Brandon Graham, Four Years Later

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
At the very beginning of Training Camp 2010, when Brandon Graham was brand new to the scene and the possibilities were endless, he emerged from the training facility at Lehigh University and was greeted by a large group of reporters lining either side of the walkway.

A wide grin on his face, Graham treated it almost like a receiving  line, and shook hands (or even hugged) each member of the media as he made his way to the parking lot.

When a reporter commented that his reaction was different than most, Graham responded, “I’m going to do things differently.”

The scene on Thursday stood in sharp contrast to the one that unfolded some four years ago. Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: More Eagles On the Move?

Eagles LBs Casey Matthews and Brandon Graham laughing
For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

I believe Brandon Graham is the most likely candidate to get dealt. The Eagles recognize that he is best suited as a 4-3 defensive end and are open to moving him if the right offer comes along. 

Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: On Sproles And Trade Winds

Darren Sproles
For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

A lot happening on the Eagles front. Let’s get right to it.

I like it. The Eagles dealt Isaac Sopoaga and a sixth-round pick to New England for a fifth-rounder, and used that to acquire Darren Sproles. Seems like good value to me.

More than that, I think he can be very effective in Chip Kelly‘s scheme. Read more »

Free Agency Preview: Outside Linebackers

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys

It’s no secret that the Eagles are in need of outside linebacker help.

Connor Barwin showcased his versatility last year and is a keeper on the left side. He’s not a prolific pass-rusher, but Barwin is excellent against the run, can line up in a variety of places and is good in coverage.

On the other side, Trent Cole did an admirable job of transitioning to a 3-4 OLB. But he’ll turn 32 next season and is still a bit of a square peg/round hole option. And the coaching staff saw Brandon Graham as purely a rotational player last season.

It’s possible that the Eagles go into 2014 with those same three rotating, but the better bet is that they add a piece either through free agency or the draft.

Keeping that in mind, here are four guys who will be on the market when free agency starts Tuesday. The two biggest names – Brian Orakpo and Jason Worilds - are staying with the Redskins and Steelers, respectively. So this is a watered-down group. Read more »

Combine Notes: The Buzz Around Indy

USATSI_7658066_168380503_lowres (1)
A few notes to pass along after wandering around the combine for a couple days:

“The Eagles won’t spend.”

That was a quote from the representative of a free-agent defensive player, whose client will likely command somewhere between mid-level and high-end money. Asked for his reasoning, he said that was the general understanding out there about the team’s approach to free agency. Read more »

Offseason Outlook: Outside Linebackers

Trent Cole had one sack in the Eagles’ first 10 games. He has seven in the last five, including three against the Bears.

This week, we’ll continue to offer offseason outlooks for the Eagles, position-by-position. Each day, we’ll answer a pressing question and rank the position on the priority scale. First up was quarterback. We covered running backswide receiverstight endsoffensive line and defensive line. Now let’s talk outside linebackers.

PRESSING QUESTION: Will there be a new starter on the outside in 2014?

McManus: I will say no, at least to start the year.

Connor Barwin may not be an elite pass-rusher but there is great value in his versatility. I think his starting job is secure. Trent Cole‘s spot really is the one to focus on. Cole is extremely well-respected within the organization and was regularly lauded by Chip Kelly and Billy Davis during the season, both noting that the numbers don’t tell the whole story when it comes to Cole’s impact on the game. And the numbers weren’t bad. Despite playing OLB for the first time in his nine-year career, he finished with eight sacks, 15 hurries and 10 tackles for a loss.

Still, Cole is 31, his pass-rushing production wasn’t consistent and the Eagles absolutely need to bolster this position. Brandon Graham contributed three sacks this season, but it’s still questionable whether he’s a fit for this team. Read more »

10 Observations: An Eagles Slant To the Playoffs

NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Here are 10 observations with an Eagles slant from Sunday’s conference title games:

1. I think if the Seahawks and 49ers played 10 times, they would probably split five and five. Or maybe San Francisco would win six and Seattle would win four. But the Seahawks made the big play at the end to advance. If Broncos-Seahawks comes close to being as entertaining as the NFC title game, we’ll all be happy. Denver opens as a 2.5-point favorite. My initial thought? Peyton Manning, for as well as he played yesterday, is going to have a tough time against that Seattle defense. On the other hand, while the Seahawks’ offense got things going in the second half, they have been up-and-down on that side of the ball. I think we have ourselves a good matchup for Super Bowl XLVII. Read more »

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