Graham left the Giants to become the defensive coordinator for the Las Vegas Raiders. This comes after the Giants hired new general manager Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll.
Although the Giants management intended on bringing Graham back, Patrick Graham found a new home with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The New DC:
Don Martindale is now the Giants’ defensive coordinator. Before this move, he was the DC for the Baltimore Ravens since 2018. He parted ways with the Ravens after the team struggled with injuries and had a disappointing season. Martindale had his hands full working with that Ravens team this past year. At the end of the season, Chuck Clark was the only healthy player in the secondary.
Martindale is well known for his aggressive style, as his Ravens led the league in blitz rate from 2018-2020. In 2019 they blitzed on 54.4% of all plays. At that same time, the Ravens finished top 10 in total defense each year. They were first in total defense in 2018.
Since 2018, the Ravens have forced a whopping 101 turnovers. While the Giants were right there with 98 turnovers, this shows that Martindale’s pressure can force opposing teams into mistakes and give the ball right back to the offense. The Giants were sixth to last in total time of possession last year, so these extra turnovers can help get the offense back on the field.
What Are the Giants Losing?
Patrick Graham leaving was a big blow, for the defense was a strength of this Giants team recently. Graham was the Giants defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, after spending one year with the Miami Dolphins in the same position.
The Giants finished 9th and 23rd in total defense under Patrick Graham. Being 23rd in the league isn’t spectacular, and the other defensive stats aren’t much better. The Giants were 16th in the league in total turnovers, 21st in total yards allowed, and were the 10th most penalized team.
However, a big part of these defensive struggles came because of injuries and constant pressure caused by offensive turnovers. Blake Martinez went down for the season early on, taking away one of the G-men’s most valuable players. That injury, along with some poor secondary play early in the year, made Graham’s job very difficult.
How Does this Impact the Giants?
This move might just improve the Giants defensively next season. While many fans were appalled to see Graham leave, this might just work out for the Giants.
Don Martindale is known for expecting versatility from his players and will bring in players who can rush the passer and stop the rush. His heavy blitz approach will make this defense more exciting, and hopefully, get the offense on the field more with turnovers. Additionally, I expect Martindale to help get the most out of talented players like Azeez Ojulari already on this Giants roster.
Additionally, with an entirely new front office and coaching staff coming in, a completely fresh start will be beneficial. This way the Giants can effectively create a new culture, without any part of the old culture lingering.
The Giants were able to hire a proven DC with an aggressive coaching style, making this move a success in my book.