None of this is new for safety Corey Graham, who in his 11th NFL season with his fourth team. But there is a twist being with the Eagles, who signed Graham on August 3 and quickly fed him the nuts and bolts of a defense that he knows a bit about.
“It’s a Jim Schwartz defense. I played for him in Buffalo (in 2014) and it was a great experience,” said Graham, who started nine games for the Bills that season. “It’s a matter of learning the language, the terminology. You’re basically playing the same defense everywhere. It’s the terminology that confuses guys.”
Graham says he has caught up to the defense and that “it has slowed down for me, which is a good thing.” He’s expected to play a key role for the Eagles should he earn a roster spot, which is far from guaranteed.
The Eagles need depth at safety behind starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, and Graham is a strong candidate to be that much-needed third safety. Graham is coming off back-to-back seasons with 16 games in Buffalo in Rex Ryan’s defense, but when Ryan was fired, Graham was released in March and waited until the time and the opportunity was right to join another team.
When the Eagles called, Graham answered. He thinks he has fit in quickly.
“I feel like I’m good now. It takes like a week to get your footing underneath you and it took about a week to get the terminology down,” Graham said. “So I think I’m in a good place. I’m hoping I can get a chance to make some plays on Thursday night.”
Buffalo, naturally, comes to town for the second preseason game and with the Bills come a lot of familiar faces on both sides. Graham has former teammates on the other sideline, along with current Eagles like linebacker Nigel Bradham, cornerback Ron Brooks, safety Jaylen Watkins, and now cornerback Ronald Darby who played for Buffalo previously. Eagles all-time leading rusher LeSean McCoy plays for a second time in Philadelphia with the Bills.
Emotions aside, Graham wants to show up on the game tape.
“You can get only so many situations in practice, so in a game environment it’s important to work on angles and tackling,” Graham said. “I played mostly in the post last week, so I hope I can get into more plays, get my hands on the football in this game. It’s all part of getting ready for the regular season. This is nothing new. I’m ready to go.”