Excerpt: "One of the Giants’ division opponents has a 22-year-old quarterback who led his team to the playoffs and was voted to the Pro Bowl while running a read-option scheme. Another of their NFC foes just hired a coach who made college football legend with his fast-paced spread offensive attack.
This offseason, they face a question now prevalent around the NFL: How, and how much, do they adjust to the wave of new offenses in the league?
Their answers could affect coaching, strategy, personnel — and even staffing. The Giants now have one opening on their defensive staff, with defensive assistant Al Holcomb departing for the Panthers, and may look for a replacement from the Division 1 ranks who has experience defending against the read-option, according to a person familiar with their thinking.
The new trend of offenses passed up from the college ranks happens to be concentrated in the NFC, starting with the conference’s representative in this year’s Super Bowl. San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, Carolina’s Cam Newton and Seattle’s Russell Wilson are among the class of dual-threat quarterbacks, and as referenced above, Washington’s Robert Griffin III and new Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly are changing the NFC East in particular.
So the Giants may face college-style offenses upwards of four times in a 16-game season — depending on Griffin’s health and availability next season, and the system Kelly installs with the Eagles. That’s no small percentage.
"They can definitely be the ultimate weapon, if you can keep ’em healthy," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said of the new wave of quarterbacks."
Does that mean the Giants need to change their weapons on defense, or their approach? The Giants have won two Super Bowl titles in the past five years with a defense based around a relentless pass rush, but their stable of defensive linemen expressed frustration this season at quarterbacks like Griffin weakening their strong suit.
Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross said the new offensive trends in the NFL won’t change the Giants’ mindset for the draft, or the premium they place on pass rushers. He also tempered the notion that teams necessarily need smaller and faster players now, noting that teams such as Washington, Seattle and San Francisco field powerful run games outside their read-option schemes.
"Stick with what we do. We don’t worry about what other teams do, we draft the best players for us," Ross said last week, during a practice for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. "And we think from that, we’ll be able to defend those kind of new-wave offenses. Last year, even the team we have now, we think we have the personnel to beat those guys, and we’re just trying to just get better at all positions to further do that. We’re not going to drastically change anything we do, based off of those new offenses." Read more...