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Graham has been looking really good. Strangely enough though, he seems to be struggling with King Dunlap, who has got himself up to about 330-335 it looks. Dunlap has made great progress every year, and is continuing to do so. I am much more confident in him being the backup LT (and RT, since he's been getting time there as well, and is handling Graham better than any of our other O-linemen) than even last year. He makes big strides every season, and with his body, he is beginning to develop into a good O-linemen at the NFL level.
I haven't had time to get on over the weekend, but I was at each practice over the weekend (except Saturday morning) and I'll share some extra tidbits.
Sims is still impressing, showing his speed and ability to hit. He almost took Mike Bell's head off in the morning practice when Bell was hung up in the pile. Jordan took over duties as starting SLB yesterday, for how long, we'll see, but Reid and McDermott made it seem like the team will be rotating in a lot of guys at SLB and testing how it works. I would be perfectly fine with Jordan there, he's a player I like on the field. I expect Fokou to get more time there, Gaither could see some time at SLB (he's the first LB to sub in at all three positions if someone would go down), and Chaney could also get worked in at SLB, maybe even Clayton. But its obvious with who the team has playing at SLB, there has been a change in philosophy about what the team wants out of the SLB position. With Gocong, run stopping was the number one priority, then coverage, then blitzing. With the current group of guys they have at SLB, priorities have been adjusted. First priority is coverage, followed closely by stopping the run, and then blitzing. With this change in philosophy, it will be an interesting battle to watch for that spot, as there are 4 players who could be in the starting spot week 1.
Riley Cooper is already a fan favorite, and whether he likse it or not, will have many people calling him "Sunshine". But he has been impressive the last few days, very impressive. He is HUGE, GE 77 will tell you, but he is jacked too, and veins poping out everywhere. He has been abusing Hobbs, both before and after the whistle, and has taken advantage of most of our CBs. That rivalry with Hobbs, I have a feeling it won't be too friendly, as he has been jabbering to Hobbs every time he makes a play over him, and it happens enough to piss Hobbs off. But the one thing about Cooper that has me jizzing my pants is he and Juan Castillo are constantly talking going over blocking. I've seen Castillo talk to him in the last week of TC more than I've seen him work with all the other WRs combined. As I've said before, he can block, and that alone will boost his stock with the team and get him on the field. But he has some serious speed, he was running a streak and tracked down a Kolb ball down the right sideline, blew past Asante and sneaking between the sideline marker and Allen to make a hell of a TD catch, which took some serious afterburers. I see him firmly entrenched at the #4 WR spot already, he has been impressing that much.
The DL is going to be nasty, probably the best I would ever remember seeing. Cole, Graham, Tapp, and DTN all are impressing me a lot, and Juqua Parker and Ricky Sapp are looking very good as well. Sapp is the weakest link of the group, but he is out there making plays and getting work done. I loved the Tapp addition in the offseason, and still do. He ran down one of our WRs 40 yards downfield from the opposite side and made a TD saving tackle. He has a stockier build than all our other DEs, and still has the athletecism. We'll see a lot of him on the DL, and he will help keep the productuion up for all our DEs. At DT, we all know what we have in Bunk and Patterson, and Dixon is continuing to impress, Jeff Owens and Boor Robinson have been looking very good, but unfortunately, Laws hasn't done much and could see his spot on the roster in jeopardy. Having Dixon and Owens on the DL and having Tapp and Graham on the ends isn't fair for our backup O-linemen, especially when its the third stringers.
The CB group is doing better than I expected, however I still expect them to be the weakness of the team. It is strange seeing anyone else besides Sheldon wearing 24, but Macho Harris is looking pretty good, though having struggles against Avant and Cooper. Lindley is performing better than I expected, and has made some plays, but like GE 77 mentioned in his post, he has a slight frame, and that worries me a bit. Lindley has struggled with Cooper since the opening of camp, but many of our CBs have, Hanson has one and lost some battles with Cooper, and Asante has don a good job against him. Maclin has been causing issues for out CBs, which is promising for him.
Our Safety group is looking very good. Mikell is doing well, and looks more like his '08 self than last year. Allen is sticking out to me more than any player besides Cooper. I expect him and Mikell to be a very good S duo for a while. Coleman has been a very pleasant surprise. For a guy who was touted as an in the box type of safety, he sure makes a lot of plays everywhere else. His footwork is great, he has good hands, and is a smart player out there. With further developement, we may be looking at the future replacement for Mikell when his time here is up.
I agree about Cooper, he's the real deal. He is that big possession receiver that eagles fans have been clamoring for (no Hank Baskett does not count), he's a very good blocker like you mentioned EATW, and he should also be a gunner on special teams. I think our top 4 receivers may be set for at least the next 4 years.
EATW, who do you see being the fav to replace Brown in TC?
Right now Hobbs has been getting almost all the reps at first team RCB, so its his job to lose right now. None of the other CBs are truly playing a step above him right now, so it'd be hard to say anyone will take it over right now, but if anyone does, it'll be Hanson (who I think is playing marginally better right now) or Macho (who I think is playing marginally worse).
IDK, I was wondering the same thing. His play doesn't fit that of a DE, but perhaps they were trying him there for when they have some 3-4 sets to see how it would work. That is the only thing I could think of, but why not just put the team in a 3-4 alignment then.
Just throwing this out there, but Brandon Graham has apparently already started running with the first team. He is also apparently raping fools. That is all.
Yea, he's started working in since Sunday afternoon. Its what I expected, half way through the preseason I expect him to be firmly entrenched as the starting LE. It doesn't really mean much though because we have 3 or 4 non-starting DEs who will see a lot of playing time anyway.
He is absolutely unstoppable in the OL/DL drills. He has so many different moves in his repertoire and knows how to use each one at the right time and seems to get past the blocker effortlessly. I really expect him to have a big year this year.
Hold on, let me act surprised. He apparently raped Winston Justice badly yesterday.
In two of their matchups I saw, yea, but I also saw Justice neutralize him very well twice in their OL/DL 1 on 1s. Dunlap has had the best time with him. His long arms probably help, but he has gotten much better in his technique, and bends his knees much better than in previous seasons. But even Dunlap has had some problems with him, its actually been one of the more interesting matchups I like to watch, because they are two different body types with two different ways that they got to the team (one being a first rounder, the other being a 7th, IIRC).