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The Linc: Brandon Graham relentlessly pursues vindication

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He’s been a beast this year.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles news and links for 10/6

Brandon Graham’s relentless pursuit to erase the memory of Earl Thomas - Eagles Rewind

Even after Graham’s play improved, praise was always given with the Earl Thomas caveat: “yea, but he’s no Earl Thomas.” “Even now, I hear everybody. It’s already talk on my Twitter,” Graham quipped back in 2014. Graham has resorted to blocking out the noise, both figuratively and literally, especially on Twitter.

But Graham has finally found a scheme that fits his strengths, something Jim Schwartz recognized this offseason. And it’s paid immediate dividends. Through three games, Graham has 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 7 tackles. PFF.com rates Graham as the 4th best edge rusher in the NFL, behind only Von Miller, Carlos Dunlap and Nick Perry. So while Graham isn’t an All Pro talent like Thomas, he is producing at a high enough level to warrant retiring the “he’s not Earl Thomas” talk.

Graham doesn’t overpower players with his size: he’s 6’2, 269 lbs, he doesn’t have a flashy spin move like Dwight Freeney, and he’s not an athletic freak like Jevon Kearse. But what Graham lacks in measurables and flash, he overcomes with a relentless motor.

Indeed, if there was one word to describe Brandon Graham, it would be relentless. He rarely gives up on a play; and it’s that lunch-pail mentality that should (at least by now) endear him to a blue collar city like Philadelphia

Eagles linebacker Stephen Tulloch prepares for return to Detroit - Inquirer

Each week, Stephen Tulloch receives text messages from players in Detroit. The Lions’ three starting linebackers – DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead, and Kyle Van Noy – all played with Tulloch and shared a meeting room with him in previous years.

“I’ve seen those guys grow up,” Tulloch said.

Tulloch, now an Eagles linebacker, returns to Detroit this week. There will be much attention paid during the next few days to Eagles defensive coordinator and former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, but Tulloch also returns to the city where he played five NFL seasons and exerted considerable philanthropic efforts.

"To be honest with you, it’s the business,” Tulloch said. “I’ve been in the NFL for 11 years now, and it was the first time I was let go. Last year in a contract there. But I understand it’s a business – new front office – and I’m very thankful to the organization for giving me a chance to come in there in 2011, lay my fingerprints on Detroit community. I’m looking forward to getting back there and interacting with the fans.”

Tulloch is a reserve linebacker with the Eagles whose understanding of Schwartz’s scheme after playing for Schwartz in Detroit and Tennessee has enhanced his value with the team. Schwartz has already mixed Tulloch in on defense to spell Jordan Hicks at middle linebacker, and Tulloch will continue to have a role on defense.

But a return to Detroit puts Tulloch in the news, and makes a Week 5 game even more personal.

Nigel Bradham on gun arrest: ‘Honest mistake’ - Birds 24/7

Nigel Bradham has been formally charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm and his trial hearing has been scheduled for January 17 at 9:30 a.m., according to the Miami-Dade County Criminal Justice Online System. TMZ first reported the news.

The Eagles linebacker said Wednesday afternoon he was unaware of having a January trial date and that his hearing isn’t until Friday, but court records show he had a hearing Wednesday morning at 9:30. The felony charge stems from a July incident when Bradham and several of his friends were allegedly involved in a physical altercation with a hotel employee.

Bradham also addressed his arrest over the weekend when airport security found a loaded gun in a zipper in one of his bags. Police found Bradham had no criminal intent, but because he was out on bond from his previous arrest, they briefly held him in custody before letting him out on bond.

“How does it happen? Just forgot. It’s as simple as that. Obviously, it was unintended,” Bradham said. “We got a lot of positive things to talk about right now and the fact that my name is involved in the negativity is very disappointing.”

O-Line takes game to a new level - PE.com

Brandon Brooks thinks back to the free agency period in March and the interest he received. He had options after playing four seasons in Houston, and he wanted to find the perfect fit. In the midst of making a decision on where to sign, Brooks read texts from Eagles linemen Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. It made a difference. That camaraderie continues to make a difference for the Eagles’ offensive line.

“They told me back then to come to Philadelphia because they were building something special,” Brooks said on Wednesday at his locker in the NovaCare Complex. “I think we’ve played well so far. We’ve put in a lot of work starting way back in the spring. Stout (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland) is a stickler for details and he’s an energetic guy who wants us to be perfect in everything we do. I’m not sure that’s possible, but it’s something we strive for.

“The camaraderie they talked about before I signed here, no doubt we have it, times five. We always push each other and we expect the most out of each other and we’re having a lot of fun. I think you play better and you play harder when you’re having fun.”

There have been a bunch of factors for the offensive line’s strong play in the three victories. Having all five starters together has been huge. The coaching staff has done a fantastic job of mixing up the play calls and keeping defenses off balance. Quarterback Carson Wentz, wise beyond his years, puts in the hours every day to know, top to bottom, the reads on what defenses are doing and how the Eagles adjust.

And then there is the play of the individuals up front, all of whom have been on point.