Eagles Wake-Up Call: An Opportunity For Graham

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Brandon Graham‘s fifth season with the Eagles is nearing its end. The rookie contract that has tied him to Philadelphia — for better or for worse, in good times and in bad — is about to expire.

Most of the good has come of late.  Graham has made peace with the ghosts of expectations unmet and has adapted to his new position to become a productive part of the Eagles’  attack. He has 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 14 quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles on the season while playing a shade under 40 percent of the snaps.

Somewhat apropos of the way his pro career has gone, Graham’s playing time is set to spike just as the sand threatens to drain out of the hourglass. Trent Cole is expected to miss at least one week with a broken hand, meaning Graham jumps into the starting lineup for the first time since 2012.

“This is a big opportunity for me to really show what I can do with more snaps. I’m excited to just be able to go compete and get better with my teammates,” said Graham. Read more »

Smith’s Development “Stifled” By Switch

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It was out of necessity that Marcus Smith II was shuffled from outside linebacker to inside linebacker earlier this year, and it is out of necessity that he is now being shuffled back to his original position.

Trent Cole broke his hand against Dallas and is expected to be sidelined for at least one week. That means Brandon Graham steps into the starter’s role while Smith figures to be the next man in.

“I expect to get some snaps. I’m not sure how many snaps I’ll get but I’m sure to get action,” said Smith. “Hopefully go out there, run around and just make a play.”

Smith is currently practicing at the Predator position, so he’ll likely rotate in for Graham at times. Bryan Braman is the other option at outside linebacker.

Smith was moved inside back in September after Mychal Kendricks and Najee Goode went down with injuries. He was already having a difficult time acclimating to the pro level, and now had to do so while learning a new position. The results haven’t been good. Smith has appeared in six games and has played just 74 snaps, totaling one tackle and one quarterback hurry.

“We set him back by moving him inside, but we needed that because of all the injuries we had at inside,” said Billy Davis. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – Another solid game out of Cox. The coaches credited him with one tackle, one sack and one hurry. Cox stopped Shonn Greene after a 4-yard run in the first. He disrupted a run play that gained 3. Good rush late in the first half, but Zach Mettenberger reset and completed a pass. Got some help from the coverage in the back end, slipped inside the offensive lineman and sacked Mettenberger in the second. Cox batted a pass on the next play. Drew a holding call on a run play in the third. Fought off defenders and stopped Bishop Sankey after a 4-yard run in the third. He played 62 percent of the snaps. Announcers made it a point to mention how much Chip Kelly praised Cox during production meetings. He’s had a great season. The Eagles need him to be disruptive against Dallas. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Chip On Developing Rookies

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles drafted seven players back in May, and through five games, only two have been weekly contributors: Jordan Matthews and Beau Allen.

First-rounder Marcus Smith II has played a total of 34 snaps, and those have come at a new position (inside linebacker). Third-rounder Josh Huff had been bothered by a shoulder injury and finally saw some action against the Rams. Jaylen Watkins has yet to play a snap, and Taylor Hart has yet to be active. Ed Reynolds, meanwhile, is on the practice squad.

Matthews is playing 58.2 percent of the snaps and has 19 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Allen has played 18 percent of the snaps and flashed a few times in the past couple of weeks.

On Wednesday, Chip Kelly was asked about the rookies and made it clear that he’s not planning on using game action to develop them. They’ll get on the field when they’re ready. Read more »

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