EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Patrick Graham, the Giants' defensive coordinator/assistant head coach the previous two seasons, today became the fifth candidate – the first in-house – to interview for the Giants' head coach position.
He was the team's defensive line coach in 2016-17.
Graham, who turned 43 on Monday, met at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center with team president John Mara, chairman Steve Tisch, senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara and Joe Schoen, who was hired last week as the Giants' new general manager.
The other candidates who have spoken to the Giants are Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who had a second, in-person interview here yesterday; Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who visited team headquarters Monday; and defensive coordinators Leslie Frazier of Buffalo and Lou Anarumo of Cincinnati, who were interviewed via teleconference. Anarumo was the Giants' defensive backs coach in 2018.
Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is scheduled to interview at the team's facility on Thursday, while Frazier will have an in-person meeting with club officials on Friday.
Graham has received much praise for his work game-planning and calling the defensive signals the last two seasons.
In 2021, the defense kept the Giants competitive in several games when the offense struggled to score points, despite the short or long-term loss of Blake Martinez, Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, Adoree' Jackson and Lorenzo Carter due to injuries or COVID-19. Although the Giants finished 21st in the NFL by allowing 354.8 yards a game, they were 11th after giving up an average of 5.3 yards-per-play.
Tae Crowder, the 255th and final selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, stepped in for Martinez to call plays in the huddle and led the Giants with 130 tackles. Second-year safety Xavier McKinney had a team-high five interceptions and won an NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award. Azeez Ojulari led the team and finished second among NFL rookies with 8.0 sacks.
The Giants' defense improved significantly in Graham's debut season as coordinator. The unit ranked ninth by allowing 357 points, 94 fewer than their total in 2019.
The defense was 12th in the NFL by allowing 349.3 yards-per-game after finishing 27th at 377.3 yards the previous season. It was their best defensive finish since 2016, when they were 10th in the league by allowing 339.7 yards a game. Giants opponents averaged just 5.3 yards a play, the NFL's ninth-lowest figure.
One year after placing 20th in the NFL, the rushing defense ranked 10th, allowing 111.4 yards a game. That was also their best figure since 2016 (when they were tied for third at 88.6 rushing yards a game). The pass defense jumped from 28th in the league in 2019 to a tie for 16th by giving up 237.9 yards game, the team's lowest figure since 2013, when the Giants allowed 223.3 yards a game through the air and were 10th in the league.
Graham has 13 years of NFL coaching experience with four teams. He has coached in the playoffs in eight of those seasons and has been part of teams that have won seven division titles, two conference championships and one Super Bowl (XLIX with New England).
Graham was the Miami Dolphins' defensive coordinator in 2019.
Prior to joining the Dolphins, Graham spent the 2018 season as the Green Bay Packers' inside linebackers coach and defensive run game coordinator. Under his tutelage, Martinez totaled 144 tackles (91 solo) and a career-high 5.0 sacks. Green Bay's defense limited opponents to 4.3 yards per rush, which was 13th in the league.
Graham's line was instrumental in the Giants fielding the NFL's most improved defense in 2016. The team allowed 158 fewer points and 1,290 fewer yards than it did in 2015. Their 17.8 points per game allowed was second in the NFL and the team's best since 2002.
Graham began his NFL coaching career in New England, where he spent seven seasons with the Patriots (2009-15). He was a coaching assistant in 2009 before being promoted to defensive assistant in 2010 and linebackers coach in 2011. Graham moved to defensive line from 2012-13 before returning to the linebackers in 2014-15.
During his tenure with New England, the Patriots won the AFC East title all seven seasons, the conference championship twice and Super Bowl XLIX. In his five years as a position coach (2011-15), New England led the NFL in takeaways (150) and was tied for fourth in sacks (214).
Graham played collegiately at Yale, where he was a defensive lineman for the 1999 team that shared an Ivy League title with Brown. He earned his bachelor's degree in sociology with a concentration in economics and African American studies.
A native of Waterbury, Conn. (born in Des Plaines, Ill.), Graham and his wife, Pamela, have two children, Morgan and Silas.
View photos of the career of Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.