Welcome, Mr. Graham

Posted: November 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 31 Comments »

The Eagles today activated DE Brandon Graham.  To make room for him, G Kyle DeVan was cut.

Juqua Parker is out for Monday night due to some ankle issues.  This means Graham will get his spot on the active roster.  He will have fresh legs, but will be rusty and he’s new to the scheme.  Keep your expectations realistic.  Frankly, Parker hasn’t been all that effective since he hurt his ankle so I’m happy to add Graham, even if he is rusty.  He’s bigger than JP and quicker.  Graham doesn’t need to do anything huge.  He’ll be the backup LDE and just needs to give us good reps off the bench.

Even if Graham struggles a bit, it is important to get him on the field and going again.  Graham is an important piece heading into the future.  He needs to work through any issues he’s got to be all the way back in 2012.  Guys coming off torn ACLs can have physical and mental problems.  Sometimes the knee isn’t 100 percent and you can see how limited the player is.  Other times the knee is okay, but the player doesn’t trust it.  This was the problem for Stew Bradley last year.  He could run in space, but the second he was in traffic he became very nervous about guys hitting him low.  Stew would keep his legs away from blockers.

Every player is different.  Every injury and recovery is different.  Graham might bounce right back or he could be in for a long recovery.  The Eagles have been watching him closely, as he’s worked out all year and as he’s practice the last 2 weeks.  The team could have put Graham on IR and signed someone off the street.  Everette Brown was available until just the other day.  I’m assuming (always dangerous) that the Eagles like what they see and think Graham can contribute down the stretch.  We’ll find out starting on Monday night.

As for DeVan…expendable.  Did okay early on, but you could quickly see his limitations.  Good chance he’s not picked up.  Should the Eagles need a G in a game, they can go with Jamaal Jackson or Julian Vandervelde.  If there is an injury, we could re-sign DeVan, assuming he’s not picked up.  Worth the risk.

* * * * *


A reader or two has brought up a comparison between Shady McCoy and Gayle Sayers.  Thoughts?

There is a definite similarity in running styles.  Both guys are/were extremely elusive.  Sayers is a bit more upright, but also has better speed.  It gets tricky to really compare them because of the difference in competition.  Sayers had enough speed that when he got into the open field, he was gone.  He was so explosive as a rookie that he averaged a TD every 12 carries and also averaged 18 yards per reception.  Those are some crazy numbers.

Shady plays in an era when he’s not close to being the fastest guy on the field.  He would have another 5 TDs this year if he was just a bit faster.  Shady is good to the 2nd level, but he doesn’t have the long speed that some backs do.

What are your thoughts on Florida State LB Nigel Bradham?

Bradham has never stood out to me as a pro prospect.  They list him at 6’3, 240, but he doesn’t look that big.  Solid college player, but fails to stand out on tape when I watch him.  Okay athlete.  Okay run defender.  Occasionally makes plays.  I like a player to “flash” when I’m watching tape.  You see Kuechly make a ton of tackles.  Same for Sean Spence.  Travis Lewis is a playmaking machine.  Donta Hightower is an impact hitter and makes some plays.  Bradham has some potential, but fails to flash when you watch the FSU defense.  Base on tape, I’d say he’s a mid to late round guy.

How can you like MLB Luke Kuechly if he plays for a bad defense?

Last year BC was 16th overall and 3rd against the run.  They lost some key guys.  If Kuechly had  played on awful defenses every year, you might have a point.  The defense was above average in 2009, very good in 2010, and is bad in 2011.  That’s hardly an issue.

Where will Kuechly go in the draft?

I’ve got to stress that he’s just a Junior and there is no guarantee Luke will come out.  I think he will, but it isn’t a lock.  As for his value…the problem with Luke is that he’s a MLB.  Rolando McClain went in the Top 10.  Patrick Willis was a high pick.  Those are big, fast SEC LBs that run well, but other guys like DeMeco Ryans (also SEC, but not as big or fast) and Rey Maualuga fell to the early 2nd round.  Being a tackling machine isn’t enough to warrant a high pick in the NFL anymore.  This is a passing league now.  The focus is on guys that can cover and rush the passer.  Luke is adequate in coverage, but isn’t a cover LB.

David Harris is the last ILB I coveted.  He was taken in the 2nd round.  He and Kuechly are similar, but I think Luke is better.  It would not shock me to see Luke sneak into the late 1st round, but I don’t see him going in the Top 20.

What about Penn State DT Devon Still as an Eagles target?

I’m a big fan of his.  Still has good size at 6’5, 305.  Quick off the ball.  Very productive this year.  Already has 15.5 TFLs.  I am not sure what his value is.  It is easy to guess the 1st round, but we’ve seen plenty of good PSU DTs over the years.  Some go early, some don’t.  I would love for the Eagles to add a guy like Still.  He has a great frame and has the quickness to fit in our system.  Would I want him in the 1st round?  That I’m not so sure about.  As Sam pointed out recently, one of the reasons you hire a guy like Jim Washburn is so that you can draft guys in the middle rounds and he can develop them.

I’m all for adding an impact DT, but don’t know if Still fits that category at this point.  He’s playing as well as any college DT right now, but that is worlds different from projecting him to the NFL.

Talk about the adjustments to the Wide-9.

Both Dallas and the Skins used a lot of 2 TE sets.  That can be awkward vs the W-9.  You suddenly have 7 blockers to go against the DTs and LBs (assuming the offense is willing to not block the DE on some plays).  The Eagles have responded by bringing one DE in over a TE.  This helps to limit the amount of guys who can get to the 2nd level.

The Eagles also had the LBs take a step closer to the LOS.  One of the problems the team had previously was the LBs over-pursuing and getting out of their gaps.  When they line up closer to the ball, there is less room to run and the LBs are less likely to get out of their gaps (although Moise Fokou does try).

I’ve mentioned it a lot, but the improved play by the DTs in recent weeks has been crucial.  I don’t think there are any adjustments with them.  They’re just getting off blocks and being disruptive.

The Eagles still mostly work out of the Wide-9.

When will NC State LB Audie Cole be drafted?

I see him as a mid-round target.  Great frame.  Has some coverage ability.  Solid athlete.  Would be an ideal SAM for the JJ system.  I’m not sure if he’s what Juan Castillo is looking for.  Castillo talked about wanting an athletic guy at SAM.  Cole is big and moves okay, but isn’t close to being an athletic standout.

Any chance of contract extensions?

The Eagles want DeSean Jackson signed long term.  That’s just proven to be a tricky negotiation.  I hope something gets done.  LeSean McCoy will be a focus in the offseason.  Evan Mathis can’t be extended because he’s here on a 1-year deal.  He can agree to a deal with the Eagles, but can’t sign anything until March.  DRC will also be a key guy to work on in the offseason.

What about Juan’s future?

I think we really need to see how things play out to make a good decision.  The one key to all of this is that you need to have someone else in mind if you do fire Castillo.  The one DC I covet is Mike Zimmer from the Bengals.  Beyond him, there isn’t one guy that I’m enamored with.

You fire Juan if you think he’s incompetent or there is a better replacement available.  I think Juan has shown that he’s not incompetent.  I have no idea if there is another coach out there that Andy Reid has interest in.  Maybe the ideal scenario would be for the Rams to fire Steve Spagnuolo.  We could hire him to be a Defensive Assistant/Assistant to the Head Coach.  He could then help with the defense and possibly be groomed to take over as HC after Big Red.

Dick Jauron and his Cleveland defense have posted better numbers than the Eagles.

Look at who they have faced:  CIN, IND, MIA, TEN, OAK, SEA, SF.  Matt Hasselbeck is the only legit QB in that group.  Stats can be very deceiving.

31 Comments on “Welcome, Mr. Graham”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 5:28 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    Someone asked me about YAC vs RAC.

    YAC = Yards After Catch
    RAC = Run After Catch

    I use RAC when talking about guys getting yards after the catch. You don’t say YAC yards (Yards After Catch yards?). I say RAC yards. I do know about the phrase YAC. If you go to stats sites they’ll list YAC as a category and they should. Makes complete sense in that setting.

    That can also be used in regard to RBs as Yards After Contact.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 5:38 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    I bet we’re all disappointed Page wasn’t cut. Anyway, had Parker not been hurt do you think we would have waited a week to activate Graham?

    On the note about Washburn and high draft picks, doesn’t the fact that we rotate our guys so much make it more of a waste? (It’s a very bad choice of word but I hope you catch my drift)

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 5:48 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    That is a good point about the rotation. I think you take an impact DT if he’s available, but he better be the right guy. If not, get a mid-rounder and add him to the mix.

    If JP was healthy I’m sure Reid would have waited as long as possible to make a move with Graham. Brandon could practice so in essence he was part of the team, just inactive on gameday.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 5:48 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    RE: Kuechly

    The really relevant question is will be be available at the 32nd pick overall.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 6:03 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    I like the optimism, but a few heads probably just exploded.

  6. 6 Morton said at 10:23 AM on November 6th, 2011:

    Reality CHECK! We’re three and four!

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 6:20 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    So, you think we are going to trade down with Green Bay?

  8. 8 Deshawn Bentley said at 5:58 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    So what position will we be targeting with our 1st round pick? If LB’s aren’t the commodity say a CB or DE was, will we trade out of the 1st…Or possibly take another Lineman?

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 6:03 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    I really don’t know.

    Really, you have to think player as much as position in the 1st round. The goal is to get someone who is a big time talent that can really help the team.

    Still early for trying to figure out who might be available…as well as where we’ll be picking.

  10. 10 Morton said at 10:25 AM on November 6th, 2011:

    I’d focus on a premium position such as DT or CB with the first rounder, and then snag one of the falling OLB/MLB prospects with the Cardinals’ second rounder.

  11. 11 Cliff Hall said at 5:59 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    I think it’s crazy to even be talking about the Draft. LOL.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 6:04 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    The game being on Monday has thrown off the schedule all week.

    Monday will be Bears day.

  13. 13 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 6:14 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    I love talking about the draft ALL year long! I know it’s crazy, but I find it one of the most exciting things in all pro sports!

  14. 14 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 6:07 PM on November 5th, 2011:


    What would your focal points be with our first 3 picks in 2012 (assuming we don’t trade)? Would you pick Kuechly in the 1st, or hope that he drops to the 2nd where we can pick him up with our early 2nd?

    If you do that, who or what position, would you draft in the 1st? Zack Brown? The best DE/DT available?

    I love that you always pick apart those who only rely on statistics! Cleveland has an okay DEF, but they are certanly not better than we are! Well, maybe in the RZ 🙂

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 7:04 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    The positions that stick out are OLB, MLB, and DT. We need LB help. DT is because Patt and Cujo are older. Laws will be UFA (I think). Thornton is project. Not sure what to expect from him.

  16. 16 Steve H said at 1:15 AM on November 6th, 2011:

    I will be shocked if we don’t go for an LB in the first couple rounds this year. If it isn’t painfully obvious by now that we’re in need of some talent infusion at that position, well, I guess we’re all just going to have to live with a crappy linebacking core.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 8:03 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    Kiper actually has Kuechly as his top rated LB, but so much can happen between now and the draft it’s hard to really predict where someone will go this early.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 8:13 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    Be careful with Mel. Sometimes he does his rankings oddly just to spark conversation…the kind of stuff that ESPN loves. I doubt that’s the case here, but keep that in mind as you read his stuff.

  19. 19 Matthew Verhoog said at 9:30 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    You just sparked my imagination with your talk about Steve Spagnuolo , Any chance that Andy thinks/thought of Juan as the future Eagles head coach when he gave him the DC job?

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 9:42 PM on November 5th, 2011:

    I doubt that. Juan is a terrific assistant coach, but I’m not sure he has what it takes to run an NFL team. You have to be a CEO as much as a football guy. Don’t think of Juan in that way. He’s a football guy.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 8:57 AM on November 6th, 2011:

    I also thought about this when Andy made the move. Obviously, Juan is a minority. To satisfy the Rooney rule, I would assume that he’s gonna get quite a few interviews.

    I wonder if this is Andy’s way of giving him a shot to get a HC job quickly with the idea of bringing in a guy like Spags or Trgovac (I believe I read that he’s waiting for his kid to graduate before entertaining offers away from GB).

  22. 22 Geoffrey said at 7:33 AM on November 6th, 2011:

    What about Trent Cole? Isn’t his contract up this year or next? If so how does that play in to all these extensions etc? Surprised no one is talking about this, unless I’m wrong on when his contract is up. I thnnk in alot of ways he’s as important to sign as some of these other guys like Jackson.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 9:50 AM on November 6th, 2011:


    Regarding Alabama’s No. 30 — Highsmith — I think you mentioned him in a recent post/comment.

    He’s certainly big. But, as an MLB in a 4-3 defense, he doesn’t seem to have the sideline-to-sideline speed you’d want. Like Ehrlacher had coming out of college.

    But he sure looks like he’d do serious damage in a 3-4 defense . . . like a Lamar Woodley.

    Is Highsmith another Brandon Graham-type? That is, a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE.


    Who’s the CB wearing #17 on LSU? Big body. Big hitter.

    And #1 on LSU who made the “steal” on ‘bama’s flea flicker . . . absolutely great football instincts. Who is he and what’s your back-of-the-envelope projection. (By the way, on that flea flicker, I don’t understand why Alabama would design a play that has the off-side slot receiver running his defender directly toward the intended receiver. Either bad play design. Or the slot receiver ran the wrong route.)

  24. 24 Morton said at 10:24 AM on November 6th, 2011:

    #17 is Morris Claiborne, who is a top-10 lock in the 2012 draft.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 11:15 AM on November 6th, 2011:


  26. 26 Morton said at 10:19 AM on November 6th, 2011:

    Re: Jim Washburn conducive to development of later-round players –

    “As Sam pointed out recently, one of the reasons you hire a guy like Jim Washburn is so that you can draft guys in the middle rounds and he can develop them.”

    Or you hire Jim Washburn to allow you to draft talented prospects in the first round and develop them into game-changing monsters. The 2008 Titans defense was the top defense in the league due in no small part to the presence of first-round pick Albert Haynesworth playing out of his mind on the interior of the defense. That performance represents the marriage of high level, premium physical talent (Haynesworth’s first round pedigree) and Washburn’s perfectly suited coaching style and schematic specificity.

    If you can snag Still in the first round and, under the tutelage of Washburn, turn him into another Haynesworth, then you have yourself a top-3 defense in a year or two. It’s worth taking a chance on that kind of end-game scenario by using a first-rounder on Still, imho.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 12:48 PM on November 6th, 2011:

    Still isn’t Haynesworth…not even close. I’m a big Devon Still fan, but you’re turning him into this elite prospect that I don’t think he is.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 11:22 AM on November 6th, 2011:


    Since we’ve drifted into some draft discussions . . . DE will again be a “need” position — no less than DT if age is the barometer.

    Trent Cole will be 30. Babin will be 32 next year. Parker’ll be 34 (and gone, probably). That’s three of the top 5 DEs over 30.

    Tapp will be 28. Hunt’ll be 26. Graham is the baby at 24 next year.


  29. 29 Anders Jensen said at 12:14 PM on November 6th, 2011:

    We will properly take a DE somewhere in the draft and might also take a DT

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 12:47 PM on November 6th, 2011:

    DE will be a mid-round target. Graham and Hunt are young. Tapp is in his prime. We’ll see how Te’o comes along. He’s on the PS this year and might make a roster push next summer.

  31. 31 Anders Jensen said at 12:59 PM on November 6th, 2011:

    Both Teo and Graham should be very good in Washburns system as they both have that endless motor