With two games gone by this season, it looks like the New York Giants are a step behind on defense compared to last season. The defense came into the season looking like one of the team’s main strengths, but was a letdown through the first two games after allowing 27 points to Denver and 30 to Washington.
While defensive coordinator Patrick Graham isn’t being criticized near as much as offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, it’s safe to say things have turned out very different so far than the original expectations that were placed on him coming into the season.
As the Giants prepare to take on the Atlanta Falcons, Graham will be the first one to acknowledge that underperformance.
Giants DC Patrick Graham is determined to look forward, not back at his disappointing D. “If you want to use 2 weeks out of 17 weeks, if you do the math, we’ve still got a chance to be ok.”
And on his performance: “I failed the test last week. I get another chance this week.”
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) September 23, 2021
Graham admitted when speaking to the media that his defenses had failed in the Washington game and in the early season, but believes that it’s too soon to write the defense off this season.
Despite the fact that only a couple of games have gone by this season, it’s clear that the Giants need big changes scheme wise if they want to perform better against the Falcons.
Graham’s defense was especially criticized in week 2 for playing too soft, and allowing backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke to build confidence by getting completions against a defense that was focused on deep coverage.
Considering how Heinicke was able to throw for 336 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants, it seems like there’s some merit to those complaints. While James Bradberry did get a crucial interception that gave the offense a chance to seize the win, most of the success the Giants had in that game was in spite of the defense and not because of it.
While Atlanta is known around the league this season for their own defensive struggles, their offense led by Matt Ryan and featuring names such as Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts will be a large test for the Giants.
How the Giants respond to that test will very much have a large impact in the criticisms of Graham either quieting down or getting louder as the season continues.