As I'm sure many of you do, I was perusing some practice recaps last night and watching some highlights and three particular guys struck me. All three have been making strides this summer and all three could be stories of redemption.
The local guys have been raving about Brandon Graham since the start of training camp. He's arguably been the Eagles best defensive player. So its always good when one of the national guys stops by and gets the same impression. Here's what ESPN's Dan Graziano had to say about Graham when he stopped by Lehigh.
Graham looks fantastic. He was the star of those one-on-one lineman drills and looked good in the 11-on-11s as well.
We've also been hearing good things about Jaiquwan Jarrett in this camp. After a largely lost season last year and murmurs that the Eagles coaches had soured on him over the summer, Jarrett has seemingly come alive since the pads went on Lehigh. We've heard reports of some major hits he's put on, but JimmyK also singled out his coverage for praise yesterday.
Finally, while we've talked a lot about Juan Castillo's ability to master the X's & O's and pick the right players for his defense... we haven't discussed his man management a lot. Castillo was so well liked by his offensive lines that I think a lot of us assumed that he'd at least carry that part over to the defense. But Tommy Lawlor made a good point yesterday about Juan dialing things back this year. There's no photos of him head-butting guys in helmets this year and as Tommy points out, he's not overselling guys either.
One more sign of Castillo's growth as DC is that he's not over-praising players this year and isn't over-using them either. Chaney was supposed to be the star of the defense. Casey Matthews was the starting MLB and on the #1 Nickel. This time around Kendricks is a starter, but is just on the #2 Nickel unit. Let him get his feet wet instead of overwhelming him with a bunch of different responsibilities.
Those are three guys who at the end of last season we were all pretty down on, but so far at Lehigh seem to have been turning it around. I'm looking forward to seeing them carry this through the preseason.