The New York Giants will now begin a journey to find a new defensive coordinator after Patrick Graham elected to take the same job with the Las Vegas Raiders under new head coach Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels and Graham worked together while in New England years ago, but their connection was strong and clearly, Graham was looking to depart.
After putting together a solid defensive unit in 2020, his group ranked 23rd in points allowed per game this past season, struggling to stop opposing offenses in the red zone. Replacing him will be difficult, considering ownership held him in high regard and the players respected him as a leader, but there are some quality options available on the market.
Two defensive coordinators the New York Giants can target to replace Graham:
1.) Wink Martindale
The first name that comes to mind is former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. Martindale has been connected to the Giants on several occasions, most recently as a head coach before the team hired Joe Judge in 2020.
Martindale was a fantastic coordinator for the Ravens all these years, but his unit struggled in 2021 as a result of injury.
Martindale is known for his aggressive style of defense, blitzing heavily and playing tons of man coverage. Graham tried to do something similar at the start of the 2021 season, but his personal struggled to play man, notably big free-agent signing James Bradberry.
Wink’s versatile personality usage and creative blitz packages make him an exciting option at defensive coordinator. However, a coordinator of his style requires a lucrative offense to back it up, something the Giants currently don’t have at their disposal. Being overly aggressive can make a defensive susceptible to big plays, but they also thrive in forcing turnovers and pinning offenses back into bad field position.
2.) Vic Fangio
Next on the list is Vic Fangio, who has also been linked to the Giants on numerous occasions. Recently fired by the Denver Broncos, Fangio is well known for his defensive prowess, working with Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers back in the day.
Fangio loves to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, attacking weaknesses of offenses efficiently. He would be a phenomenal candidate to bring in for an interview at the very least, and given the solid defense he built with a Denver Broncos, his resume speaks for itself.
Vic is known for running a 3–4 base defense, which fits the outside linebacker profile the Giants ran under Graham’s control. Having coached in the NFL for 19 years including five different teams, Fangio has had seven defenses rank in the top 10 in yards allowed per game and eight years where his team finished top 10 in points allowed.