One of the most intriguing storylines for the New York Giants heading into 2018 is the impact of defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 scheme.
Ever since the New York Giants hired James Bettcher as their defensive coordinator, the presumption has been that Big Blue will convert to a 3-4 defense. That sets Jason Pierre-Paul up to have a resurgent season in 2018.
In Bettcher’s three seasons as Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator from 2015-17, they registered 121 sacks. In that same time span, the Giants defense produced just 85 sacks.
Last season the Giants defense sacked opposing quarterbacks just 27 times, which was tied for 29th in the league. Bettcher loves to blitz, which confuses offensive linemen and makes life easier for edge rushers.
In Bettcher’s final season as Cardinals defensive coordinator, outside linebacker Chandler Jones had his best season with a career-high 17 sacks which were the most in the NFL.
Utilizing JPP in Jones’ role will help turn him back into the elite pass-rusher he once was.
Since he’ll now be standing up in a two-point stance as opposed to being a down lineman, he can utilize his lateral speed and quickness. This will also allow him to use his good hand (left hand) more at the point of contact when engaging with offensive tackles.
JPP has remained one of the better defensive ends against the run, but he hasn’t had a double-digit sack total since 2014 when he had 12 ½. That, of course, was prior to his July 4 fireworks accident in 2015, which resulted in him losing his right index finger and parts of his right thumb and middle finger.
Since his accident he has 16 sacks in the 36 games he’s appeared in.
An accident of that magnitude would hinder anyone’s career and in some cases end their career. But JPP has been resilient, overcoming that incident and various other injuries and played in all 16 games last season and led the Giants with eight sacks.
The 29-year-old Pierre-Paul still has a lot of football left in him, and being converted to an outside linebacker will help revitalize his career and once again make him one of the league’s best pass rushers again.