Thoughts on Graham, Parker and the 'D'

Brandon Graham has moved to the top of the depth chart at left defensive end. ( David Maialetti / staff photographer)

Brandon Graham said this morning he has been moved to the top of the depth chart at left defensive end with the base defense.

Here are some thoughts on the news:

* I think Sean McDermott is still figuring out how he wants to use Graham, but we all could see this day coming as soon as Graham started practicing at Lehigh. The Eagles traded up to get him, and he's exceeded expectations. In other words, he's not giving up that starting job.

* But that doesn't mean Juqua Parker is without a role. Parker can be a contributor to this defensive line rotation. He has not had any reps inside, and Trent Cole doesn't come off the field on the right side, so all that remains is left defensive end. I wonder if we'll see the Eagles use a little more of that Parker-Graham-Trevor Laws-Cole line we saw in Friday night's game on three plays. Graham moved inside, and Parker played left defensive end in that formation.

I asked Graham today about the differences between playing inside and outside. He explained that the purpose of moving him is to set up a one-on-one matchup with a guard. The question is: Would you rather have Daniel Te'o-Nesheim on the inside and Graham on the outside, or Graham on the inside and Parker on the outside? I think we'll see the Eagles try both quite a bit on Friday against the Chiefs.

* I also asked Graham about dropping back into coverage, something McDermott has asked his defensive ends to do quite a bit of over the past few weeks. Graham had to do it on one play in the first game, but not in the loss to the Bengals.

"I almost was in the lane a little bit," Graham said. "It just went right over my head, but that's what I'm getting better at - covering man to man, just being where I'm supposed to be."

But does he like dropping back? Wouldn't he rather be rushing the passer?

"I like doing it because I might get lucky and get an interception," Graham said with a laugh. "Then you get to score a touchdown. That's the biggest thing. I got a touchdown dance for y'all if I do."

Graham actually did come up with an interception once at Lehigh.

* I think the Eagles' defense is going to benefit from more continuity this season. In the playoff loss to the Cowboys, the Birds played 21 different players on defense. That's a huge number that will be cut down significantly this season. On the defensive line, Cole and Graham have the capability to be every-down players, although the other two spots will rotate. At linebacker, Ernie Sims and Stewart Bradley look like they'll be every-down players as well.

 * The Eagles' pass rush will get a test right away in Week 1 against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. But keep in mind Green Bay allowed more sacks (51) than any team in the league last season.

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