Some believed the Giants may lose defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to a head coaching job. They did not.
Employing a great coordinator, whether it be on the offensive or defensive side of the ball, is obviously a fantastic situation.
But it comes with a potential consequence.
A talented and intelligent coordinator could be a one-and-done situation for your team. Every year, organizations fire their head coaches and subsequently seek replacements — your coordinator could leave to earn that prestigious position elsewhere.
Following a 2020 season in which the Giants defense underwent a superb improvement from the prior year (25th to 12th in the NFL in total defense), many believed Big Blue defensive coordinator Patrick Graham would fill one of the league’s then-vacant head-coaching roles.
He eventually turned down the opportunity to interview for that role with the Jets before Gang Green hired Robert Saleh. Graham knew he wanted to remain with the team that hired him back in January 2020.
“Anytime opportunities present themselves, you’re excited — it has a lot less to do with me and more the guys, the players here that played decent defense as the year went on,” Graham told the media Wednesday. “To me, the Giants, this is my dream job to be here as the defensive coordinator, and I’m just happy to be here.
“It was nothing against [the Jets], I’m just happy to be a New York Giant…I happen to be here working with one of my friends, [head coach] Joe Judge, and I got a great group of guys to work with and a great group of coaches — these coaches on defense are top-notch. Who wouldn’t want to have that work environment?”
Graham signed a contract extension this past January that will keep him in his current position during the 2021 season.
That doesn’t mean he can’t progress and find a head-coaching job at some point in the future, but would he want to take on that type of role?
“I think about today — I have a desire to do well today…In terms of a desire to be a head coach — I love coaching football, I love being a teacher that happens to teach football. Everybody in their profession likes a natural progression. If it comes up one day, it comes up one day, but is it the focus of my life? Absolutely not,” Graham explained. “The focus is to coach ballplayers, teach, be around these guys, do a good job for my boss, my head coach, and make sure with whatever I’m doing, I’m making my parents proud and my family proud.”
Despite the crucial loss of defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson by the way of a two-year contract he signed with the Vikings in free agency, the Giants defense is expected to continue developing behind the intelligence of its coordinator.
Graham has found a way to implement rotational and matchup-based schemes into his game plans and is able to employ this creativity due to the depth New York possesses on that side of the ball.
Taking into account the current depth within the pass-rushing and defensive backfield groups, Graham and his defense are expected to continue their success in what’s going to be an important 2021 campaign for the entire franchise.