The Giants defense already has several key players under contract for the 2021 season, and earlier this month, they made sure that the man who led that revitalization, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, remains in place to lead that unit.
Graham, who overcame personnel issues at one of the cornerback spots and at edge rusher, brought together a diverse group consisting of several new starters through creative scheme design to create confusion for opponents and optimize what his players did well.
He was also a big reason behind the career years posted by players such as defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams, linebacker Blake Martinez, and defensive backs James Bradberry, Jabrill Peppers, and Logan Ryan.
All that success led to Graham drawing interest as a head coaching candidate. The Jets inquired about an interview before Graham signed his new extension and withdrew from pursuing any head coaching opportunities.
“Keeping Pat here was definitely a priority for us,” Judge said Tuesday morning in an interview on WFAN. “We know Pat’s going to have a lot of opportunities going forward. He’s a very, very smart coach. He's a very good communicator, he has a lot of really good ideas, and he’s very good at getting the players to buy-in and understand the concept he’s trying to do.
“I tell you what, that to me was huge. Pat’s a great coach. He’s a good friend. Being able to keep him in this organization for as long as we can, that definitely was a priority. He’s a tremendous help to me, he carries that title of assistant head coach and that’s not just fluff on a sheet. He does a lot of things helping me internally.”
The Giants are only a couple of weeks removed from their season-ending, but Judge said that he and Graham have already begun collaborating about ideas to make the NFL's ninth-ranked defense even better in 2021.
“We’ve already started floating through some sheets of free agents and started poking around some of the draft stuff right now,” Judge said. “He’s great to always bounce ideas off each other. I’m definitely happy he’s coming back next year.”
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