Brandon Graham Offers Insight into Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Plans?

By Langley McGhee
Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

Nobody knows for sure what type of offense or defense the Philadelphia Eagles will run in the upcoming 2013 NFL season. As far as the defensive plans, most speculation has been centered around new Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis. It was widely opined that coach Davis would implement a 4-3 “Under” scheme, which looks like a 3-4 alignment to the naked eye. However, it is actually a 4-3 defense that employs an extra rusher nicknamed the “Predator”. This defense calls for more LBs in the base formation leading many to believe that it is a version of the 3-4.

Either way, the truth remains that the Eagles have not made any official announcements about which defensive scheme will be utilized this upcoming season. However, in a recent phone interview, Eagles DE Brandon Graham may have offered enough insight into these plans to help us at least formulate an educated guess, rather than continued speculation.

“I think linebacker is where I’m going to be — outside linebacker,” said Graham in a phone conversations with Birds 24/7.

This simple sentence tips us to the fact that Davis will employ either a 3-4 defensive scheme, which he does have previous experience in, or the tweaked version of the 4-3 that’s been widely speculated. Graham expects to be very much in the forefront of the Eagles defensive plans next season. As he excelled last season when given playing time, and continued to excel when he was named the replacement for released DE Jason Babin.

Graham said that last season he played at or around 270-275 and is working to get to around 260. This will help him transition to OLB and move better in space. It has been a while but he does have experience at the LB position, most notably at MLB in high school. He was considered one of the top linebacker prospects in the country by his senior season.

“Brandon was a middle linebacker so he’s been up on two feet, he’s done it before,” said new Eagles outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern. “What we want to find out is, if a guy can stand up and go, great. If a guy can stand up and go and drop, even better. If a guy can do it all, that’s what you want.”

Before the 2010 NFL Draft, Graham drew comparisons to Pittsburgh Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley and was lauded as a great fit as a 3-4 OLB. His transition from 4-3 DE to OLB should not be as difficult as many may imagine and he appears confident in the move.

“I think once I get in the groove it will come natural for me,” he said. “I’m just trying to be prepared for whatever. At the end of the day I am a ballplayer – I’ll adjust and find a way to get out on the field.”

Hopefully we will soon hear an official announcement on the defensive scheme the Eagles plan to use. Until then, nice tidbits of information from players will just have to do.

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