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Head Coach Search: 5 Things to Know About Raiders DC Patrick Graham

Graham 5 Things

The Chargers on Thursday confirmed they have interviewed Patrick Graham for their head coach position.

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Here are five things to know about Graham:

1. He knows the AFC West

Graham is currently the defensive coordinator of the Raiders and has held the position for two seasons.

The defensive playcaller in Las Vegas just finished up an impressive back half of the season in 2023 after organizational changes.

The team finished the year 5-4 after the changes, with Graham's unit leading the way.

Graham's defense finished the season ninth in points allowed per game (19.5), marking the first time the team finished in the Top 10 since 2002. They were also eighth in defensive DVOA (-4.6 percent) and scored five defensive touchdowns.

Graham's first season as the playcaller in Vegas was one where he oversaw a young defense.

He was a big help to defensive end Maxx Crosby, who was named to his second career Pro Bowl in 2022. Under Graham, Crosby set new career-highs in tackles (88), tackles for loss (22) and sacks (12.5) that season.

2. A veteran DC

The longtime defensive coordinator has plenty of NFL experience in that role.

His first year as a DC came in 2019 with Miami, where he worked with then-head coach Brian Flores for a season. He would then make the switch to New York and join the Giants in the same role (while also adding the title of Assistant Head Coach) for two seasons.

The Giants defense set a franchise record with 40 sacks in 2020. Both the pass defense and rush defense showed massive strides and jumped from near the bottom of the league the year prior to top half of the NFL under Graham.

The Giants defense was effective against the pass again in 2021 under Graham and held teams to just 225.8 passing yards per game to go along with 15 interceptions.

The Chargers on Thursday confirmed they have interviewed Patrick Graham for their head coach position.

3. Super Bowl Champion

Graham's first big opportunity in the NFL came in New England in 2009. Graham would hold various roles with the Patriots until 2015.

He started off as a coaching assistant before moving to a defensive assistant the following season. Graham then became New England's linebackers coach before switching to the defensive line. He returned to coach the linebackers from 2014 to 2015.

Graham's best work in 2014 when linebackers Jerod Mayo and Don't'a Hightower missed extended time.

New England's defense still finished the season eighth in points allowed (19.6) and ninth in rushing yards allowed (104.3) on the way to a Super Bowl win over Seattle.

The Patriots won the AFC East title in all seven seasons with Graham and also added a pair of conference titles and a victory in Super Bowl XLIX.

4. Beginning in the college ranks

It's been a long coaching career for Graham, who worked his way up the collegiate level before getting to the NFL.

His first role was as a graduate assistant at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. He held a lot of different roles and responsibilities at the college all while pursuing his MBA with a concentration in finance.

Graham later continued his career as a defensive line coach at the University of Richmond one season.

He would even make the switch to the offensive side of the ball at Richmond and coach the tight ends in 2005 and 2006. He then joined Notre Dame as a graduate assistant in 2007 and 2008 before making the jump to the Patriots.

5. Ivy League student-athlete

Graham has had success on the football field as a player as well.

The Yale product was a defensive lineman for the Bulldogs and was on the team that shared the Ivy League title with Brown University after going 9-1 in 1999.

Graham graduated from Yale with a bachelor's degree in sociology with a concentration in economics and African American studies.

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