EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brian Daboll has a key piece in mind as he takes over as New York Giants head coach. He's hoping to have Patrick Graham as his defensive coordinator, if Graham doesn't get the Minnesota Vikings' head-coach job.
Graham spent these past two seasons as the Giants' defensive coordinator under Joe Judge. He has a working relationship with Daboll from their time together (2013-15) with the New England Patriots.
"I've had a good relationship with Pat for some time in this league," Daboll said. "Very diligent. He's smart. I think then players respect him. He understands different defenses, and I have a good working relationship with him. I did when I was back in New England."
It looks likely they will have an opportunity to work together again. Graham interviewed with the Vikings over the weekend, but he does not have a second interview scheduled right now.
The Giants' defense was ranked 12th in the NFL in 2020 under Graham. It was 21st this past season.
Graham is held in high regard by the Giants' organization. He interviewed for its head-coaching position as well.
His return as the defensive coordinator would be well received.
"That is very important," co-owner John Mara said. "He's very well-respected in this building. The players have a lot of respect for him. As do I. He's a terrific defensive coordinator.
"For his own sake, I hope he gets a head-coaching job, but selfishly we'd be very happy if he stayed."
Daboll himself is an offensive mind, having called plays the past five years at Alabama in 2017 when it won the national championship and since joining Buffalo in 2018. The Bills had a top-five offense the past two seasons. Daboll's success leaves some uncertainty about who will call the offensive plays with the Giants.
"I'm not going to rule that out if he is or he isn't [calling plays] right now," said new general manager Joe Schoen, who also came over after four years in Buffalo. "We don't have an offensive coordinator. I mean if for some reason he had to ... Ideally, he doesn't. I'd prefer he manages the game.
"But, again, as we continue to interview offensive coordinator candidates, we're going to wait and see how that plays out. Ideally, the offensive coordinator calls plays. But I'm not going to say that is set in stone. We're going to let Brian make that decision."
Schoen has said the Giants have interviewed numerous offensive coordinator candidates. One name that has been mentioned is Bills quarterback coach Ken Dorsey. Sources believe he is a strong option to come along with Daboll and call plays.
Until then, the offensive playcalling situation remains in question.
"I think that is a work in progress too," Daboll said. "We'll see who the offensive coordinator is, the rest of the staff is. Then we'll talk about that as we get going through OTAs and minicamps. But it will be important. That offensive coordinator position will be important for us."