After a slow few days, the Eagles packed a weeks worth of news into the last few minutes.
Lost in the shuffle of Kevin Kolb being moved to Arizona for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round pick is that the team placed two key members of their team on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP).
Justice was a surprise addition to the PUP
Right tackle Winston Justice and defensive end Brandon Graham were placed on the PUP this afternoon. Both Justice and Graham would be starting players at key positions if healthy.
Graham going on the PUP was expected after tearing his ACL late last year. There is a good chance that he plays very little, if at all, this season. The team would not have invested into Babin had they expected Graham back anytime soon.
Justice was named the starter by Andy Reid at his introductory press conference, so either he got shocking news this morning or wasn’t completely honest yesterday. Geoff Mosher of the New Journal of Wilmington reports that Justice is only placed on the PUP for training camp, and could get good to go by the first week of the season. Still, its hard to believe he will miss all of the preseason, then step in week one and start.
In other news, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and cornerback Asante Samuel have been excused from training camp due to personal reasons. The team did not list the reasons for their absence or when they would return, but did say they were in contact with them.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham has more to gain then most in this lockout.
Busy rehabbing from a knee injury, Graham has been unable to meet with team doctors during the lockout- presumably putting him behind the 8 ball when it comes to getting ready for the season.
This afternoon, Graham took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
Chances are that most players are feeling the same way as Graham right now.
Here’s hoping this CBA gets signed soon, so players like Graham can get the proper treatment they need from offical team doctors.
With good news coming from the NFL negotiations, training camp may be closer then ever for Eagles players and fans. But one player who will not be participating is 2nd year defensive end Brandon Graham, who missed the second half of the season due to a tear of his anterior cruciate.
Brandon Graham missed the second half of the season after an injury against the Cowboys
While the exact kind of surgery Graham needed was not known at the time, reports are now being confirmed by Tim McManus of PhillySportsDaily.com that Graham did in fact undergo micro-fracture surgery. The standard recovery time for a surgery of that nature is 6-8 months, meaning that Graham would not be ready until late September or November at the earliest.
Any surgery as serious as micro-fracture surgery can have a devastating effect on a players career. But for Graham, the outcome could be even worse. Graham is a small defensive end, one that uses his speed to get around the edge and beat bigger offensive tackles. While the recovery time for micro-fracture surgery calls for a 6-8 months, it usually takes a year for a player to truly recover. If Graham is unable to regain his speed due to his surgery, it is unlikely he will ever be the same player he was at Michigan.
While he has not officially commented on the news, Graham took to Twitter to let his fans know the surgery is going.
Graham is a hard worker, and with medical advances around the ACL, anything is possible.
But let’s hope todays news is not another death blow to a highly picked Eagles defensive lineman.
Yesterday, a report by Adam Caplan of NFL Network said that the Eagles were interested in Ike Taylor, a cornerback that spend last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Juan Castillo wants to simplify things for his young playmakers on defense
Lost in that report was another nugget by Caplan. Caplan had some news about how new Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo’s defense may look. Here’s what Caplan had to report, per Pro Football Talk:
“Philadelphia is considering playing more zone coverage under first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in order to complement changes up front. Along the defensive line, new position coach Jim Washburn is implementing a wide nine philosophy in which both ends line up well outside of the offensive tackles trying to block them. The defensive tackles will be up-field pass rushers.”
This makes sense after what Castillo told me along with the other reporters at his introductory news conference. Castillo stressed that he wanted his defense to be an attack first defense. In order to do this, he talked about simplifying the defense so his players could react quicker. It’s been well documented about how rookies and some veterans had trouble grasping Ex-Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott’s schemes.
Zone coverage, if implemented correctly, would allow players like rookie safety Jaiquawn Jarrett to only worry about their zone, react quicker and make plays. A zone defense also requires a lot of trust amongst the players, which could be a problem if their is a short training camp- or no training camp at all. Castillo is famous for his over night film watching sessions, and it seems he will expect that from his players at fist to get the zone down.
Castillo also talked about playing to his defenses strengths, which is speed. This ties into the report that new Defensive Line Coach Jim Washburn is thinking of having his ends play outside of the offensive tackles. Players like Brandon Graham would benefit from such a system, as he would be able to use his speed to get around the guard, and not get held up on the line. Another player that would benefit from this could be Jason Babin, who could be brought in as a free agent.
One thing Castillo talked about at length during his press conference was his ability to use what he learned as a offensive line coach to help. Here is some footage I shot for Gcobb.com, where Castillo talks about how his knowledge could benefit the linebackers in particular.