He has been largely stuck in neutral since being taken with the 13th overall pick back in 2010. The Michigan product has watched some of his peers from that draft class take off to reach All-Pro heights. It is his belief that he will still reach that level. But it hasn’t shaken out for Graham thus far. He had multiple injuries early; underwent microfracture surgery and had his ACL repaired. He has played under four different defensive coordinators (Sean McDermott, Juan Castillo, Todd Bowles, Billy Davis) in as many years, and has simply been unable to capture the form that made him one of the premiere college players in the country.
Where is his frustration level at the moment?
“It’s almost at a 10,” Graham admitted. “People always throw out the Earl Thomas‘, the [Jason] Pierre-Paul’s and who we could of had and why do they have me. But at the same time, man, I just can’t wait to do that, I can’t wait to be a Pro Bowler like I know I can. I can’t wait to shut everybody up. That will be a big relief to me.
“When I wake up I got it set on my phone: ‘Be great.’ And I’m really trying to learn how to be great. That’s coming in early, trying to be the first one in here. I definitely put my work in, just chipping away, waiting. Waiting. I’m excited though, man, I think I’ll be getting my shot pretty soon.”
Graham was a pretty potent pass rusher last season. He was the co-sack leader on the team (5.5) and amassed 31 hurries despite being on the field just 40 percent of the time, per Pro Football Focus. This season he has moved to outside linebacker in Davis’ 3-4 scheme. He is playing only 25 percent of snaps now, and is credited with one sack and three hurries.
Graham said the most difficult part of the transition has been learning to drop into coverage, but feels he has come a long way in that area.
“Trying to do all the right stuff, just coming in early, getting stuff done and just waiting on my opportunity, whenever that comes. Whatever my role is on this team, I’ll do it to my fullest,” he said.
“It’s tough. It’s definitely tough because I know what I can do. It’s going to be my time next year for sure.”
And will that be here?
“I think so,” said Graham. “I hope so.”
Eagles fans give home team the road treatment
With the team struggling at home (0-4) and thriving on the road (5-1), Chip Kelly joked that he might just have the buses drive around for a half-hour to simulate an away game this week.
He can count on the fans giving his club the road-team treatment when they finally do pull up to the Linc to complete the experience.
“Sometimes it’s like a road game coming in because our fans don’t really know if we’re the visiting team or home team because we ride a bus in, too,” said Evan Mathis. “Sometimes we’re greeted by our own fans.”
“Uh, they’re telling us we’re number one, with sign language,” he said with a grin. “We’re wearing these shirts [Eagles tees] and we kind of go like this (push the logo up to the window) and they’re like, “Oh, it’s the Eagles. Oh, hey.”
Never really thought about that before, but it makes sense. The buses are unmarked. How would the fans know whether it’s ally or enemy on board? Might as well be safe and assume it’s the enemy, right?
“We see the middle fingers, everything,” said Trent Cole. “All of a sudden someone gets a glimpse [of an Eagles player] and you see their face just change. Like ‘[Gasp], it’s the Eagles! That’s our home team.’ ”
Visiting players and coaches have long told stories of the type of abuse they have taken in Philly, including during their bus rides in. According to the players we talked to, the Eagles bus hasn’t had anything thrown at it to date. Of course, if the 10-game home losing streak goes much longer, that could change.
McCoy’s top 5 RBs
LeSean McCoy took his assignment seriously.
He was asked to name the top 5 running backs in the league right now, and wasn’t about to just start rattling names off the top of his head. He needed to do some research, and so he brought up ESPN.com on his phone and began going through the numbers.
“I’m not even going to tell you the first name I see,” said McCoy, shooting up a playful glance. The 25-year-old leads the league in rushing with 932 yards – 61 yards more than his closest competitor, Marshawn Lynch.
“I have the most carries out of everybody, though,” McCoy added, sounding a little concerned. Then relief. “But I have the highest yards per carry,” giving a Ric Flair, “Woooo!”
After a few minutes, McCoy finally unveiled his top 5:
1) Adrian Peterson
2) Marshawn Lynch
3) Frank Gore
4) Jamaal Charles
5) Matt Forte
He left himself off the list for humility’s sake. But the guess here is he’d put himself near the top, maybe behind A.P. Maybe.