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Patrick Graham: “Very proud” of Lorenzo Carter’s comeback, more takeaways

Want a peek into what makes the Giants’ defensive coordinator special? His answer about Lorenzo Carter gives it.

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Lorenzo Carter (59)
Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

New York Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham had a difficult time hiding his feelings on Thursday when he was asked about edge defender Lorenzo Carter. The 2018 third-round pick is coming back after his 2020 season derailed by a torn Achilles tendon, and Graham couldn’t hold back.

“I’m not going to get emotional or anything, but like I’m very proud of his progress, to be honest with you. Very proud of his progress,” Graham said. “I think he looks like a different football player on the field. Now, we’ll see how it comes through.”

Graham had previously discussed his own “doom and gloom” personality, admitting that “I’m just hard and miserable all the time.”

So, why has Carter’s comeback affected him?

“Because you see a guy who – the stress of the, OK, potential this, potential that, all the time. Having a good season last year. I think he had, what, three sacks? Not that sacks are the end all be all, but like he was doing well and then he gets hurt,” Graham said. “He works his way through. He’s in the building all the time. We see him every day and then for him to come out on that field and he looks like a different football player to me than anything I saw in his previous three years. I’m just happy for him. I’m happy for him.

“Again, as a teacher, that’s what we do. I get it’s a business, but just like a teacher getting somebody to understand math or calculus the first time or algebra or go back to just basic arithmetic. You’re happy for that. Like, I’m very happy for these guys. They’re all still young dudes, very happy for him.”

Graham wasn’t done discussing his pride in watching his pupils develop.

“X (Oshane Ximines), same thing, he’s improving. I would say the last few weeks, really this last week, he started to take some steps in terms of the improvement. I’m just happy for these guys,” Graham said. “That’s what I mean. That’s why I do this. That’s why I do this. I don’t know where else I would get fulfillment, like I do with this coaching thing, to be able to watch these young men fulfill a childhood dream. Just again, I might be being a little dramatic right now, but that’s how I am.”

Here are more takeaways from Graham’s media availability on Thursday.

On depth at cornerback

If Adoree’ Jackson (sprained ankle) is forced to miss time at the beginning of the season, the Giants’ cornerback depth will be tested. In all honesty, that depth looked uncertain during the preseason. Graham, though, sounded excited about it.

“The beauty of it is like in terms of the people we evaluate, we’ve brought in, I feel good because we have a lot of guys that can cover. We’ve got a lot of guys that can cover. We’ve got a lot of guys that can tackle and they’re improving every day,” Graham said. “I have confidence because I know this, whoever’s down in whatever part of the season, the other team doesn’t care. We have to prepare, and we have to get those guys ready, so that’s just more preparation for the season, in my opinion. Because again, Denver’s not going to care if whoever’s not playing, they don’t care. They’re just going to play who they play.”

On Sam Beal’s rise

The fact that Beal, who opted out of last season, has played just six games since the Giants used a Supplemental Draft selection on him in 2018, and came into training camp with a gun charge hanging over his head, is part of the roster is a major surprise.

How did Beal’s rise happen?

“Just the improvement every day. I mean, just trying to get better every day. That’s what you’re looking for. Now, is he where he needs to be? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Just like I’m not where I need to be. But improvement every day, small steps, that’s what you’re looking for,” Graham said. “Now, the next thing you’ve got to work on is consistency. Can you be consistent? Again, you don’t have to be a world-beater, but can you improve every day and be consistent? Now, you build trust with the teammates and with the coaches.

“That’s what we’re looking for with a lot of our young players because remember, he didn’t play football last year, so it’s no different. I don’t know how much he played his rookie year, but it’s like he’s just starting all over again. You’ve got to get better every day, start to perform with some consistency, so you can build that trust amongst your teammates and coaches.”

On meeting edge defender Quincy Roche

This is Graham’s description of meeting Roche after the Giants claimed him off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers:

“I’ll tell you this, I’d never met him before. I’ve seen him on tape with our coaches. He almost broke my hand when he shook my hand. I said, ‘hey, that’s good, you know? (laughs)’ So, I don’t know. Maybe I’m weak? But hey, I’ve been working out, so he definitely almost broke my hand, so that was a good thing. He looks big. He looks big, he looks physical because he almost broke my hand. So, I’ll take that and then hopefully everything comes into play on the football field. I liked the tape and glad to have him here.”