Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Dan Benton

11 defensive coordinator candidates Giants could consider

Wink Martindale resigned as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator on Monday after just two seasons with the team. It was a rather unceremonious end that was handled poorly by both sides.

The departure of Martindale now thrusts the Giants into a defensive coordinator search for the second time in three years.

General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll are expected to get to work immediately but before they do, here’s a look at 11 potential candidates.

Note: Some of these candidates may currently be employed with other teams and would require termination (or resignation) before joining the Giants.

Leslie Frazier

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Leslie Frazier and Daboll have a history dating back to their time in Buffalo. Frazier was the DC while Daboll was the OC and the two share a mutual respect. Even if Frazier isn’t hired, it’s a near guarantee that he gets an interview.

Antonio Pierce

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If Antonio Pierce is not hired as the full-time head coach in Las Vegas, he’ll be an interesting name to watch on the open market. He may generate other head coaching interest but the allure of coaching the Giants’ defense might also be there. He’s a Raider by heart but his career history with the Giants is something that will work in their favor.

Jerome Henderson

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

If the Giants are to keep things in-house, their best option might be defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson. Although he has no coordinator history, he has nearly two decades of experience as an assistant, is one of the best in the business at his current position, and has the respect of the entire locker room.

Andre Patterson

AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

Another potential in-house option for the Giants is defensive line coach Andre Patterson. He’s another man who commands respect in the locker room and is at the top of the food chain in his current position. He also has some moderate experience as a DC, having served as the Minnesota Vikings co-defensive coordinator (non-play caller) in 2020-2021.

Patrick Graham

AP Photo/Rich Schultz

Patrick Graham did not leave the Giants on the best of terms but he does have a history with Daboll. In fact, Graham was Daboll’s initial DC choice in 2022 but he opted to depart for the Raiders instead. Could a reunion possibly be on tap?

Matt Patricia

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Giants fans would hate it but Matt Patricia is an option given his past with Daboll. The two have a long history and Patricia has been of interest to the Giants organization previously. His ugly stint with the Detroit Lions and his most recent failures with the Patriots (and even the Eagles, for that matter) certainly leave a bad taste, but don’t be surprised if Patricia gets an interview.

Sean Desai

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

When Daboll was evaluating defensive coordinator candidates in 2022, there were three apparent finalists: Martindale, who got the job, Graham, who wanted no part of the job, and Sean Desai. The problem for Desai is that his reputation took a hit this past season after having play-calling duties stripped as the Eagles’ defense crumbled.

Jim Leonhard


Jim Leonhard drew interest from several teams as a potential defensive coordinator last season. He ran the defense at Wisconsin before becoming their interim head coach in 2022 and later moving on to Illinois where he served as their senior football analyst. He has never coached at the NFL level but has plenty of league experience after 10 seasons as a player. Rex Ryan is one of his biggest supporters. Take that however you’d like.

Kris Richard

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Richard didn’t coach in 2023 but has plenty of experience in that role, serving as the defensive coordinator or co-defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. He can also relate to the players as a third-round pick in 2002 who played for six seasons.

Al Holcomb

NFL via Getty Images

Although Al Holcomb has never crossed career paths with Daboll, the two have worked in similar circles. Currently, Holcomb, who was with the Giants from 2009-2012, serves as the senior defensive assistant in Buffalo. That’s a well Joe Schoen and Daboll likes to tap.

Ron Rivera

Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

This one may be too far out in left field but Ron Rivera is on the open market now and has plenty of experience as a defensive coordinator and within the NFC East. He’s a two-time Coach of the Year and may want to stick it to Washington. No? Probably not but it’s the NFL and strange things happen.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.