Brandon Graham Adding To His Game
Brandon Graham felt he was getting too predictable with his pass rush, so he went with the old “butt and shed” to twice get the better of Tyron Smith Sunday.
“I watched the last game I played and I was like, ‘Man, I keep going down the middle of him, and that’s what he wants.’ I knew that he was going to play the bull [rush], so I just ‘butt and shed’. As soon as I butt him and he sit down, shed right off of him and just kind of throw my arms down, and it was working,”said Graham, his grin growing as he recalled the moment. “The first time I was kind of shocked.
“When you see the quarterback, it’s the best feeling you’ve ever felt, man.”
Graham came up with a pair of strip sacks against one of the best tackles in the game Sunday night. The first one was huge. With Dallas facing a 3rd-and-14 from the Eagles 34 late in the opening half, Graham knocked the ball out of Matt Cassel‘s hand and pushed the Cowboys out of field goal range.
“He changed up his pass rush a little bit from bull, bull, bull, to the illusion of a bull rush and then he took the edge,” said Billy Davis.
A similar scene unfolded midway through the third.
The 27-year-old now has four sacks on the season to go with seven tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries.
The biggest change in Graham’s game, Davis says, has been in his mental approach.
“You can see him growing as a veteran player in his note taking and in the way he thinks through his pass rushes as opposed to just, ‘Set-hike. Hey, let me just go do my thing.’ He’s really breaking down and having a plan with his pass rushing. He’s adjusting in the game, and that’s the growth that you love seeing players take.”
“We talk it out a lot more because what I used to do, especially as a young guy, it was more so playing the game but not really talking out, like man what’s my next move?” added Graham. “What I love, what our coach [Bill McGovern] does a great job of, he keeps reminding me, ‘What are you thinking for the next pass rush move for the next sack or the next drive when you get your next opportunity?'”
After a slow start to the season statistically, Graham has posted four sacks in his last five games, and looks to be adding to his arsenal.
“You can’t be predictable,” he said, “and I know I’ve been bull-rushing everybody all year, so now it’s time to really start trying to develop and do something different.”