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Philadelphia Eagles News

5 Things: We Didn't Give Up On Graham


Eagles players have been in and out of the building for the past couple of days, but today the entire team returns to the NovaCare Complex to begin preparation for their Monday night showdown with the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles have won their last five straight road openers. In their last 11 road games overall, they sport an 8-3 record.

Our live coverage today begins with the coordinators as Pat Shurmur and Bill Davis meet the media at 11:45 AM. Following today's training session at around 1:30 PM, quarterback Nick Foles and linebacker DeMeco Ryans speak to the media. Then, make sure to join us for Eagles 360 for a wrap-up of all the day's news. All the events are streamed online and on our app. For now, here are the 5 Things To Know Today ...

1. Eagles Do The O-Line Shuffle

The Eagles' injury situation along the offensive line was addressed on Tuesday when tackle Allen Barbre was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve with an ankle injury and All-Pro guard Evan Mathis was sent to Injured Reserve, Designate for Return, with a knee injury. Mathis can return for the Week 10 matchup against the Carolina Panthers.

The Eagles fortified the O-line by promoting rookie tackle/guard Kevin Graf from the practice squad. Graf started for three years at USC. The Eagles signed veteran guard Wade Smith, who was a Pro Bowl selection during his time in Houston from 2010-13. He did not miss a game in those four seasons. Smith was with Seattle in this year's preseason.

2. However, Eagles Also Lost A Key Reserve

However, the Eagles also lost their top reserve at inside linebacker in Najee Goode, who was placed on Injured Reserve with a pectoral injury. The Eagles promoted Emmanuel Acho from the practice squad. Acho played in six games for the Eagles last season. The Eagles also have Casey Matthews, who is a key special teams player.

In Sunday's win, Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans had to handle the inside linebacker duties. Kendricks played on all 73 defensive snaps, while Ryans was only out of the game for all of two plays. They were the team's two leading tacklers - Kendricks had 13 tackles, a sack and three quarterback hurries; Ryans had 10 tackles. Remember, Ryans led the league in defensive snaps last season.

3. Sunday's Unsung Hero: NT Bennie Logan

On the stat sheet, nose tackle Bennie Logan had two tackles. Nothing flashy. But he was a key reason why Kendricks and Ryans were able to be so productive in Sunday's win over Jacksonville.

"One of our MVPs of the defense the other day was Bennie Logan, who did an outstanding job controlling the middle of the line of scrimmage and allow both of our (inside) linebackers to run clean," said head coach Chip Kelly in his sitdown interview on Tuesday's Eagles 360. "Those things don't show up on the stats."

Kelly explained that sometimes the players who have the biggest impact are the ones who don't accumulate the gaudy statistics.

"Sometimes people get lost in that it isn't fantasy football, it's reality football," Kelly said.

The Eagles allowed just 64 rushing yards on 25 carries, an average of 2.56 yards per rush. The longest run allowed against Jacksonville went for 11 yards.

4. Kelly: We Didn't Give Up On Brandon Graham

When Kelly was hired and started the transition to a 3-4 scheme on defense, Brandon Graham wasn't a perfect fit. A downhill attacker from his days at Michigan, the former first-round pick had found his niche as an edge rusher posting a career-high 5.5 sacks and 50 tackles in 2012. Graham had never dropped back in coverage, but he persevered and the coaches worked with him.

After a tremendous preseason, Graham had three tackles on defense, all for a loss, and a crushing, knockout blow on special teams in Sunday's win. He was on the field for 25 snaps, which was more than all of three games (including playoffs) in 2013.

"Another guy that I thought really stepped up," Kelly said. "A guy that some people had written off. Fortunately, we didn't. I think there's a spot and a role for him in what we do. I think he's a dynamic player in terms of being able to rush the passer and set the edge in the run game. He's a physical player at the point of attack."

Kelly also praised Graham for his ability to spell linebacker Trent Cole without much of a drop-off.

5. Tonight: Mitchell & Ness Founder Talks Eagles Uniforms

The founder of the legendary American sportswear brand Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Company, Peter Capolino, will give a free talk tonight at the Fleisher Art Museum located at 719 Catharine Street in Philadelphia beginning at 6 PM. The talk is free and open to everyone.

Capolino will weave the lore of uniform changes over time, with insights into the graphics, colors and even font choices. Learn how the textile industry and fabrics have evolved since the beginnings of the Philadelphia Eagles, as he traces the Eagles' uniforms from 1933 thru 1993. The talk will focus on the period from 1933 thru 1963, when Mitchell & Ness was the official uniform supplier of the Eagles.

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