Philadelphia Eagles News

If Needed, Corey Graham Ready To Expand Role

When you've been around the NFL for as long as Corey Graham has – he's in his 12th season – you make sure to be prepared for any scenario. Nothing fazes you. In terms of this league, you've seen it all and done it all.

So if the knee injury suffered by safety Rodney McLeod turns out to be something that will keep him out of Sunday's game at Tennessee or if it impacts his long-term availability this season – McLeod has not practiced this week – Graham is ready if his number is called.

"If I have to play more plays, I'll be prepared," said Graham, in his second season with the Eagles. "It really won't change much if it happens. I was already playing a lot (Graham played in 40 snaps against Atlanta, 16 snaps against Tampa Bay, and 47 on Sunday against Indianapolis) so this is nothing new to me. It's just more plays. If we do this, I'll be in the same role, playing the same way, and it would just be more plays. Playing with Malcolm (Jenkins) is nothing new. We've been on the same page.

"This is what you prepare for in this league. You know you are always one play away."

Graham joined the Eagles prior to the 2017 regular season and became a key contributor as the Eagles used three safeties on the field, with Jenkins down in the box as a quasi-linebacker big enough to help against the run and rangy enough to help in coverage in the passing game. The Eagles overcame key injuries on the way to winning Super Bowl LII (Graham played in 64 snaps that game) and now they're faced with similar challenges early in 2018.

The team's "next man up" philosophy is being tested once again.

"We're all ready. This is our job," Graham said. "You have no choice but to be ready. Everybody knows his job and what he's supposed to do, so that there really isn't a big drop-off. We're confident with all of our guys. They all know the system."

If you stick around the NFL for long enough, you learn that you have be ready all the time. Graham understands the big picture. His role could change substantially, even if his on-field responsibilities don't change a whole lot.

"I think it would just be more plays," Graham said. "And it won't be just one guy. We'll figure it out. We'll all still have our role in our packages. All of the defensive backs we have can cover. That's something that (defensive coordinator Jim) Schwartz wants us to have. We just have to be ready to step up if we are called on."

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