Brandon Graham called it the elephant in the room.
As the Eagles try to rebound from their 3-5-1 start to the 2020 season, Graham and the other leaders of the team want the Eagles to focus on the little things that are their control and have hurt them this season.
“I think it starts, definitely, in practice,” Graham said on Wednesday afternoon. “I think some of the stuff that’s showing up out there, we’re just being real with ourselves, is happening in practice. Jumping offsides, pre-snap penalties, false starts, people dropping balls, us not getting off the rock. It’s just all stuff that we need to hone in on as a team. And I think we’re doing a good job of addressing that elephant in the room.”
There are plenty of reasons the Eagles are sitting with a 3-5-1 record but some of those reasons are controllable. The Eagles have had too many silly penalties, missed assignments, little things that focus should fix.
And it’s not just enough to find them on film. Graham wants his teammates to find those mistakes on the field and correct them immediately.
If you jump offsides? Be accountable and pull yourself out of the rep.
Drop a pass? Same thing.
Commit a false start? Raise your hand.
Graham said Doug Pederson and the coaching staff won’t always see every mistake. So he wants each player to hold themselves more accountable.
“We want to win, this is what it’s going to take,” Graham said. “And let’s correct it, let’s get it right, let’s stop settling for ‘oh I got it next time.’ Nah, we gonna get it right now. And just start getting people to want to police themselves even more so we won’t have to seem like we’re the ones hounding you. You should be wanting to police yourself because you want to get it right. I think that that’s going to start happening, man.”
For what it’s worth, the Eagles probably have bigger problems than penalties in 2020 but they did have 11 against the Giants and that’s far too many. This season, they have been penalized 56 times (just 10 teams have been penalized more) and 19 of those penalties are pre-snap ones, which normally infuriate coaches.
Graham, one of three defensive captains and eight total, said the leaders get together all the time and discuss this stuff in the locker room. It seems like recent discussions have brought about a call for more accountability to fix sloppy practice habits.
This is a year, Graham admitted, where focus can sometimes be fleeting. COVID-19 has made it a most unusual season and it’s been a year that lends itself to excuses.
No more, Graham said.
“Eventually, you’ll start to have that in your mind a little more because those little things that kind of slip by, those are the things that’s hurting us,” Graham said. “And we can’t have that no more. I think it’s going to start with us policing ourselves first and then if you need a little help, you got guys that’s definitely going to make sure they step up and say something."
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