Brandon Graham Reveals Eagles' Advantage over Cowboys, Giants, Redskins

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 05: Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during the NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field on January 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Defensive end Brandon Graham believes continuity will be a big key to the Philadelphia Eagles' success in 2020.

In an interview with Chris McPherson of the Eagles' official website, Graham suggested Philadelphia is better prepared to handle a truncated training camp and preseason than its NFC East foes: "I'm all-in. It's all about having an advantage, and I feel like we've got an advantage right now. We've got the same coach. All we have to do is make sure that we take this offseason like we're supposed to."

Teams haven't met in person this offseason because of coronavirus-related restrictions, which is an especially big challenge for squads with new coaching staffs and significant roster turnover.

Doug Pederson is returning this season as the Eagles' head coach, while the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Washington Redskins all have new head coaches.

After going just 8-8 and losing the division crown to the Eagles last season, the Cowboys moved on from Jason Garrett after he spent parts of 10 years as Dallas' head coach. In his place, the Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

The Giants fired Pat Shurmur after he went just 9-23 in two seasons at the helm. His replacement is former New England Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge, who has never been a head coach before.

Washington fired Jay Gruden last year in the midst of his sixth season as the Redskins' head coach after the team started 0-5. The Redskins went 3-8 under interim head coach Bill Callahan, but the permanent job was given to Ron Rivera, who spent the past nine seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers.

Rivera went 76-63-1 in Carolina and led the Panthers to a 15-1 record and Super Bowl appearance during the 2015 season.

Meanwhile, Pederson has brought consistency and stability to the Eagles since joining them as their head coach in 2016. They went just 7-9 in his first season but have made three consecutive playoff appearances since.

Philly went 13-3 in 2017 and won its first Super Bowl in franchise history, with Nick Foles replacing the injured Carson Wentz at quarterback late in the year. The Eagles went 9-7 and earned a wild-card berth in 2018 and then went 9-7 again and won the NFC East for the second time in three years last season.

The Eagles' 2019 campaign ended in disappointment when they fell to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Round, but the fact that Wentz was knocked from the contest with a head injury and missed most of the game played a significant role.

Pederson and Wentz are back for the 2020 season, as are several key defensive players, including Graham, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and defensive end Derek Barnett.

The Cowboys may be the most talented team in the NFC East, but that was the case last year as well, and they couldn't manage better than a .500 record. Meanwhile, the Giants and Redskins should both be improved, but they are both a year or two away from contending for a playoff spot.

The NFC East figures to come down to the Eagles vs. the Cowboys, and if COVID-19 impacts training camp and the preseason significantly, the advantage could go to Philadelphia because of the familiarity the players and coaching staff have with one another.