The Giants’ defensive coordinator search has quickly shifted into high gear after hopes of not having to deal with it at all. But the surprise departure of Patrick Graham on Friday for the Las Vegas Raiders has forced Big Blue to start yet another search for a prominent coaching role.
Graham has worked alongside new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels in the past when they both were a part of Bill Belichick’s staff with the New England Patriots. It was too strong a temptation despite having a working history with new Giants head coach, Brian Daboll, as well.
“Selfishly, I would like him to be here,” Daboll said during his introductory press conference last week. “I think he’d be a great support system for me.”
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Yet the Giants have already interviewed at least four candidates for the suddenly-vacant position over the weekend: Jim Schwartz, Teryl Austin, Wink Martindale, and Sean Desai.
[ALSO READ: Giants to hire Mike Kafka as offensive coordinator]
Those names immediately suggest the Giants are looking for a more experienced defensive coordinator to take the reins on a staff that features a first-time head coach in Daboll and a first-time offensive coordinator in Mike Kafka.
Schwartz has done well to erase a disastrous spell as Detroit Lions head coach and get consideration for top defensive coordinator jobs in the league. He worked with the Philadelphia Eagles between 2016-2020, helping them win Super Bowl LII over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. He spent the 2021 season with the Tennessee Titans as an assistant — the same organization he got his first-ever defensive-coordinator role with from 2001-2008.
Austin is the assistant defensive and secondary coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers after a stretch leading the defenses of some of the NFL’s worst teams. He was the Detroit Lions defensive coordinator from 2014-2017 before spending one season at the same position with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Martindale is one of the more appealing names on the Giants’ initial list having spent the last four seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Despite leading one of the NFL’s top-ranked defenses in his first three years, Martindale and Baltimore parted ways following this season after regressing in 2021.
Desai has been with the Chicago Bears for the last eight years but 2021 was first as the team’s defensive coordinator, with mixed results. The Bears ranked sixth-best in yards allowed but yielded the 11th-most points in the league.