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The Read-Option: Graham's Mission


Happy Friday, Eagles fans! The weekend is almost here, and while you wait for it to start, take a look at some of the latest Eagles content in the December 18th edition of the Read-Option ...

Mychal Kendricks: Perception Vs. Reality - Alex Smith

"Over the years, Kendricks has heard it all. Throughout his football career, going back to his college days at  the University of California and the time leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft, he's had his detractors. In response, he's elevated his game with each step along the way.

'College and the draft, they all said that. 'You're kinda small aren't ya?'' said the 25-year old. 'I just looked them up and down and I knew that the people saying that didn't want anything to do with me, so I didn't want anything to do with them. I think I've proven the world wrong with that. I do things differently because of my stature.

'There have been plenty of linebackers that have done this before me that are my same size. (Former New England Patriots linebacker)Teddy Bruschi wasn't too big. There have been people to do it before me, but I just feel like in terms of blitzing, penetration in the backfield and being able to react and be step for step with the back and my ability to pass rush and get into holes that normally linebackers can't get through, I can and that sets me a part.'

Earlier this season, head coach Chip Kelly spoke at a press conference about the difference between the outside perception of the Eagles' team and what the reality was. Despite a three-game losing streak and media pundits left and right speculating Kelly's move to the hottest college opening, Kelly wanted to show to his players that what goes on in the building is all that matters, and he used Kendricks' situation as a primary example.

'A lot of reports that are put in the media, like Mychal Kendricks, that we don't like Mychal Kendricks, and that he doesn't fit our prototype of what we are looking for in a linebacker. ... And all of a sudden, we re-sign Mychal Kendricks,' Kelly said. 'What is reported is the perception. The reality is that we think Mychal is a great fit in terms of what we do, so there is a litany of them. The problem is I think a lot of people can get sidetracked with what the perceptions are, and we have to really focus on the reality.'"

Tweet Of The Day

Help that number grow & earn two pairs of helmet wing decals by donating to #HelpKidsSoar: — EaglesYouthPartnrshp (@EYP) December 17, 2015

Green Exposure: Week 18

Leading up to #BackInBlack against the Cardinals, we look back to past Cardinals Vs. Eagles games in which the Eagles sported black uniforms. View the full gallery here...

Kelly: Emphasis On The X-Plays - Alex Smtih

"Preventing big plays is important for the Eagles' defense every week, but even more so this week against an Arizona offense that loves to air it out and take the lid off of opposing defenses. Last season, the Eagles let Cardinals receiver John Brown get behind them for a 75-yard touchdown to win the game, so shutting down the X-plays will surely be on the top of the Eagles' minds this week.

'I think we need to continue to improve, but I think we've done a better job,' Kelly said. 'Obviously last year it was really our Achilles heel in terms of being able to get off the field and giving up huge chunks of yardage in the X-play category.

'I think that we are better this year. The statistics will tell you that, but we still need to improve from that aspect and that's really the big emphasis especially against this team because they may have the most coming in. They do such a good job of getting the ball and pushing it down the field. They've got outstanding speed out there and it's something that you really need to be conscious of, especially against this team.'"

Chip Kelly Breaks Down The Tape

Other Views

Brandon Graham's Mission: Get To Carson Palmer - Mike Sielski, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Like most pass-rushers, Brandon Graham likes a quarterback who's easy to find. Tom Brady. Eli Manning. Carson Palmer. He'd rather line up across from those quarterbacks, as accomplished and skilled as they are, than he would against one who can scurry and scramble and will abandon the pocket for the sake of saving himself and extending the play. Graham is one of the Eagles' two starting outside linebackers. He's tied for the team lead in sacks with 61/2. He prefers an immobile target.

'I like my chances against a Brady because if you take away that first read, they're going to have no choice but to stand there,' said Graham, who had two sacks in the Eagles' victory over the Patriots earlier this month. 'It's all about taking away that first read.'

If forcing Brady to hold the football a heartbeat or two longer than he wanted was a key to the upset that, for the moment, seems to have turned around the Eagles' season, it's even more vital to their chances Sunday against Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals.

At 11-2, the Cardinals have the NFL's most thrilling offense, featuring a system, a quarterback, and a set of wide receivers that seem a throwback to the Oakland Raiders of the 1960s or the St. Louis Rams of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Palmer has thrown for 4,003 yards and 31 touchdowns. Arizona's offense has produced an NFL-high 59 plays of 20 yards or more. And the Cardinals have allowed just 21 sacks, tied for the fourth-fewest in the league."

Huff Confident In Matchup Vs. Arizona - Matt Lombardo, NJ Advance Media

"Q: I know you only lined up one-on-one against Patrick Peterson once or twice last year, but when you watch him on tape, what is it that separates him from the rest and cements his status as one of the elite?

Josh Huff: He's just a physical specimen. You normally don't see guys his size playing defensive back. Obviously he brings something to the table that most defensive backs don't have and that's size and strength. He's definitely physical. He has a lot of speed. He's one of the great cornerbacks in the league.

Q: Obviously one of the strengths to your game is your speed and acceleration. How do you think you match up against what he does?

Huff: I didn't really push him downfield or anything when we played them last year. I just ran a lot of underneath routes. I think I have a chance to beat any cornerback that I line up against. That's just the confidence I have. Patrick Peterson is a really tough corner, but I'm definitely looking forward to the competition and challenge of lining up against him."

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