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Giants defensive coordinator Shane Bowen wants 'violence' to be trademark of new defense

After a frustrating 2023 season for the New York Giants defense that saw the unit finish 26th in points allowed, new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen was brought in to turn things around.

Speaking this week on the process of building back up the defense, Bowen emphasized that hard-hitting gameplay is what he wants his defense's trademark to be under him.

"I'm hoping it's going to be speed and aggressiveness," Bowen said in an interview with former Giants center Shaun O'Hara, via the team website. "Regardless of scheme -- everybody's going to have scheme, we're going to have plenty of scheme -- but I want to make sure our guys are lined up, they know what to do, and they can play fast and aggressive ultimately. I want to maximize their abilities. I don't want to paralyze them before the ball is even snapped by overthinking.

"They're all here for a reason. God has blessed them with the skillset to be here. I want to make sure we can maximize that skillset and they're able to maximize that skillset. But hopefully [it will be] fast, aggressive, you'll see some violence from us and ultimately guys making plays."

Bowen comes to New York from Tennessee, where he spent six seasons, the last three as DC. Bowen's Titans defense ranked first in the league in red-zone scoring last year, and notably through his three seasons as DC, the unit surrendered the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL.

He'll attempt to replicate that success with the Giants, as stopping the run proved to be a notable issue for them in 2023. Opponents recorded 140 or more rushing yards in seven games, and New York finished the season 29th in rushing yards allowed and 30th in rushing TDs surrendered.

"You think run game, you think physicality, you think toughness, and that's what we want to be at all levels," Bowen said. "I was blessed with some really good players down there [in Tennessee], no different than we are here, but the guys bought into it. They took ownership of it. And it's unique. It's great to stop the run, but you better be able to affect the quarterback just the same.

"So, finding that balance and just [having] the attacking mentality where we're getting off the ball, trying to play on the other side of the line scrimmage, and then in that regard, if it is a pass, you're already on your way."

Pass rusher Brian Burns will likely be tasked with spearheading this defensive effort in his first season in New York. The two-time Pro Bowler joined New York last month via trade from Carolina as by far the biggest defensive acquisition for the Giants so far this spring.

"The initial thing is the explosiveness," Bowen said. "Off the ball, his first step is elite now. I think the lateral movement, the athleticism, you see all that. He's a very sudden player. The length, the size -- like I didn't realize how big he was until he walked in the building."

Bowen sees Burns pairing well with both Kayvon Thibodeaux, who tallied 11.5 sacks in his sophomore season, and Dexter Lawrence, who has two Pro Bowl nods of his own in the last two seasons, to anchor the defense along the front line.

"[Burns is] an impressive looking dude," Bowen said, "but skillset-wise, being able to pair him up with what we've got with KT and obviously Dex in there being able to push the pocket, I think there are a lot of complements to all those guys when they're going to be in there together."

Bowen will get his first opportunity for hands-on work with his new team starting Monday when the Giants open up their offseason workout program.

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