Graham, Curry Continue To Wait Patiently

One of Todd Bowles’ primary goals for the defense will be to free up the pass rush.

You know the numbers by now, but in case you need a refresher: the Eagles tied for the league-lead with 50 sacks last season. This year, they have seven. Only the Jaguars (five) have fewer.

From what we gathered in the locker room, though, it sounds like Bowles’ changes will have more to do with scheme than personnel. That means don’t expect an expanded role for Brandon Graham, or a role at all for Vinny Curry - for now.

“I’m going to get there,” Graham said. “If I haven’t deserved it yet, shoot, I’m going to keep working. Once things open up and I start making a little more plays and putting stuff on paper, I think I’ll get a little more time.”

Graham has played 18.6 percent of the defensive snaps this season, according to Pro Football Focus. But when he’s playing, he’s producing. Graham has half-a-sack and 13 hurries. Those numbers come on just 44 opportunities to rush the passer (further details here).

“It’s frustrating because times like the fourth quarter, when you want to be out there and you know that you could be that guy to make a play, you want to be out there,” Graham said. “It’s frustrating sitting on the sideline towards the end of the game, not being able to be in on that last drive and showing what you can do in that time, that moment.”

Sidenote: To be fair, the question that prompted the response was in the vein of: As a competitor, you have to be a little frustrated, right? It’s not as if Graham was just sounding off.

One way to get him on the field more would be to have Graham play inside in pass-rushing situations, something he did as a rookie. The Eagles haven’t been getting much pass-rushing production from their current foursome of defensive tackles.

“I wouldn’t mind it,” Graham said, adding though that he’s not getting reps as an inside pass-rusher yet. “I’m trying to get in as much as I can.”

Meanwhile, Graham’s teammate, Vinny Curry, continues to wait patiently. The second-round pick has yet to be active for a game this season

“They [the coaches] said it’s just a numbers game – just so many defensive ends here,” Curry said. “So definitely not my ability to play. That’s always good to hear coming from them.”

The Eagles keep five defensive ends active on gamedays – Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Graham, Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt. But none of them have missed a game all season, so Curry has yet to get a shot. The Eagles could cut into Tapp or Hunt’s playing time, but the rookie doesn’t sound like he’s expecting that to happen right now.

“I have no idea,” Curry said, when asked when he might get a chance to play. “All I can say is if it’s this season, I’ll just go out there and give it my all. If not, next year, I’ve just got to work in the offseason and try to get better.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

  • The Guru

    Absolutely brilliant to waste a 2nd round pick on a guy who can’t even dress….I guess we didn’t need OL help, or a TE who could block, or a safety. Curry very well might be a player down the line, but 2nd round picks are supposed to step in and play a role. Remind me why Darryl Tapp or Hunt dresses again?

    • BlindChow

      I’m actually impressed they took the best available player on their board, as opposed to reaching in the 2nd round for a position of need.

    • theycallmerob

      i agree BlindChow…best player available. Unfortunately, the pick-for-need gets us guys like Teo’sheim (?), McDougle, Laws, and Jarrett (!). this draft was deep at D-Line, I’m glad the eagles took advantage of that. DE and DT of future, at aging positions

      • The Guru

        Have you watched Demetrius Bell and King Dunlap play? Yeah I win that argument

        • KBradley

          You seem so sure that a rookie OL would perform better than those guys. I would much rather have a definite impact player in Curry compared to us reaching for an OL that might not pan out.

          • The Guru

            What impact? He can’t even dress!

    • peteike

      guess you didnt see Hunt killing it in the preseason. At this point however maybe youre right but theres a reason those guys start and the others dont. Just a hind sight comment anyway. Im more upset they let some good players go and are so thin at backup. Austin Howard would be a nice fit now. Dunlap is a total stiff

      • The Guru

        I saw Hunt in the preseason….killing it against backups. He can’t sniff the QB playing against starters. Waste of a roster spot

        • Peteike

          D line is least of our concerns even w/o sack numbers they are still one of the better units on this team. Stats mean little, its pressure that matters. O line and QB on the other hand, they need replacing.

  • Docboy

    They should play hunt as an 3-4 / 4-3 outside linebacker on passing situation… That way you have ur 4 down lineman, and Ryan, Kendricks, and hunt… It’s also a 5-2 look too… That should put some pressure on the QB..

    • johnGiam

      thats actually a really good idea. I would take either Hunt or graham in that role. Good stuff!

  • Zachary Kahn

    Way I see it, no use keeping young talent on the bench in favour of veteran guys who aren’t producing. It was fine when those guys were playing better (Tapp, Jenkins, Hunt) but now I think its time to let Curry and especially BG have more opportunities. A lot more upside there.

    • UncleCarm

      My thoughts exactly Zach. What is the harm in trying? Another game with no sacks?

  • Johngiam

    Love the way Vinny curry is handleing this. Not alot of 2nd round picks would handle this situation as well as he has. I guess thats when you Draft a kid who has bleeded eagles green his entire life like the rest of us fans. All i know, is if they every plan on giving him a snap to see what he can do, it needs to be at home. Can you imagine how inspired any of us fans would be to put on the eagles game jersey, step onto the linc turf under the bright lights for the 1st time? You know the first time he steps onto the linc turf that he will play like a madman! Props to this kid. Love his attitude, love his ability and I love his homegrown HATRED for the rest of the division. As for B-grizzle, time to UNLEASH him. i like his attitude, I can tell he has put in the work, and I really like the way he is moving out there. He has earned a bigger role. Time to see what he can do. As for Fletch, he plays the least sexy position on the defense, a position that you cant really measure on the stat sheet. but if you go back and watch all the eagles games a 2nd time, and just focus on watching him, you will see that he is doing a helluva job and is already our best D-tackle, but I want to see him getting more looks at Dend. after this year, I want to cut all the Dtackles, and just keep Fletch, Landri and thorton…and I want them to draft another stud tackle to pair with Fletch and solidify the future of that position, or sign a top free agent tackle if there is a great one that can be paired with fletch on the market…Im already tired of watching Coleman bite on every single play action. Great back up, inadequate starter. Get me a Thumper who isnt a liability in coverage to pair with Nate… I know that we play a ton of nickle in todays nfl, but we are 20million dollars under the damn cap. Just get me a damn above average Wil linebacker to solidify that position once and for all. Im tired of this organization not respecting the game and devaluing certain positions. When the hell will they realize that every single position can makle an impact on this game?
    and finally…How many years is it going to take for this organization to realize that Djax is a SLOT reciever?!?! any idea the damage his speed can do from the slot, where he can be covered behind a TE and not get Jammed at the line of scrimmage? How dont they see it? have they ever watched tape on Victor Cruz? I mean we play against him twice a year…SMH

    • Tracer Bullet

      Victor Cruz: 6-foot-0, 204 lbs

      DeSean Jackson: 5-foot-10, 175 lbs

      • UncleCarm

        Wes Welker: 5-foot-9, 185 lbs, leading the league in receptions. Some slot looks with Jackson could be a good move, and it might throw off that deep cap they use against him.

      • johnGiam

        what in the world does the two inches in height that victor cruz has over jax have to do with anything? last I checked,cruz is always WIDE OPEN….not to mention, do you realize what 2 inches is? its less then the size of your thumb. Eddie Griffin was a dear friend of mine and teamate..and I remember when we played Dematha and the 2 7footers that we had. Goin into the game, I asked the 6’10 griffin if he was worried about playing against 7footers, Ed said its 2 inches, who cares, then held up his thumb, and said if two miniscule inches keep me from beating my man, then I dont deserve to win….neiter cruz or Djax will OUT jump ANYONE…so Im not really sure what the point of your response was

        • Tracer Bullet

          Yes, let us not bear in mind that Cruz is 20 pounds heavier or that Jackson does not catch the ball well in traffic or that he doesn’t have the strength to fight for position or muscle passes away from defenders or that putting him in the slot regularly exposes him to headhunting linebackers. Focus, instead, on his height (and don’t consider that Vick already struggles to hit the 6-foot-5 Celek in the middle of the field). If Victor Cruz who is, again, bigger, taller and stronger, can succeed in the slot for a team that runs an entirely different offense, surely Jackson can too. I bow to your superior football knowledge and ability to name-drop basketball players.

          • johngiam

            no one is talking about making him a permanent slot! But, he does need to see time in the slot, for cross paterns, and going deep…so that defenders cant jam him. How could you not have never situationaly put him in the slot were you can cover him with a TE, making him impossible to jam? How about some simple ingenuity? no? you prefer the same stale ol garbage?

          • http://twitter.com/EaglesScout73 Brush

            and we mention wr’s in an article about DE’s because???

  • Roasty

    I hope/think that Graham will take over for Babin with the starting role. Babin had a good year last year only because he was getting tons of 1 on 1s b/c of Trent Cole. He isn’t good enough to beat the chips and an double teams and is a constant liability in the run game. Babin is Washburns little diamond in the ruff that he groomed in Tennessee but he needs to let it go and play the most productive players

    • http://twitter.com/EaglesScout73 Brush

      little diamond in the rough? He was a 1st round pick, not really a diamond in the rough, but someone who never lived up to expectations till Washburn got it out of him, but now he’s back to his old ways

  • theycallmerob

    thanks as always Sheil…insight and direct-response reporting, yet with a smack of editorial fact-checking to dissuade incorrect opinions from forming.
    you and Tim seems to read our minds as fans, and then go out and get honest answers. brilliant