New head coach Joe Judge has finally made his first major coaching move for the NY Giants and it’s driving them closer to the Patriots.
Former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was reported to have been interviewed by the NY Giants yesterday and subsequently hired today per report:
Graham does not seem like a very sexy hire on the surface given the complete and utter failure the Miami Dolphins were on defense this season; ranking last in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed.
However, it is important to note Graham was essentially stuck with a barebones defense that was very youthful and inexperienced and also was plagued by injuries to important players (Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones, Raekwon McMillan) all season.
To cap it all off, the Dolphins traded Minkah Fitzpatrick, one of their best and youngest players on defense. Additionally, the Dolphins’ dysfunctional offense did not help either; the Dolphins were just plain bad. This was also Graham’s first-ever season as an NFL defensive coordinator and he really was not ever given much of a chance.
He has a connection to both new Giants head coach Joe Judge and the Giants themselves. Graham coached with Judge from 2012 to 2015 as defensive line coach and linebackers coach. Linebackers often play on special teams, so Judge likely had plenty of interaction with him when he was special teams coordinator.
As for his connection to the Giants, he was their defensive line coach from 2016 to 2017 and did a decent job with their defensive lines in both years, but nothing spectacular given not a single-player crossed ten sacks either year, not that that is the only statistic to judge defensive lines. The Giants players did think highly of him though.
So what will Graham’s new defensive scheme look like? A lot like the New England Patriots’ classic hybrid scheme. Running a lot of elements of both 4-3 and the 3-4, though I imagine Graham will run more 3-4 than 4-3 given his current personnel.
You will also likely see more “dime” packages that feature more than five defensive backs that see more Patriots influence. Lastly, Graham coached with Mike Pettine, the Packers defensive coordinator, who loves “Bear” and “46” packages that help to stop the run and create more opportunities for outside linebackers to come off the edge.
Regardless of what fronts Graham runs, he will have his hands full with a Giants defense that ranked 30th in scoring defense.