The addition of Patrick Graham as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants has been one of their best moves this offseason. Under Graham, new additions James Bradberry and Blake Martinez have stepped up to exceed expectations and others such as Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams have raised their game further than they were able to under the previous administration.
And the defense will play a big role in the Giants’ game on Sunday, when they face the Bengals. After all, the Bengals have already lost their starting quarterback for the season. It looks like the Giants have an advantage here, and even Vegas has favored them. However, the Giants have already lost one game this season to a backup quarterback when they were blown out by San Francisco.
This one isn’t a given just because the Bengals don’t have Joe Burrow. It’s also uncertain just who will replace Burrow. The Bengals have multiple options in Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley. Neither player has been named the starter just yet.
Giants defensive coordinator not scared of the mystery
According to Patrick Graham, the uncertainty is part of the fun.
“You’re seeing a little sprinkle in of a bunch of different, not a bunch of different systems, it’s what they do. I’m not sure what they’re doing to do. That’s the fun part of it,” Graham told reporters Friday about watching film on the Bengals before this game. “We have to prepare for all of it. What’s [Brandon] Allen do? We have to make sure we know what the quarterbacks do and see how it’s going to play into the system. To be honest with you, I don’t know what he’s going to do. We have to prepare for everything.”
The Giants will have a boost in beating whoever the Bengals start at quarterback, because of the addition of safety Xavier McKinney. McKinney is set to return from injury, and was expected in the preseason to play a big role in the defense. His debut, however, has been delayed until now due to that preseason injury.
What Xavier McKinney brings the defense
According to Graham, McKinney is eager to show off his skills after previously being limited to practicing in the classroom rather than the field.
“The thing is, he’s been grinding this whole time. Unfortunately for him, it’s been in the classroom. I feel bad for him. Now with the chance to possibly play, the thing he brings, he’s a good football player out there. That’s the simple way to put it, with some position flex. This guy can play in the deep part of the field. He can play down low. He can play all over the field,” Graham said of McKinney.
It looks like the secondary is definitely set to improve further with the addition of McKinney partway through the season – and at a much needed time. After all, the Giants are still in the running for the NFC East. A win over the Bengals would be a big step in keeping that hope alive.