Why Giants hired Shane Bowen as defensive coordinator

The Giants finally have their Wink Martindale replacement.

Shane Bowen, the Titans defensive coordinator the last three years, will head to East Rutherford for the same position, sources confirmed to SNY.

It’s widely understood the Giants had other candidates ranked ahead of Bowen, namely Dennard Wilson, who, coincidentally, Tennessee hired to replace Bowen on the staff after the Titans fired head coach Mike Vrabel and brought in Brian Callahan, and Bobby Babich, who received a promotion in Buffalo to become their defensive coordinator.

The 38-year-old Bowen impressed the Giants during their exhaustive interview process with his communication skills.

The team also loved his intelligence, believed him to be a good teacher, valued the fundamentals his players played with and, as a result, saw impressive production during his time overseeing Tennessee's defenses over the last three years.

The Titans twice finished top-11 in scoring defense, allowing just 20.8 points per game in 2021 (10th) and 19.9 in 2022 (11th). They were the league’s best red zone defense the last two years with rates of 55.1 percent and 37.7.

Red zone dominance is often a characteristic associated with the best Patriots defenses under Bill Belichick. That’s because Bowen’s defenses in Tennessee ran similarly.

The defense is 3-4 in base but varies greatly weekly depending on the opponent. The one consistent is an emphasis on rushing the passer. The scheme is simpler than Martindale’s — which could help the Giants. The main goal with Bowen, which draws the greatest parallel to the Patriots, is the weekly focus to erase an opponent’s top offensive weapon. Bowen, like Belichick, wants to make you beat him with your No. 2 and 3 options.

If there’s a concern with the Bowen hire it centers around who he’s not bringing with him — Vrabel. The former head coach in Tennessee had a very hands-on approach with the Titans' defense. Bowen will run things himself in New York. That could be good, or he could miss Vrabel, viewed as one of the league’s better defensive minds.

Sources confirmed that Bowen is not expected to make major staff changes.