The New York Giants made a quiet and under-the-radar change to their defensive hierarchy this offseason, adding to the role of defensive line coach Andre Patterson.

The veteran assistant won’t just oversee Dexter Lawrence and the other D-linemen, but he’ll also be working with the team’s outside linebackers as defensive coordinator Shane Bowen looks to generate a more organic pass rush with his front seven.

“I’m working with those outside linebackers on pass rush,” Patterson told reporters on Thursday. “I’ve spent a lot of time with Charlie (Bullen) on the way I see things as rushers and things that I think they must do to help us get to a different level. Charlie’s done an outstanding job of taking those things and running with them. But when we get to the part of practice, our games where we’re rushing with four, then the whole group is working together at that time, which I think is a good thing.

“I’m just doing what they want me to do, you know what I mean? It wasn’t something that was asked of me before then. I do have a little history of helping those guys, so it’s been good. It’s been good for me to visit with those guys and let them see how I think it should be done. Guys that I’ve had in the past that weren’t high draft picks or whatever became Pro Bowl players as rushers in this league, so it’s been good to spend some time with those guys.”

Bullen, the former Illinois assistant whom the Giants hired to coach the outside linebackers this offseason, has welcomed Patterson’s help with open arms.

“No, that’s not awkward at all,” Bullen said. “The only goal, or at least my goal, is for all of our players to play good. Wherever and however that comes from really doesn’t matter in my opinion, as long as it’s helping the players and helping the team.

“It’s awesome. Dre’s reputation precedes him, and he’s been around some of the greats of the game, and he’s one of the greats at his craft, being a d-line coach … To be able to all work together and compile the resources together to help everybody around here, that’s what it’s all about, and I’m all for it.”

Patterson’s added oversight has also been met with approval from the players, including Kayvon Thibodeaux, who likened the veteran coach to Yoda.

“Dre is a legend. He’s like Mr. Miyagi, Yoda, knows how it all works,” he said. “Charlie comes in and, he’s the young, the energy company. When you talk about the scheme, things like that, they’ve been working hand-in-hand. When you see how it’s going to continue to unfold, I think last year the interior and the edge weren’t cohesive. Now it’s going to start to work like clockwork. That’s the maturity. That’s where I’m growing as a player and we’re growing as a defense, being able to play as a unit.”

So far, so good. Now the Giants just hope that it translates to a better pass rush in 2024.


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