Philadelphia Eagles pass rusher Brandon Graham hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that came with being a top-13 pick in the NFL draft. In five seasons, the former Michigan standout has racked up a total of 17.5 career sacks.
While Graham has taken on a larger role in the Eagles’ defense over the past three seasons, he played inconsistently in his first two years with the team.
According to Graham, those first two years were a low point in his career. That’s not because he didn’t see the field a lot. Instead, Graham points to former Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn:
“The low point was when Wash was here. That was my low point,” Graham said, via CSN Philly. “Because Wash would make you feel bad, boy. Like you can’t play at all.”
Washburn, now a position coach with the Detroit Lions, has a reputation for being tough-as-nails on his players. He began his coaching career with Southern Methodist in 1976, and entered the NFL ranks as the defensive line coach for the Tennessee Titans in 1999.
Interestingly, Washburn’s mentality as a coach is one of the reasons former Eagles head man Andy Reid fired him in 2012. Their personalities seemed to clash during Wash’s time with the team.
As it relates to Washburn’s tenure in Detroit, he did some amazing work with the likes of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley over the past two seasons. With a reshuffled defensive line this year after both of those players left in free agency, it will be interesting to see how the Lions’ defensive line performs in 2015.
For Graham, he’s pretty much entrenched in as the Eagles’ starting right outside linebacker this season. Things are looking up under a new position coach, so it’s now up to Graham to take that next step in his career. If not, he won’t have anyone else to blame but himself.
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