Philadelphia Eagles

PFF explains why Brandon Graham was underrated in 2016

PFF explains why Brandon Graham was underrated in 2016

Brandon Graham walked through the Eagles' locker room at Lincoln Financial Field with a big smile on his face. While the season was over in terms of playoff chances, the Eagles beat the Giants 24-19 to snap their five-game losing streak. 

Graham played a big role in the win. He provided pressure all day. But there was just one thing on his mind as he strolled from the showers to his locker stall. 

"I should have had him!" Graham said, still smiling, but now shaking his head. 

With 25 seconds left in the game, Graham piled up his fourth quarterback hit on Eli Manning, but the Giants' QB was able to keep his right arm free and throw the ball away. A little bit later, Manning threw a desperation interception and the Eagles sealed the game. 

Graham, 28, had the best season of his career in 2016. No question. But he finished the year with just 5 1/2 sacks. Despite being named a second-team All-Pro and a first alternate for the Pro Bowl, many people probably don't realize how disruptive he really was this past year, even if the sack numbers don't show it. 

That's the point ProFootballFocus' Sam Monson makes this week. 

"Brandon Graham doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as one of the league’s most consistent and dominant pass-rushers because people get too caught up with measuring pass rush by sacks alone," Monson writes. 

In their list of the top 101 players from 2016, Graham was the highest-ranked Eagle, at No. 9. 

Of course, PFF's stats support that idea. Graham produced a pressure 83 times in 2016. Only Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack had more. Graham got pressure once every 5.8 pass-rushing snaps, the second best number in the league. 

While sacks are the goal, Graham's pressures often created opportunities for his teammates, resulting in a PBU or an interception. It's harder to quantify those things, though. 

One of the more interesting stats from PFF is that Graham has converted his pressures into sacks at a 10.7 percent clip. That's well under the 15.1 percent average in the NFL this season. Graham himself has admitted that he needs to pick up sacks at a higher rate. 

According to PFF, Graham's best game was that Week 16 matchup against the Giants. That's the game where he thought he should have brought down Manning but didn't have a sack. 

If he starts finishing his pressures next season, he'll probably start to get the recognition he deserves. 

There's a Chance a change could be coming for Eagles at left guard

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AP Images

There's a Chance a change could be coming for Eagles at left guard

On Monday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he didn't want to "push any panic buttons" because of his offensive line. 

Turns out, he might be ready to. 

During the portion of Wednesday's practice that is open to reporters, Chance Warmack took first-team left guard reps between Jason Peters and Jason Kelce during individual drills. Isaac Seumalo was no longer working with the first team. It could possibly be a sign of things to come. 

The team portion of practice is closed to media members. 

Seumalo, the second-year offensive lineman out of Oregon State, had a terrible game against the Chiefs on Sunday. He gave up four of the six sacks the Eagles allowed and three of them went to defensive end Chris Jones, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. 

Seumalo, 23, admitted after the 27-20 loss Sunday that he needed to play better (see story). Meanwhile, Pederson pointed out some of Seumalo's issues — dropping his head, late hands, getting off the ball late — but said they were correctable. 

"So we'll evaluate the whole thing," Pederson continued Wednesday after saying he didn't want to push panic buttons. "It's not — again, it's not just one guy. If you're going to point the finger too, you can point it at me; I'm part of the pie, too. We'll evaluate it and we'll keep evaluating it."

Seumalo was handed the starting left guard job at the start of this training camp. The team decided that and was set to release veteran, and previous starter, Allen Barbre until they were able to get a conditional seventh-round pick for him. Looking back, they might have made that move too hastily. 

For the first two games of the season, Warmack has been inactive. It's the first time in his NFL career that he's been healthy and hasn't played. The former 10th overall pick joined the Eagles this offseason on a one-year deal but has since signed an extension to keep him under contract through the 2018 season. Warmack, after the first game of the season, said he was trying not to read into anything (see story)

In Philadelphia, Warmack has been reunited with his college position coach Jeff Stoutland. That was a big part of the reason he decided to join the Eagles. 

In addition to Warmack, the Eagles also have veteran Stefen Wisniewski available to play guard. 

Eagles Injury Update: 3 more defensive backs miss practice

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Eagles Injury Update: 3 more defensive backs miss practice

The Eagles are pretty light at defensive back Wednesday.

Rodney McLeod and Jaylen Watkins, who both suffered hamstring injuries during Sunday's 27-20 loss to Kansas City, didn't practice Wednesday. 

"Right now, day to day," Pederson said. "Keep evaluating, keep monitoring both of those guys."

Defensive back Corey Graham also didn't practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury of his own. He was on the field wearing a baseball cap, chatting with McLeod, Watkins and Sidney Jones.

The Eagles are down to just six healthy defensive backs without McLeod, Watkins, Graham and Ronald Darby, who is out for at least another few weeks with a dislocated ankle. 

Despite the numbers in the secondary, the Eagles still haven't filled the empty spot on their roster. The Eagles have had the 53rd spot empty since they placed Donnel Pumphrey on IR with a torn hamstring Friday.

Pederson said the Eagles are going to "keep [their] eyes open" but haven't made a decision on how to fill the empty roster spot yet. They have just one defensive back on their practice squad. They signed former Chiefs corner De'Vante Bausby last week.

The Eagles tried to sign safety DeAndre Houston-Carson off the Bears' practice squad, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, but the Bears were able to keep him by promoting him to their active roster.

The Eagles were so light at safety in Sunday's game that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz admitted the team started to prepare linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill to go into the game. On Wednesday, the Eagles had just two healthy safeties: Malcolm Jenkins and the seldom-used Chris Maragos. 

DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist) also missed Wednesday's practice. He missed the game on Sunday.