If there's anyone on the Giants that knows how new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will run his defense in his first year at the helm, it's his former linebacker Blake Martinez.
During his time linebackers coach with Green Bay, Graham got to work with Martinez exclusively and you can understand why the Giants were looking to nab him in free agency this offseason. Graham only spent a year with the 26-year-old, but Martinez said their bond came immediately.
"We had that year together and we became super close, he was my inside linebacker coach," Martinez said during his introductory conference call on Monday. "For me, what made me so excited to work with him this year and the following years is how smart he is. I think he is probably the smartest coach I've ever been around."
Martinez added that preparation is key for Graham, who is very good at breaking down film on the opponent and having his players do drills during the week that would emulate much of what they'd be doing on gameday.
"We would do little drills whether it was in individual or on the side that would allow you to get those game-like reps and find advantages throughout the week that you could use on that given game," Martinez explained. "Once again, it made it that much easier to make plays and be successful in that given week."
Martinez knows Graham well on that level, but considering he worked under Mike Pettine with the Packers, he doesn't know for sure the "X's and O's," as he put it.
However, he does believe it won't be a conservative system.
"Just from understanding Pat and what he is looking for and how he put forth certain things in Coach Pettine's defense, I think it's just the aggressive nature. Everyone working together, everyone on the same page, everyone communicating. Everyone is going to know exactly where to be and what to do on every given call. There's not going to be much, if any, mental errors at all. I know he stressed that a bunch."
That last part about mental errors matches what Joe Judge has been preaching since his own introduction to everyone as the team's new head coach. It could explain why Judge brought in Graham despite his defense in Miami last season not panning out too well (a lack of talent contributed to that for sure).
Martinez figures to be the anchor in the middle of Graham's system, taking over for Alec Ogletree at that position. He said he would be trying to reach out to his teammates to build that chemistry, though it is obviously harder now being that no one is allowed in the facility.
The Giants did, however, send over an iPad to Martinez. But it isn't loaded with a playbook just yet. So all we can do for now is go off Martinez' intuition as to what this defense will look like, and that's an aggressive one with cohesion at each position.
Sounds like a good plan to me.