Brandon Graham leads Eagles' historic sack parade

Brandon Graham leads Eagles' historic sack parade

Rodney McLeod and Brandon Graham were comparing notes earlier this weekend at practice.

McLeod had no interceptions.

Graham had no sacks.

They were due.

We both talked about it yesterday during walkthrough, we both need to get on the board this week, and we both did,” McLeod said. “B.G., he’s an impactful player for us in the run game or the pass game. He always has high energy, so it was good to see all the work he puts in pay off today having a huge game for us. He led the way.

Graham, now in his 10th year with the Eagles, had a career game in the Eagles 31-6 win over the Jets at the Linc with three of the Eagles’ 10 sacks.

He’s the first Eagle with three sacks in a game since Fletcher Cox last year and the first defensive end since Trent Cole back in 2013 against the Bears.

Graham had just four sacks in his previous 20 games.

We kept seeing Graham get close and not finish. He's always relentless, but he has a tendency to let quarterbacks get away sometimes.

Sunday, he finished.

You know, when you beat a man clean sometimes and you get your eyes all big and you get all extra hype, you know, sometimes you can overplay it,” he said. “Sometimes in that moment you’re so hyped to get that sack you can just be wild a little bit, and I had to calm down today and they just kind of popped right on me. … As a defensive lineman, that’s the dream, to hit him and sack him as many times as you can. I’m just happy I got him on the ground. I came close so many times, I’m just happy it worked out.

The Eagles were facing a hapless offensive line and an inexperienced rookie sixth-round pick quarterback, so you’d expect a bunch of sacks. And the Eagles delivered.

At one point late in the game, they had four sacks in a five-play stretch.

In addition to Graham’s three, cornerback Orlando Scandrick  — out of work a week earlier  — had two sacks, along with two forced fumbles and a touchdown return, and Josh Sweat, Daeshon Hall, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Hassan Ridgeway had one apiece.

The 10 sacks are the second-most in franchise history behind the 11 against Troy Aikman and the Cowboys back in 1991.

This is a team that had an NFL-low three sacks the first four games of the season.

I’m just happy we all went out there and had one of those games we’ve been dreaming about as a defensive line,” Graham said. “We’re coming together at the right time, especially after all of the emotional games we have played. We need one like this.

The Eagles sacked Luke Falk seven times in the second half and four times in the fourth quarter.

"Toward the end, you kind of felt they were ready to go,” Graham said.

Graham joins Reggie White (9 times), Clyde Simmons (4), Jason Babin (3), Greg Brown (2), Cole (2), Dennis Harrison (2), Mike Mamula (2) and Hugh Douglas, William Fuller, Ndukwe Kalu and Jevon Kearse as the 12th Eagles defensive end with three sacks in a game.

He now has 45 ½ career sacks in an Eagles uniform, sixth-most in franchise history.

He moved past Cox Sunday and into sixth place behind White (124), Cole (85.5), Simmons (76), Douglas (54 ½) and Brown (50 ½).

It’s a big deal,” Graham said. “Honestly, every time I get a sack for this organization. I just want to keep being good for them. I want to stay here as long as I can and have fun as long as I can and today was fun. Today we talked about having a party and we went out there and had a party.

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Eagles QB coach Press Taylor back at work following quarantine

Eagles QB coach Press Taylor back at work following quarantine

Not only is Doug Pederson back at the NovaCare Complex, his quarterbacks coach is as well.

Press Taylor has returned to work after being quarantined following Pederson’s positive COVID test.

Because Taylor was in close quarters with Pederson, he was quarantined away from the NovaCare Complex until a series of tests came back negative and he showed no symptoms. 

As with players, it's up to the individual if he chooses to announce whether he actually had the virus or was simply quarantined for being around someone who did.

Although there is a COVID reserve list for players who either test positive or have been in close proximity to someone who has, there is no similar list for coaches, and NFL teams are under no obligation to announce when or if any coaches have either tested positive or have been quarantined without a positive test.

Pederson and Taylor were both sent home from work on Aug. 2. Pederson returned on Wednesday.

Two of the three Eagles who were placed on the COVID reserve list on July 29 - Nate Gerry and Lane Johnson - have returned to the team. That leaves third-year offensive tackle Jordan Mailata as the only known remaining player or coach not currently with the team.

Taylor joined the Eagles as one of Chip Kelly’s offensive quality control coaches in 2013. He became offensive quality control and assistant quarterbacks coach under Pederson in 2016, quarterbacks coach in 2018 and had the passing game coordinator tag added to his title this year.

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Doug Pederson details Eagles’ 2020 training camp structure

Doug Pederson details Eagles’ 2020 training camp structure

Earlier this offseason, Doug Pederson intimated that the Eagles might have more scrimmages this summer to make up for the cancelation of the entire preseason. 

That doesn’t seem to be the case. 

In the past, Pederson has typically had two days where the Eagles go “live” and tackle to the ground. Even without preseason games, that is the plan this summer too. 

I’m going to stick to that schedule,” Pederson said via a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m going to stick to two days of having situational, scrimmage-type practices. I feel like it’s a great way to get our guys prepared for game situations, game action. I’m going to do two of those days.

That means there will be limited opportunities to really evaluate their young players during this training camp. 

Pederson also said there are in total eight or nine padded practices in the next 2 1/2 weeks. 

The Eagles are right now in the Gradual Ramp Up Period of training camp, which allows non-padded practices. Padded practices begin Monday (Aug. 17) when the Eagles enter the Contact Integration Period. 

If those “live” periods indeed remain similar to what Pederson has done in the past, don’t think of scrimmages as just 11-on-11 offense vs. defense, like a game. The situational part means they’ll be in goal line or backed up, etc. Pederson likes to segment practice this way. 

Pederson admitted there will be a “fine line” as the coaches try to evaluate players but also work on situational players and get ready for the season. Normally, those preseason games are huge for evaluating young players. Now, the coaching staff has to do it in 2 1/2 weeks while also preparing veteran players for the upcoming season. 

Because of that, will these practices be any more intense? 

“I don’t know if they’ll be any more intense,” Pederson said. “Training camp practices are grueling anyway.” 

That’s true. And Pederson also brought up a great point that this current setup means fewer days off once these practices get going. Normally, when there are preseason games, teams get the day before and after off. So if you’re a starter and you play 10 snaps in a preseason game, those 10 snaps are really your only significant on-field time in the span of three days. There are obviously off days built into this schedule but not that many. 

While the Eagles haven’t started padded practices yet, they have been in training camp and in virtual meetings for a while. In fact, the Eagles have completely installed their offensive and defensive schemes. 

The last thing left to do is get on the field and get ready for the season. 

“The only thing we’ve missed really is just the live practices that we would have had under a normal situation,” Pederson said. “Tomorrow, I think would have been our first preseason game. We’ve got everything that we need in if we were to play a game tomorrow. We’re not really playing catch up, we’re just enhancing what we have moving forward.”

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