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Mailbag: What the new defense could look like

Walter in Florida: With the draft done and the defensive players that the Giants signed, do you see the defensive line being more aggressive at getting to the quarterback and stopping the opposition run game?

John Schmeelk: It isn't a matter of being more aggressive. Last year's defense featured a one-gap scheme that encouraged players to get up the field. It was a very aggressive scheme. In layman's terms, that means each player lined up near the line of scrimmage was responsible for a gap between potential blockers and was told to penetrate into the opposing backfield, whether it was a run or pass. The Giants blitzed about 30% of the time, which was slightly above the league average.

We don't know whether Patrick Graham will deploy more of a one-gap or two-gap scheme at the line of scrimmage. Two-gap schemes ask defensive linemen to be responsible for the two gaps on either side of the offensive lineman they lined up against. By occupying the offensive linemen, the linebackers behind the defensive line are free to run to the football. This was more of the scheme deployed in the Giants' 3-4 scheme in the '80s.

If the Dolphins' 2019 defense is an indication, expect the Giants to blitz more frequently than they did last season. The Dolphins sent extra pressure five percent more frequently than the Giants last year and had the seventh-highest blitz percentage in the league. With the additions to the secondary (James Bradberry, Xavier McKinney, Darnay Holmes), improved coverage in the defensive backfield may allow Graham to send more than four men after the quarterback more often without fear of getting burned by big plays down the field.

View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.

Albert in New Jersey: What has Jason Garrett been up to? I haven't heard much of his name mentioned this offseason.

John Schmeelk: Jason Garrett and the offensive staff have been very busy getting the playbook together and installing with his unit in a virtual environment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities around the league have been shuttered since mid-March and for the first time ever, the Giants are installing their offense via video conferencing. It adds another layer to what is already a very time-consuming process of putting together an offense, playbook and teaching it to a team that has never seen it before. Those virtual meetings have been taking place for two weeks now.

Garrett was also involved in hiring the offensive staff in January. He was so busy with the process he barely made it out of the hotel to see any of the Senior Bowl practices. He would instead watch them on tape later. Like the rest of the coaching staff, Garrett had input in evaluating players in free agency and the draft. It is a lot of work. In addition to their regular duties at the combine, for example, the assistant coaches were having normal staff meetings to put together the offense and defense.

In a normal offseason, assistant coaches usually don't do any media availability until OTA's, which began at the end of April this year. I would expect the coordinators to speak publicly before the end of the offseason program next month. Once the season starts, Garrett will address the media on a weekly basis along with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey in accordance with league rules.

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