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B.J. Goodson embracing change in Giants’ defensive scheme

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Move from 4-3 to 3-4, presence of Alec Ogletree, mean his role will be different

NFL: New York Giants-OTA
B.J. Goodson
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The arrivals of James Bettcher as defensive coordinator, which brought a move to a 3-4 defense, and veteran middle linebacker Alec Ogletree to be the likely defensive signal-caller, have changed the landscape for New York Giants inside linebacker B.J. Goodson.

Despite having barely played as a rookie in 2016, the fourth-round pick was handed the keys in 2017 to a veteran 4-3 defense that had been phenomenal in 2016. We know things didn’t go well for Goodson, the defense, or the Giants as a whole.

Let’s take a closer look at Goodson as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.

2017 season in review

Goodson started the season with an outstanding 18-tackle performance in the season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys. He looked ready to justify the faith the Giants put in him by handing him both a starting job and the defensive signal-calling duties despite his extremely limited playing time as a rookie in 2016.

Goodson, however, was never able to build on that. Beset by shin and ankle injuries, he played in only six more games and eventually landed on injured reserve.

2018 outlook

This will be a year of adjustment for Goodson. He will be moving from 4-3 MIKE linebacker to 3-4 inside linebacker next to Ogletree. It’s a defensive scheme he admitted he hasn’t really played in the past. It also appears that it will be the veteran Ogletree, acquired via trade from the Los Angeles Rams, who will call defensive signals rather than Goodson.

During a recent chat with media, Goodson said he is “embracing” and “enjoying” the change.

He doesn’t have much choice.

“I’m feeling great and that’s all that matters – pressing forward day-by-day and getting better,” Goodson said. “I’m looking forward to us as a unit playing fast, playing hard, just being hard-nosed and being about that Giant culture.”

The Giants will beed both Goodson and Ogletree to be productive and healthy. They don’t, at this time, appear to have much depth behind those two players at the inside linebacker spots.

It is difficult to judge linebacker play in unpadded non-contact practices. Notably, though, Goodson has made a few plays in OTAs against the pass while defending short areas in the middle of the field.

Goodson’s transition, and the relationship between he and Ogletree, will be fascinating to watch this season.