After making the New York Giants' defense a lot better last season, coordinator Pat Graham made himself a lot better.
The 42-year-old spent the offseason trimming down and the results were obvious on Wednesday when Graham spoke to the media before the second day of a mandatory minicamp.
Graham did not say, nor was he asked, how much weight he lost, but the difference was there for all to see.
He laughed when asked if he was on a health kick.
“That was my heaviest at the end of last year in my whole life, so I had to look in the mirror and get that thing fixed,” Graham said, adding that the training and nutrition staff helped a lot.
Graham said he also wanted to lose the weight for his players.
“Just trying to show some discipline for a change outside of the office," he said. ”Show some discipline sitting at a table a little bit. Be a good example for the players."
Graham was asked to interview for the Jets' head coaching job after last season but turned down the offer. He said he was happy with his current job. In the future that might change.
“I love coaching football,” said Graham, whose defense was ranked 12th in yards surrendered. “I love being a teacher that happens to teach football. You know, everybody in their profession likes a natural progression. If it comes up one day, it comes up one day. But is it the focus of my life? Absolutely not.”
New York was ranked 25th in yards allowed in 2019, Pat Shurmur's last season as head coach.
Offensive lineman Nate Solder is thrilled to be back with the Giants after sitting out last year because of family concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
He and his son have dealt with cancer, and the family had a newborn in the home. After talking it over with his wife, they decided he would return.
Solder was the starting left tackle before leaving. First-round draft pick Andrew Thomas had the job last year and now Solder will compete with second-year player Matt Peart and others for the starting job at right tackle.
“Who cares who starts,” Solder said Wednesday. “I just want to be a part of an excellent group that’s getting better every day that plays at a really high level. I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some great O-lines, and ... nobody cares who is starting and who is not starting because we’re all part of the team.” ___
Special Team coordinator Thomas McGaughey is going to have to make some decisions regarding his punt returner this season.
Safety Jabrill Peppers averaged 12.5 yards on 15 punt returns last season and was threat. Top draft pick Kadarius Toney had similar statistics at Florida last season and returned a punt for a touchdown. Free agent cornerback Adoree Jackson also is a punt returner.
Peppers and Jackson are expected to be starters on defense. Toney's role with the offense is less certain.
“Kadarius, you guys saw him on tape,” McGaughey said. “He is what he is. He’s electric. He can do some things. But right now he just has to get in here with all the rest of the rookies and get acclimated to what we do and how we do it.”
Peppers said the competition for the job will be good, and he doesn't mind the added responsibility.
“I am willing to do whatever to help the team win. That’s my main focus,” he said.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL