Dianna Russini of The Athletic was first with the report.
The 37-year-old Bowen was defensive coordinator in Tennessee for the past three seasons. The Giants interviewed him early in the search after the Titans fired then-head coach Mike Vrabel.
The Titans chose to keep Bowen until after hiring new head coach Brian Callahan, then getting Dennard Wilson to come from the Baltimore Ravens to become their defensive coordinator. Wilson had apparently also been a prime target for the Giants’ opening.
Now, the Giants’ defense will be run by the man Wilson replaced in Tennessee.
Bowen was a defensive assistant with the Houston Texans in 2016 and 2017. He joined the Titans’ staff in 2018 as outside linebackers coach, and was promoted to defensive coordinator by Vrabel in 2021.
In 2021, Tennessee ranked sixth in the NFL in points allowed. In 2022, they were 14th. Last season, the Titans sank to 27th in the 32-team league in points allowed.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Giants have begun lining up interviews with defensive coaches who worked under Bowen in Tennessee.
The Giants currently have openings for an outside linebackers coach and an assistant outside linebackers coach after the firings of Drew and Kevin Wilkins. Perhaps there will be other changes as well as the Giants look to make the transition to Bowen’s defense as seamless as possible.
In reporting the hiring of Bowen by the Giants, SB Nation’s Music City Miracles wrote this:
Bowen seemed to be a perfectly adequate coordinator for most of his time with the Tennessee Titans. The defense was fine this past season when they were supposed to be really good. Most of that isn’t Bowen’s fault. The Titans were crushed by injuries and just not having enough good players in the secondary.
That’s not a ringing endorsement, but it also isn’t a condemnation of Bowen.
Bowen appears to have run a 3-4 base defense in Tennessee. Philosophically, though, Bowen is different from Martindale. The Giants blitzed 45.4% of the time in 2023, second-most in the league. The Titans blitzed just 22.0% of the time, 24th. In 2022, the Giants led the league at 39.7% blitz rate, while the Titans were at 18.1%. In 2021, Bowen dialed up the blitz just 21.3% of the time.
Turron Davenport, who covers the Titans for ESPN, offered this summary of Bowen’s defensive philosophy:
“He ran a 3-4 but also used four down line man at times, too. Not a lot of press from the CBs but he blitzed the nickel and safeties a lot. They’ve been really good in the red zone (tops in NFL last year),” Davenport said.
“Bend but don’t break defense.”
Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles passed along this assessment:
“He’s pretty good. I would say in most seasons he was the coordinator the defense performed almost exactly like it should have based on opponents and personnel available. He definitely didn’t deserve to be fired. He is just a Vrabel guy - came with him from Houston, so there was really no scenario where he was going to stay with the new regime.”
The Titans defense allowed the fewest % of opponent RedZone drives to result in a TD.— Doug Analytics (@Doug_Analytics) February 5, 2024
Of the 61 drives that TEN allowed into the RZ, only 23 of those drives resulted in a TD (37.7%)
But, of the 177 total drives for TEN's defense, they allowed 61 to enter the RZ (2nd worst %) pic.twitter.com/cK3dIhhp7t
In addition to Bowen and Wilson, the Giants interviewed defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, Bobby Babich (Bills), Brendan Daly (Chiefs), Daronte Jones (Vikings), Anthony Campanile (Dolphins) and were interested in Derrick Ansley (Chargers).
Are you happy with the Giants hiring of Shane Bowen as defensive coordinator.
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Let’s just see how he does