Brandon Graham’s enthusiasm for his 11th year in the NFL hasn’t been dampened by this isolated, virtual offseason. In fact, the juices are flowing as high as ever for the veteran defensive end, because the way he sees it, the Philadelphia Eagles head into an unprecedented 2020 campaign with a leg up on the competition, especially in the NFC East.
I’m all-in because it’s all about having an advantage, and I feel like we have an advantage right now, Graham said. We’ve got the same coach. All we’ve got to do is make sure we take this offseason like we’re supposed to.
While their rivals race to install new systems and adapt to foreign terminology, the Eagles are merely building on a foundation cemented over the past four years.
In theory, such fluency should prove beneficial in an offseason in which teams have yet to train together because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The only comparable situation in recent history was the 2011 season. A labor dispute led to a lockout that started in late March and lasted until July 25, forcing all teams into crash-course mode once the NFL season commenced.
Stability proved key then. Five of the eight division winners that 2011 season had a head coach entering at least his sixth season with the team, while John Harbaugh was going into his fourth season with the Baltimore Ravens. On average, playoff teams had a coach that had been at the helm for more than five years.