Patrick Graham didn’t mince words.
After the Giants allowed 515 yards – the single-game high since 2015 – and seven scoring drives against the Cowboys in a 44-20 loss, the defensive coordinator changed his weekly tune from quieting alarms to a now-or-never sense of urgency.
“In terms of the yardage given up and the loss of the game, it’s unacceptable. Period,” Graham said. “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.”
With high expectations coming into the season, the Giants rank No. 29 in total defense, No. 27 in rushing defense, No. 26 in total defense and No. 22 in passing defense. The Rams are bringing the No. 2-ranked offense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, to MetLife Stadium on Monday.
“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.
The answer: Everything.
Unlike an injury-plagued offense, the Giants have most of their highly paid key pieces in place, with the exception of inside linebacker Blake Martinez (torn ACL). After enjoying career-years, defensive lineman Leonard Williams, cornerback James Bradberry, safety Jabrill Peppers, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and others have crashed back to reality.
“After a performance like that, and now you’ve got the Rams coming in here,” Graham said, “we’re going to find out [what we’re made of]. I mean, we’re going to find out. 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.”