason. This is a move that's widely being celebrated by the fanbase:

Andre Patterson working with the Giants pass-rushers is massive

Thibodeaux has primarily played under Wink Martindale’s defense, which featured a lot of exotic blitzes, but it didn’t put an emphasis on the pass-rush like how new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen’s defensive scheme will. Instead of the constant blitzing, more focus on the defensive front and the pass-rush will be something that is going to be a priority for the Giants under the new defensive scheme with Bowen and Patterson.

Patterson’s history of getting more out of the players he coaches is well known. Thibodeaux referred to Patterson as “Yoda” and “Mr. Miyagi,” all terms that show he’s in favor of Patterson bringing his knowledge and experience to the Giants EDGE guys.

While a lot of focus was made on Martindale’s exit from the Giants back in January as the team’s defensive coordinator, the truth is, the Giants defense needed a change after 2023. The defense surrendered 407 points, which resulted to almost 24 points per game. That rate was 26th in the league a year ago. Back in 2022, the Giants defense surrendered 371 points, which was around 21 points per game. That was 17th in the league, which was also the same year the Giants qualified for the postseason.

What didn’t help in 2023 was the lack of pass-rush outside of Thibodeaux and Lawrence. Jihad Ward had the team’s second highest sack total with five, and he’s now playing elsewhere in 2024. Azeez Ojulari never really showed that he could be counted on after his rookie season, as injuries and inconsistency have derailed him and thus, why Burns was acquired and has since surpassed him on the depth chart.

Hopefully for the Giants sake in 2024, having Patterson added into the coaching mix with the pass-rush to go with Bowen’s new scheme can give a boost to a unit that is not only looking to rebound from a rough season, but may be counted on to try and keep the Giants in games in 2024. This is a strong decision all around.