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. 

NFL Notes: NFL looking to speed up games via officiating and breaks

NFL Notes: NFL looking to speed up games via officiating and breaks

NEW YORK -- The NFL is making plans to speed up the pace of games, including changing how video replays are handled and using a time clock for extra points.

The league also is discussing with the TV networks how to make commercial breaks less intrusive.

For officiating replays, the referee no longer would go under a hood to watch a play. Instead, a tablet will be brought to him on the field and he will consult with league headquarters in New York. The final call will be made in New York.

Support by 75 percent of the 32 team owners would be needed at next week's annual meetings for passage of the proposal.

In addition to a time clock for PATs when there is no TV break, the league is considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown.

Also, to improve the flow of games on the field and for television audiences, commercial breaks would be reduced from 21 per game to 16, although each would last 30 seconds longer.

Giants: RB Shaun Draughn signs
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have signed veteran running back Shaun Draughn.

The Giants announced the signing Wednesday, a little more than a month after releasing veteran Rashad Jennings in a salary cap move.

Draughn has played for six teams in six years, most recently the San Francisco 49ers. He has played in 57 games with seven starts. His career totals include 225 carries for 723 yards and seven touchdowns, plus 80 receptions for 597 yards and two scores. He also has 17 special teams tackles.

Draughn says the Giants were interested in his versatility. He says: "I don't know exactly how they'll use me. I'm sure they'll use me to the strengths that I have."

Draughn played in all 16 games last season with one start for the 49ers. He scored a career-high four touchdowns while rushing for 194 yards on 74 carries. Draughn also had career-best totals of 29 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns.

He joins a backfield that includes second-year pro Paul Perkins, the team's top returning rusher, Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen.

Bengals: 'Pacman' Jones faces misdemeanor charges
CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones faces three misdemeanor charges, including assault, but no longer is charged with a felony.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'-turs) announced Wednesday that a felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance was dismissed at the prosecuting attorney's request.

Deters said the misdemeanors also include disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.

The 33-year-old veteran whose career has been marked by off-the-field legal issues was jailed Jan. 3 after a confrontation with a hotel security employee was followed by a struggle with Cincinnati police and a sheriff's office report Jones spit on a nurse's hand.

Deters says the criminal charge won't be pursued, given that the nurse has been pursuing a possible civil remedy.

A Bengals spokesman said the team has no comment.

Two Eagles question why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned

Two Eagles question why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned

Two weeks into NFL free agency and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains available. He decided to test the market in free agency after not picking up the player option on his contract.

While there's still a chance Kaepernick gets signed, a couple of Eagles players are pointing out that some of the quarterbacks to get contracts recently aren't as good.   

On Monday, Geno Smith signed with the Giants, Josh McCown signed with the Jets and E.J. Manuel signed with the Raiders.

Kaepernick has a better record and completion percentage than those three quarterbacks. He's also second in touchdown passes, trailing only McCown by seven, 79-72, despite playing nine fewer seasons.

So, why aren't teams giving the quarterback who nearly won the Super Bowl against the Ravens in 2013 a chance?

It could be because of his protest of the national anthem last season.

According to Bleacher Report, about 20 percent of teams around the league believe he can play, but the others are simply using showing no interest as punishment for his protest:

"He can still play at a high level," one AFC general manager said. "The problem is three things are happening with him.

"First, some teams genuinely believe that he can't play. They think he's shot. I'd put that number around 20 percent.

"Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.

"Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can't stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won't move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did."

And of course, President Donald Trump chimed in on Kaepernick's status in free agency.

Last year, Trump commented on Kaepernick's decision not to stand for the national anthem saying, ​"maybe he should find a country that works better for him."