The New York Giants have a new look and feel about them this year. Optimism has returned to the organization following some major changes in the front office and to the coaching staff with Joe Schoen replacing Dave Gettleman as general manager. Schoen, who was with the Buffalo Bills previously, also brought along Brian Daboll with him to be the head coach and replace Joe Judge.
Giants fans are hopeful that the former Bills can bring some of that success from Buffalo with them to the Meadowlands. Big Blue has been the worst team in the NFL in terms of wins and losses the last few years and hopefully, Schoen and Daboll can turn that around.
On the field, things are already looking different. The play calling and schemes on offense look modernized to take advantage of the athletes the Giants have on the roster. No more vanilla, predictable looks that became commonplace under Judge.
Defensively, the Giants are also looking different. Having a bonafide pass rushing star in Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, certainly will help. Don “Wink” Martindale will certainly have some pressures schemed up, but how those plays are relayed to the defense will take some getting used to.
Normally, the player that wears the green dot defensively is a linebacker. He is in the middle of the field and will relay play calls to the defensive line in front of him and the secondary behind him. This year for the Giants, it looks like safety Xavier McKinney will be wearing the green dot.
“So, I had a discussion with [defensive coordinator Don] “Wink” [Martindale]. And I have a lot of confidence in Wink,” Daboll said. “He’s done it that way for the past few years. So, that’s who we chose to wear it right now.”
With the Baltimore Ravens, Martindale had Eric Weddle and Chuck Clark wearing the green dot in their defense. The Ravens routinely had one of the better defensive units in the NFL under Martindale, so maybe he is onto something with this approach.
Martindale got McKinney in contact with Weddle to better help him prepare for the role. While McKinney has experience calling plays from his time at Alabama, talking to Weddle certainly was beneficial.
“He helped me a lot, actually, with just kind of how to disguise certain things and how to be on the same page with Wink and things like that,” McKinney said of Weddle. “He really helped me out in terms of looking at film, studying film, how he did it when he had Wink.”
Communication is always key in the NFL. While the play calling will start with McKinney, everyone is going to have to be communicating with each other to get on the same page. Martindale’s defense has a ton of movement and looks, so conveying the plan throughout the defense will be as important as McKinney giving the play call as the green dot player.