By Dianna Russini, Charlotte Carroll and Greg Rosenstein
The New York Giants are hiring Shane Bowen as their next defensive coordinator, league sources told The Athletic on Monday. Bowen spent the past three seasons in the same role for the Tennessee Titans, who fired head coach Mike Vrabel in January.
Prior to becoming defensive coordinator, Bowen spent three seasons as the Titans’ outside linebackers coach and two seasons as a Houston Texans defensive assistant.
The Giants and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale mutually agreed to part ways in January following a fractured relationship between Martindale and head coach Brian Daboll. The decision came after Daboll fired outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins and his brother, defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins, who had followed Martindale from the Baltimore Ravens.
New York finished the 2023 season 6-11 while the defense ranked 26th in points allowed (23.9) and 27th in total defense.
Why the Giants made this move
The Giants finally ended their search for a defensive coordinator with Bowen’s hiring and put an end to a month of uncertainty at the spot.
While the writing had been on the wall for the majority of the second half of this season, the Giants parted ways with former defensive coordinator Martindale in a drama-filled week after the season’s end. Martindale was among numerous changes to the staff, but his former role was among the last to be filled as the Giants took their time with interviews.
Giants general manager Joe Schoen spoke to reporters in Mobile last week at the Senior Bowl, saying he hoped for a resolution by the end of last week.
“Daboll is working through that right now,” Schoen said last Tuesday. “(There are) a lot of good candidates that Daboll interviewed; we’re excited about some of the finalists.”
But the search carried into the weekend before the Giants made their decision. Part of that was due to how the situation around potential candidates unfolded. Last week, Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson ended up heading to the Titans as the new DC while Buffalo Bills linebackers coach Bobby Babich was promoted to defensive coordinator. The Giants reportedly interviewed Vikings DBs coach Daronte Jones in Mobile for the job. One in-house name, current Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, was also viewed as a potential candidate.
Now Schoen and Brian Daboll have a complete set of coordinators after the team hired Michael Ghobrial as the new special teams coordinator last month. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka remains after interviewing for two head coaching openings this cycle. — Charlotte Carroll, Giants beat writer
What to expect from Bowen
Giants fans will be happy to hear about the success of Bowen’s rush defense — an area New York has struggled with. In Bowen’s first year as DC in 2021, the Titans ranked second in rushing defense in the league. In 2022, the Titans led the NFL in rushing defense for the first time since 2003, surrendering a league-low average of 76.9 yards per contest. In 2023, Tennessee ranked 13th in rushing defense. New York has ranked at the bottom of the category for the last two seasons. — Carroll
- Giants, Wink Martindale mutually agree to part ways, capping drama-filled week
- Giants’ Brian Daboll is getting coaching staff overhaul. If it fails, there will be no one else to blame
(Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today)