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Giants Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham Offers Blunt Critique of His Defense

Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham had one word to describe the performance put forth by himself and his players, and it was as fitting as could be.

Unacceptable.

That is the short, concise, and yet straightforward message Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham had when he was asked about the play of his defense, which last week gave up 515 yards to the Dallas Cowboys in a 44-20 defeat.

“In terms of the yardage given up and the loss of the game, it’s unacceptable. Period,” Graham said Thursday. “We get paid – myself included – to win games. I’m in this position to help win games. When you give up 500-plus yards in offense, that’s not usually winning football. It’s completely unacceptable. Completely unacceptable.”

Graham, who in the past has taken the full brunt of the defense’s shortcomings by saying he has to coach better, expanded that criticism this week to include those responsible for the league’s 29th ranked total defense, which is also 27th against the run and 22nd against the pass.

There are countless reasons for the Giants' defense’s fall from grace, starting with the losses of Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency and inside linebacker Blake Martinez to a torn ACL.

The Giants pass rush has also been virtually non-existent this season, mustering only six sacks, three by rookie Azeez Ojulari and only one by Leonard Williams, last year’s team sack leader with 11.5 sacks.

High-priced cornerbacks James Bradberry, a Pro Bowler last year, and newcomer Adoree’ Jackson have looked pedestrian at best, allowing five touchdowns between them while only breaking up four passes and coming up with two interceptions.

The Giants defense has drawn more attention for the number of missed plays it's had. Through five games, the Giants have four dropped interceptions, most in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. They also have 45 missed tackles, an average of nine per game so far.

There’s not much Graham, and the players can do about the guys who aren’t able to contribute, so instead, Graham and the players need to go back to square one in figuring out where it’s gone so wrong and how to stop the bleeding.

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“What I have to do, and what we have to do collectively as a group, is look ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘What can we do better?” Graham said.

They better figure things out quickly because the Rams offense is just as scary as the Cowboys offense. Los Angeles has the ninth-best total offense (408.2 yards/game) and is scoring 28.2 points per game, the eighth-best mark league-wide.

The Rams have the league’s second-best passing offense, averaging 310.2 yards per game. And their rushing attack, ranked 23rd in the league, is averaging 98.0 yards per game.

To add to that, the Rams are coming off a long weekend, holding a 5-3 record under head coach Sean McVay on games that have come after nine or more days of rest, so they figure to be refreshed and ready to take it to the Giants.

Graham, who’s been feeling the heat for his unit’s poor showing, is determined to get things right.

“We’re going to find out,” he said. “It’s time. I’m starting with me first.

“We have to find out. We have to get up there and stop the run – that’s the goal for Sunday – and we have to minimize what they do on Sunday. We have to find out.”


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