Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Observations: Graham, Justice go at it

Eagles rookie defensive end Brandon Graham and right tackle Winston Justice went at it during the team's practice Sunday morning at Lehigh.

Observations: Graham, Justice go at it

Rookie defensive end Brandon Graham battled right tackle Winston Justice during practice. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Rookie defensive end Brandon Graham battled right tackle Winston Justice during practice. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

Good battles today between Eagles rookie Brandon Graham and right tackle Winston Justice.

Graham practiced exclusively with the second-team defense, meaning he was going up against Justice and the first-team offense. The two guys went back and forth, but you can definitely see the blend of quickness and power from Graham in these early practices.

"I think I did a good job," Graham said afterwards. "Me and Winston talked before practice. I told him yesterday I got him a couple good times, but today he was just like 'I got you.' We go back and forth. I just like the competition."

During Saturday's afternoon practice, the Eagles mixed Graham in with the first team, in place of Juqua Parker. They'll likely continue to get him some reps there as camp progresses. But, keep in mind, that the first units on offense and defense don't usually go up against each other, so when Graham practices with the starters, he's going up against a backup right tackle (likely King Dunlap).

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"It feels real good to go up against the first-team offense because that's the real work right there," Graham said. "If you beat those guys, you know you're doing something right."

More practice observations:

* The story today was the linebacking situation. The expected trio in the first-team base defense was Stewart Bradley in the middle, Ernie Sims at the weak-side spot and Moise Fokou at the strong side. When I got out to practice, I saw Sims, but next to him were Omar Gaither in the middle and Akeem Jordan at the strong side. The team said Bradley had a hamstring spasm and is day-to-day. Sean McDermott said Jordan is going to compete with Fokou at the SAM position. More on this in a post later today.

* In case you're wondering, the second-team linebackers were rookie Jamar Chaney in the middle, Fokou at the SAM and Tracy White at the weak side.

* Assumption: Trent Cole is a great pass rusher who can't play the run. Reality: Cole is a great pass-rusher, who is also very good against the run. He showed that today.

* Some of you have asked about Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, the Eagles' third-round pick. Most of his reps so far have been coming at the left defensive end position with the third team.

* Andy Reid did not speak after practice, but I think he would probably characterize the session as sloppy. Seemed like he had to stop things and get everyone on the same page multiple times. At one point, Chaney was late getting on the field. "Let's go! No substitution timeouts," Reid said.

* Sean McDermott tried to help, telling his defensive players to get up quickly after every play to emphasize pace and tempo.

* The offense did not look very good today, including Kevin Kolb, who threw behind Brent Celek on one pass down the middle of the field.

* Good throw and nice catch from Michael Vick to Hank Baskett in the middle of the field. Baskett had Hanson draped all over him but was able to make the grab.

* Say what you want about Asante Samuel. But he does cheer on and encourage his fellow DBs, like when Macho Harris did a good job on Dobson Collins down the far sideline.

* Good job of downfield blocking by Baskett and Jason Avant today.

* Avant waves up to the big man in the sky after every catch, even in practice. A Twitter follower tells me that's sign language for applause.

* New Eagles Kelley Washington (WR) and J.J. Arrington (RB) were at practice today, although Arrington did not yet have a name on the back of his jersey. Oh, by the way, RB Martell Mallett, who was let go to bring in LB Tracy White, is now back. And FB Dwayne Wright is gone. Leonard Weaver is now the team's only fullback, which isn't a big deal as long as he can stay healthy.

Has any team in the league made more roster moves in the last week than the Eagles? Maybe Howie Roseman is just bored.

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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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