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Bill Sheridan Speaks:

From Patricia Traina:

Some Great Insight from Giants Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan

On how much he’ll change of the existing defense:
“No, there won’t be a lot of changes. There’ll be wrinkles that you might not even notice out there – the players will notice it a little bit, but basically, we’ll run the same stuff because it’s good and it’s been proven.”

On whether any current starters might change positions (e.g., Mathias Kiwanuka going back to linebacker.)
“We won’t. And he’ll stay at defensive end. You can never have enough pass rushers, and as long as we’re talking about him, when we play nickel defense or sub defense on third down, he’s starting. You’re in that personnel group literally 50-55% of the time every game.” 

On the personality of the defense:
“In general, the main scheme will stay the same. I think a couple of things will be a little more streamlined. We were very, very multiple, which is a headache for the opponents, but we’re going to be a little more streamlined. It’s nothing dramatic. We’re definitely going to have the pass rushers rush the quarterback as much as we possibly can because that’s our strength and everyone recognized that.”

On why the sack totals dropped off toward the end.
“I think a little of it was injuries –just playing the whole year without Osi, who’s a dynamic pass rusher, didn’t help. But a lot of it has to do with what the other people are doing. We saw a lot of seven-man protections. It’s frustrating because it can negate your pass rush somewhat. A lot of people are not so much as trying to figure out how to attack our coverages, but rather how they’re going to protect our four-man rush. We get a lot of two-back protection, which is frustrating. A lot of people don’t’ do it, but against us, they do. I think it’s as much as that, but yes, we had some guys who were nicked up.”

On the role rookie Clint Sintim will play in the defense.
“He’ll be a third down pass rusher. We practice third down on Thursdays so he’ll be working with ‘Wauf’ (defensive line coach Mike Waufle). Last year we played with one linebacker (on third down) – we had Michael Johnson as our WIL linebacker in sub. With Michael Boley, we plan on using him. He’s a three-down backer, that’s why we acquired him in free agency. Clint’s a pass rusher on third down, but he’ll be a first and second down SAM linebacker. Coming in, I’m going to let him play SAM, which is what he played in college, rather than put him in a  bunch of different spots. He can play in coverage. He’s a good dynamic pass rusher. He’s going to come in the door and weigh 255 lbs. so we’re not going to have him playing the nickel inside linebacker dropping back in coverage.”

On free agent acquisition Michael Boley and what he brings to the table:
“He can play all three downs. With the exception of Antonio (Pierce), who’s our quarterback out there, we really haven’t had a three-down linebacker. When we had Kawika (Mitchell) a few years ago, we played him on third down because he was a good cover linebacker. That’s really Michael Boley’s strength. He can run and he’s very athletic. He’s an athletic, open field space guy. So that’s as attractive to us. He can play all three downs. If the offense plays four wide receivers, then you take him out and put in another corner to play man-to-man, but he should be able to cover the tight ends in our division. We didn’t necessarily feel like we had guys like that in the past.”

On what kind of personality he has and how it will translate to the defense:
“I think the number one thing is competence, that you know scheme. Your game plan has to be put together each week because the players need to know that it’s going to work. They may love or dislike your personality. That’s irrelevant. If you give them a plan each week where they feel like they’re going to have a chance, they’ll be motivated and they’ll respond to you. That’s my approach. My job is to put our guys in the best position and also to attack our opponents’ problems.” 

On getting used to calling the game itself.
“That’s going to be fun, actually. I’m going to work up in the box because you want to make logical, calculated decisions as far as your play calling goes. That’s not as complicated as you think, either. If you plan correctly during the week, then you’re just changing your calls on the different downs and distances based on the personnel you have. I think up in the box you have a little calmer atmosphere up there; you’re not down on the sideline where sometimes there can be a lot of mayhem. I’ll be up there calling the defenses.

“The three guys who will be down on the sideline will be (defensive lien coach) Mike Waufle, (cornerback coach) Peter Giunta, and (linebackers coach) Jim Hermann. Between Jim and Pete, they’ll do the signaling.  (Safeties coach) Dave Merritt, myself, and (defensive quality control coach) Al Holcomb will be up in the press box.

“It’s like an office atmosphere. You’re sitting up there and you can have your charts and chart your own calls, and you have your own chance to look whereas if you’re standing on the sideline, whatever you can’t hold in your hand, you can’t refer to. So I’ve always thought it would be a much better situation.”

On whether Antonio Pierce’s play actually declined last season
“You know what? I chuckle when I hear that. I know he was frustrated a little bit because his numbers were down from a tackle standpoint, but if you really dissected the guy and graded him like we do, that guy absolutely plays his tail off every single Sunday. If his tackle numbers were down, it wasn’t because he was missing plays. It’s very easy to isolate a few plays, like the Westbrook touchdown where he probably was put in a situation he shouldn’t have even been in. That guy is as competitive as any guy we’ve ever had around here.”

On the differences between being apposition coach and a coordinator.
“I found that when I was a position coach, you have a much different perspective about the issues at your position, and how those guys can grasp the calls, and play the different schemes, whereas as a coordinator, you might not have had that perspective. So you’re relying on the position coaches to give you feedback on things.”

* * *

While on the subject of Bill Sheridan, here’s what DE Osi Umenyiora had to say about the defense’s new boss. “You can tell he’s very intelligent – the way he puts his words together and the way he elaborates on everything.”

As for the personality differences between Sheridan and former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Umenyiora said, “You’re not going to run into too many personalities like Spags. He’s more high-strung, but I think there are different ways to skin a cat and that we’ll respond even better (to Sheridan). I think he’s going to do an outstanding job.”

*Another quick note on Sheridan.  He plans to work from the press box this year and not field level.  Sheridan felt that being upstairs allows him to see more of the larger picture and also have his charts and notes available in front of him so he can adjust accordingly where necessary.

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