PHILADELPHIA – Brandon Graham is 34 and at this point last year was wondering if he would ever play again.
At the time, Graham’s season ended in Week 3 with a torn Achilles tendon.
Still, Graham is not only back, but one sack behind his career-high with 8.5 sacks. And he’s done it while playing just 40% of his snaps defensively. This is his lowest percentage since 2013 when many considered him his first round bust.
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Graham had a career-high three sacks against the Giants in the Eagles’ 48-22 victory last Sunday. He was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. It’s his second win of the season. He had never won the last 12 seasons.
And Graham is part of a defense with an NFL-leading 49 sacks, on pace to break the team record of 62 set in 1991.
It’s easy to see why Graham calls this his dream season. The Eagles have already earned his spot in the playoffs with his 12-1 record. Graham is playing less, so he’s playing better.
Graham couldn’t be happier.
“Make sure you throw in the best hay maker you can,” said Graham. “So this is how I play. When I come in, they like the jab, the jab, and here I come in with a knockout.
“It’s working for me.”
Also works for the Eagles.
Mainly because the Eagles attack in waves, for the first time in team history, five players – Hurson Reddick (10), Javon Hargrave (8), Josh Sweat (7.5) and Fletcher Cox (6) – have at least six sacks. I have. Always rotate new players.
No defensive lineman has played more than 64% of Cox’s. This is Cox’s lowest percentage since his rookie year in 2012.
Of course, teams need to have good players in rotation. otherwise it is not effective. The Eagles have veterans Damcon Su, Limbal Joseph and rookie first-round pick Jordan Davis.
“It benefits them all that they stay fresh and have everything they can give on each play,” Eagles coach Nick Siriani said.
So Graham becomes like a relief pitcher in baseball and can only hit one inning. He can throw as hard as possible without worrying about maintaining his strength.
“I like it fresh,” said Graham. “I don’t want to just play tired…because I know I can play when I’m fresh. I know I’m licking my chops in the fourth quarter.” O-Line was there the entire game. was. ”
He then added: “I’m just having fun. It’s not over yet.”
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