Eagles DE Brandon Graham said Wednesday that a major key for the Eagles defense this season is that the front office “Got everybody who was a cancer out [of the locker room].”
Though just through two games, the Eagles defense has made quite a turn around from 2011.
Last season the Birds squandered five fourth quarter leads and allowed a stunning 112 yards per game rushing. This season, they have tightened up and have yet to allow a 100 yard rusher through two games and have held opponents out of the endzone in six of the first eight quarters.
When asked about the biggest key to the turnaround, defensive end Brandon Graham could have talked about the familiarity of Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo’s scheme in the second year, some of the additions, or even the depth along the front seven as contributing factors.
However, the third-year defensive end chose to go a different direction.
“I just think the leadership,” Graham summarized. “They got everybody out that was the cancer as they say. But I feel like everyone is more focused, determined and we had that taste last year of not going and don’t want to go through that same feeling again this year.”
When pressed, Graham didn’t back down on his thoughts of there being a locker room cancer among the defense in 2011.
“That’s what they say,” He said. “It’s showing now that we are doing better. I don’t know if that was the case, but I’ll let the front office do what they have to do. I guess, with them doing that and seeing what we’re doing this year that shows that there was a cancer.”
Graham, who played a total of nine defensive snaps against the Ravens in week two refused to name names when asked, however one can easily draw their own conclusion as to who he may have been referring to. The only departures from the Bird’s defense this season were Victor Abiamiri, Juqua Parker and Asante Samuel.
Samuel of course was equally as famous for being outspoken as he was for being a ballhawk on the field. On October 27th 2011 Samuel was critical of members of the Eagles front office and their lack of football experience.
“Couple people upstairs might not want me, but who cares. They’ve probably never played football,” Samuel said. “It’s a business and they run it like a business and they’re going to do what they need to do. They’re playing with a lot of money, playing fantasy football, doing their thing.”
Regardless of the reason, and though the sample size is small, the Eagles defense ranks fourth in the NFL in total defense heading into week four’s matchup with the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ.