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Getty Eagles DE Brandon Graham has big goals entering his 10th NFL season.

It’s only the beginning of August but let the NFL trash talking begin. Brandon Graham, never shy with his bravado, took to Instagram to put the league on notice.

The Eagles defensive end posted an image of him tackling former Falcons star Devonta Freeman in the backfield with the intimidating caption: “We Smacking S*** All Year!” It was an obvious reference to how menacing he expects the Eagles’ defense to be in 2020, especially with the additions of shutdown cornerback Darius Slay and pass-rushing nose tackle Javon Hargrave.

Graham himself led the Eagles after recording a team-high 8.5 sacks in 2019.

There were a ton of funny comments underneath the post, including teammate Shareef Miller proclaiming “Big Facts” and former Eagle Wendell Smallwood saying: “They better think twice bout cutting back with you on that edge!.” There was also a telling comment from the man being manhandled in the photo as Freeman stated: “That’s that BullS*** I be talking bout.”

Freeman’s timing was impeccable as Philadelphia has been linked endlessly to signing the two-time Pro Bowl running back in free agency throughout the offseason. The Eagles reportedly flirted with Freeman but the asking price was too high. The 28-year-old wants around $6 million and turned down a previous offer of $4 million from Seattle. The Eagles don’t want to shell out more than the veteran minimum of $1 million, that is if they even still want to sign another rusher. There are mixed reports about that.

View this post on Instagram

We Smacking S*** All Year! #year11 #teamgraham55 #eagles

A post shared by Brandon Graham (@sack_55) on Jul 30, 2020 at 12:50pm PDT

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Eagles Not in Market for Veteran Running Back

Despite Doug Pederson admitting that the Eagles wanted to add a veteran running back behind Miles Sanders, the team never went out and signed one. Carlos Hyde went to the Seahawks and LeSean McCoy inked with the Buccaneers after both players had been rumored of interest to Philly.

On Friday, Eagles assistant head coach Duce Staley — he also serves as running backs coach — told reporters that he likes his running backs room the way it is and plans to let Sanders carry the load. In not so uncertain terms, Staley made it sound like the team wasn’t interested in adding another player.

RB coach Duce Staley on his group: “I’m very happy with my room and everybody’s role” when asked if he feels the need to add a veteran RB to the roster. #FlyEaglesFly

— Dave Spadaro (@EaglesInsider) July 31, 2020

“I have a hell of a room. I’m very happy with my room and everybody’s role,” Staley said.

He went on to offer support for veterans Corey Clement and Boston Scott, along with praising undrafted rookie free agents Adrian Killins and Michael Warren II. The Eagles also have 215-pound bruiser Elijah Holyfield on the depth chart. Let’s see how it all shakes out there. In the meantime, Staley is confident in Sanders.

“I’m excited about Miles,” Staley said. “I’m excited about him handling the full load. I don’t see Miles as a guy you have to monitor his touches — 15 here, maybe 15 rushes, five passes — no, I don’t see him that way. I think you put him in and you let him go.”

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Eagles May Have Veteran CB to Replace Jalen Mills on Roster

Getty Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys & Rasul Douglas of the Philadelphia Eagles

When the Eagles moved Jalen Mills to safety, the raging debate over his replacement centered on only two players: Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox.

Wait a minute. Did Rasul Douglas get traded in the offseason? No, he certainly did not. And the former third-round pick out of West Virginia has reported to camp with a certifiable chip on his shoulder. Douglas recently claimed he’s in a “great space mentally” and the cornerback’s workout videos have shown how hard he’s been honing his trade.

If it’s indeed an open competition for the starting job, as Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz indicated, do not sleep on Douglas winning it. He has already received two huge votes of confidence this offseason — one from his footwork trainer, Rischad Whitfield, and another from the man he hopes to start opposite from in Week 1, Darius Slay.

“Rasul is a great guy, man, hard worker, got a lot of jokes,” Slay told reporters on Monday. “I told him I’ll teach him everything I know because like I said I want him to be a sponge to me. I want him to feed off whatever I got and learn everything he can.”

I’m in a great space mentally .

— rasul (@rd32_era) August 10, 2020

“I was in the same position he was in, with guys like [former Lions cornerbacks] Rashean Mathis, Chris Houston,” Slay continued. “All the older guys and I just sponge ’em. I’m in the vet mode, Year 8 and he’s in Year 4 … I just want to put him in a position where he can be the best he can be.”

Big facts!!

— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) August 11, 2020

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Schwartz Addresses Open Competition at CB

The Eagles are going to put the best 11 guys they have on the field. It’s not exactly rocket science to figure that out. More importantly, they want hybrid players in a revamped secondary looking to bounce back after a roller-coaster ride in 2019.

Schwartz mentioned Slay would travel and shadow the opposing team’s top receiver but he didn’t rule out the Pro Bowl corner seeing some snaps in the slot. Nickell Robey-Coleman will most likely hold down the nickel corner spot but he’ll be asked to turn outside in certain looks and formations, too.

Considering Douglas’ versatility — he has seen time at safety and nickel corner over the years, although his struggles have been well-documented — the 24-year-old will get a shot to carve out a role for himself in 2020. While his critics might say Douglas lacks the “long speed” necessary to keep up with fast wideouts, that may not matter. He was getting beat due to footwork and leverage issues, per Whitfield.

“He’s going to be the starter coming out of training camp,” Whitfield said of Douglas. “If you watch Rasul, everybody thought he was just getting beat by speed. He really wasn’t. He was getting beat before the receiver turned on the speed. It was a footwork and leverage issue. His technique was good. His hips weren’t as fluid. We’ve been working so hard.”

Athlete: @AveryGenard
Position: DE
Team: @Eagles ????

Quick Lateral movement.
Flipping the Hips.

Watch how quick and controlled Genard moves laterally – flips hips straight into a Bend – ALL in one fluid movement! Feet never stops! Elite!

— Footwork_King ???????? (@footwork_king1) July 7, 2020

It’s maybe not a great sign that Schwartz didn’t mention Douglas by name when evaluating his corners earlier this month. Then again, the implication was that the older guys on the roster will have an edge over the newcomers and rookies. The starting spot opposite Slay is very much up for grabs.

“There will be open competition there,” Schwartz said. “We’ll have a lot of different guys. One of the reasons for a lot of the things that have happened to us over the years is we’ve had a lot of different guys play because of injuries in the secondary and that’s tough during the season but what it’s done is it’s given us a lot of different options — guys that have played a lot of football.”

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