Brandon Graham stays ready in boxing ring, takes 'important step' for Eagles' 2018 opener

Brandon Graham stays ready in boxing ring, takes 'important step' for Eagles' 2018 opener

In February, Brandon Graham won a ring. In the six months since, he’s gotten in one.

Graham said Monday he’s been doing some sparring as he rehabs from postseason ankle surgery.

Graham, who had a career-high 9½ sacks last year, returned to practice Monday after spending the last three weeks on the Eagles' physically unable to play reserve list (see story).

“Boxing is real good, especially with using my hands,” he said. “I always do that during the offseason. Always focus on my hands, because as a D-lineman that’s our goal, you’ve got to use your hands in everything.

“So while I’ve been hurt I’ve just been trying to work on my coordination and make sure everything stays tight.”

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Graham will be limited for a while here as he works off the rust.

"There are steps he's got to take along the way,” Schwartz said. “This is an important step getting back on to practice with his teammates. Probably be limited to just some individual stuff and we'll sort of work him along. But it is great to have him back.”

Graham won’t play against the Browns Thursday night and almost certainly won’t play against the Jets in the preseason finale a week later.

All he’s got on his mind is the Falcons on Sept. 6.

“All I can say is when I do start hitting people, I’m going to be so sore, but then you’ve got to work through that soreness like we always do and eventually that starts to become your armor and you build on that,” he said.

“I’m excited. Just excited to be back out there with the boys. It’s been hard standing back because you don’t want to feel behind. I don’t feel like I’m behind but they got a lot more reps than I got, so I’m just trying to catch up.

“Everybody knows when it’s time to go it’s going to be time to go. I’m just excited. We’re all excited because it’s the first step.”

Graham, who had the legendary strip-sack of Tom Brady in the closing minutes of the Super Bowl, said his ankle is fine, it’s just a matter of conditioning at this point.

Week 1?

“I’m not going to make any promises, but I’m working my butt off every day,” he said. “Putting money in the bank every day.”

Graham has missed only one game since opening day of 2012, and that was the meaningless season-ender last year against the Cowboys.

Only four defensive ends — Jerry Hughes, Cameron Jordan, Julius Peppers and Ndamukong Suh — have played more games (96, obviously) over the last five seasons.

“I’m really just focused on Week 1 right now and focus on today and how everything goes,” said Graham, now 30.

“I feel like I can get myself ready for Week 1, for sure, because I’m already doing two-a-days and sometimes two-a-days. It’s on me to make sure I continue to get my shape up and that’s just running and doing drills and pushing and pulling on people.

“I think as I continue to feel better, I’m going to continue to go harder. I’m just excited because now I can start counting down the days. I’ve got 17 days to get right.”

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Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins rightfully added to Pro Bowl roster

Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins rightfully added to Pro Bowl roster

For the third time in his career, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is a Pro Bowler. 

He definitely deserves it. 

Jenkins, who was initially a first-alternate, will replace Giants safety Landon Collins, who finished the 2018 season on IR with a shoulder injury. 

Jenkins, 31, has become one of the greatest free-agent acquisitions in Eagles history. He might be the greatest in franchise history. Since signing with the Eagles in 2014, he has turned himself into one of the best safeties in the league and has now been a Pro Bowler in three of his five years with the Birds, including the last two. 

This season, Jenkins had one interception, eight passes defensed, three forced fumbles and a sack. 

But the most impressive part of Jenkins’ season was just how much he meant to a secondary that was ravaged by injuries. He was the only member of the secondary to stay healthy this season; the other five starters weren’t around during the playoffs. Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Rodney McLeod ended up on IR and Sidney Jones dealt with a hamstring injury for much of the season. 

Not only did Jenkins start every game, he didn’t leave the field. Including the playoffs, he played all 1,180 defensive snaps this season and also chipped in a significant amount of special teams snaps (158). He’s really become the Eagles’ iron man. 

Aside from just playing every snap, Jenkins means a ton to the Eagles in terms of versatility and leadership. He was the guy who would often speak to the team and break down huddles. 

Jenkins joins the Eagles’ first three Pro Bowlers, who made the initial list: Fletcher Cox, Brandon Brooks and Zach Ertz. 

Brooks will definitely miss the exhibition game on Jan. 27 because he tore his Achilles on Sunday in New Orleans. It also seems very likely Cox will miss the game because of a turf toe injury he suffered on Sunday; he was in a walking boot at locker clean-out day. Ertz told reporters he was undecided about whether or not he’ll play in the game. 

While Jenkins can’t play forever, he’s still playing at an extremely high level at age 31. He takes care of his body and is under contract for two more seasons. 

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Brett Favre says Eagles should go with Nick Foles over Carson Wentz

Brett Favre says Eagles should go with Nick Foles over Carson Wentz

Brett Favre thinks the Eagles should hitch their wagon to Nick Foles, which is interesting on one level because Favre is a Hall of Famer who knows a little bit about quarterback play.

And it’s interesting on another level because Favre and Doug Pederson are former teammates, best friends and hunting buddies.

Pederson said Tuesday that Wentz is the Eagles’ quarterback moving forward (see story), which means Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, will almost certainly be moving on.

But if it were up to Favre?

No disrespect at all to Carson Wentz. I think he’s already proven that he’s a great quarterback. Totally different than Nick Foles. Nick Foles, to me, is more of a (Tom) Brady-esque type quarterback. Very limited in what he can do but very, very good in what he does. He’s a pure pocket passer and he’s great at dishing it out and he’s proven that he’s clutch. He did it this past week, he did it last year, he’s done it time and time again, and he’s proven that he can win the big games. That, I think, is what we have to look at, or the Eagles, or anyone in a similar situation — it’s about winning, it’s about being clutch, doing really what you expect your players to do. And he does it as well as anyone.

Favre spoke on his radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio, co-hosted by Bruce Murray.

Pederson backed up Favre in Green Bay from 1995 through 1998 and again from 2001 through 2004.

Pederson’s first NFL coaching job came under Andy Reid, who was Favre’s position coach in Green Bay when the Packers won the Super Bowl.

You know the old saying, ‘Dance with the one who brung you?’ They’re both young and can you keep going with both of them? I don’t think so, so you’re going to have to make a decision but I think it is a difficult decision.

Again, I don’t want to come across as knocking Carson Wentz at all because I’m not. I think a lot of him. But I would go with Nick Foles, I really would. … They are both good. I just, I really like what I’ve seen from both guys but in particular Nick Foles, especially considering the circumstances in which he has come in.

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