That’s not to say pressures aren’t important, but give me the guy who consistently gets the quarterback on the ground with the ball still in his hands every single time.
I’m a Graham fan after watching his film. When I said Cole played the game the right way that was not meant to imply that Graham doesn’t. In fact, if you like a defensive end who is intentionally physical all game long, it doesn’t get much better than Graham.
He may not look all that imposing at 6’2 and 265 pounds, but he reminds me a lot of another guy who used to be an edge rusher for the Eagles (Hugh Douglas) in that a lot of his weight is in his lower body. This is a dude who obviously does not skip leg day and it shows. Like Douglas, he explodes out of his hips to knock people on their ass. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s a run or a pass, or whether Graham is blitzing, trying to play off a blocker or dropping into coverage. I can guarantee you he is going to find a way to knock the shit out of somebody on just about every single play.
Well, for some reason he wasn’t cleared to practice the first few days of training camp, adding to the intrigue surrounding him. When he finally was given the green light to practice, he wore a helmet, shoulder pads and pants that all looked way too big for him. The coaches decided to hold him out from practicing against the first- and second-team defense since it was his first day in pads. Instead, they elected to give him some reps when the third-team offense went against the third-team defense.
I’d just been moved that fall from linebacker to defensive end, so I was over with my defensive line coach at the time, Ray Hamilton, trying to learn the finer points of the position. At one point, Coach Hamilton happened to look over to see how the backup guys were practicing and saw Garner break off an absolutely amazing run behind one of the worst offensive lines I have ever seen.
Suddenly I heard coach Hamilton scream out almost involuntarily, “WHO THE FUCK IS THAT?!”