Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham garnered interest for the Jets’ head coaching vacancy last year, but he elected to remain with the Meadowlands’ other club for at least one more season. In the 2022 coaching cycle, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports expects Graham to draw interview requests from multiple teams.
Graham, 42, broke into coaching as a graduate assistant with Wagner College back in 2002. He slowly worked his way up the collegiate ranks and landed his first NFL gig with the Patriots in 2009. He served as Brian Flores‘ DC with with the Dolphins in 2019 before joining Joe Judge‘s first coaching staff with the Giants last season.
His work with the Giants is what has created the HC buzz. Despite not having a ton of individual talent to work with, Graham coaxed a top-10 performance out of his unit in 2020 in terms of points allowed, and though the New York defense struggled through much of the first half of this season, the club has yielded just 39 points over the past three games despite facing the likes of Derek Carr and Patrick Mahomes. Graham’s reputation as a play-caller, along with his ability to forge strong relationships with his players, has attracted league-wide attention.
Indeed, if the Giants opt to part ways with Judge this offseason, La Canfora says Graham, a Yale alum, would be a legitimate candidate to be promoted to the top job. But even if that does not happen, there should be more than one interview coming his way after the calendar flips to 2022.
Graham, who is African-American, is not on the initial list of vetted minority candidates that the NFL recently sent to its teams. However, La Canfora notes that Graham has the support of the league office, which suggests that he could appear on that list in short order.
In related news, La Canfora wrote in early October that the NFL is exploring an algorithm that could help quantify a given candidate’s attributes, which the league believes will assist minority candidates land opportunities that they might not otherwise have. The thought is that, as teams rely more and more on analytics, an objective number that an owner can look at to evaluate a particular candidate may help defeat any more subjective considerations or subconscious biases.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.