Brandon Graham has played defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles since joining them as a first-round draft pick from Michigan in 2013.
Never has a felt better about being a part of their defensive scheme.
‘Everybody pretty much plays off how the defensive line plays’
The 4-3 base that second-year coordinator Jim Schwartz gives Graham and the other defensive linemen maximum freedom to tear after the quarterback, as they did in sacking Kirk Cousins four times to help the Eagles to a 30-17 victory.
“This is a D-lineman’s dream defense,” Graham, who had two sacks and a forced fumble, told John Clayton and Pat Kirwan on Late Hits. “Everybody pretty much plays off how the defensive line plays. So, with us getting up the field and us causing havoc up the field, the linebackers kind of fill in in the spots where they’re needed. If we take the ‘B’ gap, they know to play off us and take the ‘A’ gap. All gaps are filled, but at the end of the day, they’ve got to wait on us to make our move. And for our D-linemen, we’ve got to stay committed on whatever we do. We can’t say, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and then go do something else and then confuse the linebackers.”
‘You’ve just got to kind of know it’
Having success in the Eagles’ defense takes more than athletic talent. It requires the ability to learn and the investment in time and effort to do so.
“You’ve got to have a little football IQ to play in it,” Graham said. “That just comes with film study and the study for the week of what coaches trying to tell you what (the opponents) run mostly, they’re favorite stuff. You’ve just got to kind of know it.
‘I want to play in it as long as I can before I’m done playing’
“We’ve got a really good group and that’s a credit to those guys upstairs bringing in good people and then, on top of that, the coaches that we have. But I think this defense is the best. I want to play in it as long as I can before I’m done playing.”
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