Blake Martinez described himself as "a Stage-5 clinger girlfriend" when it comes to Patrick Graham. So when the Giants’ defensive coordinator/assistant head coach was receiving interest from other teams as a head coaching candidate, Martinez warned Graham about his stalker tendencies.
"You’re not allowed to leave me," Martinez said he told Graham. "I’m going to find you."
Maybe it worked, because Martinez no longer has to worry about such things. Graham withdrew his name from consideration for head coaching opportunities on Tuesday when he agreed to an extension that will keep him with the Giants for the 2021 season. His return means the Giants not only will have most of their defensive players back for the upcoming season, but also the same system which they intend to build upon this offseason.
"He did a great job this year for us," Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry said. "He always says this league is about players and if we can’t handle the system on the field then the system is not really going to work. We have players coming back that we had this year so I’m feeling pretty strong about the season for next year."
Prior to Graham’s decision — or, more to the point, head coach Joe Judge and the Giants’ decision to fight for him to stay with a pay raise — the Giants’ defensive players were a bit nervous about losing their coordinator. They did, however, speak highly of him and his potential for as a head coach.
"It’s kind of one of those bittersweet things," Martinez said on Tuesday. "I’m excited for him. He is an extremely smart coach, an extremely amazing coach, and I’m happy for him."
Bradberry echoed that referral.
"I think he’d do a good job," the Pro Bowler said. "Coach Graham is a very, very smart guy. I know he went to an Ivy League school, too. His football knowledge, his football IQ, is above a lot of guys that I have been around. I wish the best for him if that happens. I think he’d be a good candidate."
In Graham’s first season with the Giants, the team improved from 30th in the league in points allowed in 2019 to ninth in 2020. Their pass defense in 2020 was ranked 16th and the rush defense ranked 10th, both also vast improvements over 2019. They ranked second in red zone defense this season.
Graham isn’t the only Giants coach who was receiving interest. The Chargers reportedly requested permission from the Giants to interview offensive coordinator Jason Garrett for their vacancy. Garrett spent nine seasons as head coach of the Cowboys before he came to the Giants this season.