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McDermott: Graham Has Earned Promotion

The case of Brandon Graham's ascent to first-team left defensive end, according to defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, is one in which the rookie simply had outgrown his role.

"It's an overall process," McDermott said following Tuesday's practice. "You evaluate the big picture and then you take a look from there and see what you want to do. It's not just based on one game or one practice or one rep - that would be a knee-jerk reaction; this isn't a knee-jerk reaction. This is moving our defense forward and with (Juqua Parker) and Brandon included. They're both good football players.

"(He's) done a good job off the field ... taken (his) coaching and transfered it to the field extremely well. He was productive the first week. He was productive this week even more and so we're going to give him a shot and see what it looks like."

McDermott said Graham's promotion isn't an indictment of Parker at all, quite the contrary in fact.

Parker "has a big role, a huge role in this defense and he's played good football up to this point," McDermott said. "He set a career high in sacks (8.0) last year, so we've got two good football players at that position.

"The preseason's a time to evaluate personnel and take a look at some different combinations and Brandon's played well and we wouldn't be looking at this combination if he hadn't played well. We're taking it day by day."

McDermott added that nothing is set in stone, but with the regular season opener just over two weeks away, now is the time to experiment.

"It's a test for the whole defense and that's what the preseason's for, that's what training camp is - an opportunity to check out different combinations, evaluate personnel and see where we're best," he said. "In this case, Brandon's going to have a shot to start and we'll take a look at it from there."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:46 p.m., August 24

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