Saturday, December 27, 2014

Graham shines in afternoon practice

The best description I can give of Brandon Graham's play so far at training camp is that I always notice when he's on the field.

Graham shines in afternoon practice

Rookie defensive end Brandon Graham went up against left tackle Winston Justice today at training camp. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Rookie defensive end Brandon Graham went up against left tackle Winston Justice today at training camp. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

The best description I can give of Brandon Graham's play is that I always notice when he's on the field.

Granted, the players did not have pads on, but Graham put in perhaps his most impressive performance since arriving at Lehigh during Monday afternoon's practice, often beating Winston Justice and getting to the quarterback. He also broke up a shovel pass and almost had an interception when called on to drop back into pass coverage.

He spent much of the afternoon working as the first-team left defensive end in the Eagles' nickel package. It's still been Juqua Parker at LDE with the base defense, but Graham is making a major impression even though he's only been here for a few days.

Other observations:

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* Both Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick had trouble against the blitz. Kolb threw high to Brent Celek on one play. And Vick was off-target as well.

Stacy Andrews missed the afternoon session with what the team termed a shoulder injury. Mike McGlynn took his place. So the offensive line looked like this: Justice, McGlynn, Cole, Max Jean-Gilles and Jason Peters. Peters and Justice are the only two that would be starters if the Eagles had everyone healthy.

* Speaking of Jean-Gilles, I'm beginning to think he likes when the Eagles' quarterbacks throw interceptions. Two days in a row, after a pick, he starts running like a wild man with his arms flailing, as if he's looking for a defensive player to slam to the ground. The only problem is that the Eagles are in shorts and no pads, and there's no hitting. So Jean-Gilles just ends up shaking his head as if something very valuable were taken from him. This is very entertaining in person. I'm telling you.

Riley Cooper burned Dimitri Patterson for a 50-yard bomb from Vick. By the way, Cooper catching a bomb has been pretty much a given during every afternoon practice since he's been here.

* Good tests for both Ernie Sims and LeSean McCoy when the Eagles send McCoy into his routes. McCoy generally had a step on Sims, but the Eagles' linebacker wasn't far behind. He's shown good speed and cover skills so far.

* Ellis Hobbs takes every rep seriously. This is his fifth year in the league, but he gets visibly angry when receivers beat him. That happened this afternoon when Jeremy Maclin got the best of him on a comeback route. Hobbs had pretty good coverage, but the timing from Kolb to Maclin was perfect. Later in practice, Hobbs had the same play read perfectly, but the ball didn't come his way.

* Moise Fokou saw time both with the linebackers and at defensive end this afternoon. We'll see where the experiment goes tomorrow.

* Jason Peters and Trent Cole mixed it up a little after one play. Sometimes it's easy to forget that Peters is even out there. But I guess that's a good thing for a left tackle.

* Yesterday I wrote about the tennis ball drill I saw the defensive backs participating in after practice. Today I got a better look. One player stands behind the other to simulate a DB closing in on a receiver. The coaches then continuously toss tennis balls to the guy in front, while the DB has to swat them away. The goal is to not miss the ball and allow the receiver to catch it.

* Earlier today, I wrote about Fokou, Joselio Hanson and the morning practice.

* And we've got a video up about Bobby April and special teams.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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