Brandon Graham has been waiting for this opportunity for awhile. The rookie defensive end hasn’t started since Week Four, when Juqua Parker took over the starting job. The veteran was chosen for a variety of reasons – he had four sacks in four games, was a better run defender and Graham was battling a few minor injuries.
Since becoming the starter, Parker has just one sack in six games and now finds himself dinged up with a hip flexor strain, while Graham proclaims he is at 100 percent.
If Parker is unable to go today in Chicago, Graham will return to the starting lineup and it’s not lost on him that he’d be matching up with J’Marcus Webb, a rookie out of West Texas A&M.
“I’m excited because the guy I’m on is a rookie just like me and we’re just going to see who the better rookie is this week,” Graham said with a big smile.
His own rookie season has been somewhat disappointing, as he has just two sacks through 10 games. Graham’s quick to point out that there’s plenty of time for improvement.
“I still got what, how many games left? Seven? Six? Shoot. Two a game, 12, [plus] the two I got [is] 14,” Graham said with his usual playful demeanor.
All joking aside though, the Michigan product isn’t too down on himself at this point in the season.
“As long as I keep progressing, as long as I keep coming, I know I’m going to get rewarded and that’s how it’s always been,” Graham said. “If we keep winning, I did my job and whatever, we’ll [improve my numbers] for next year.”
Graham said the biggest adjustment from college to the pros is the intelligence and sixth sense of the quarterbacks, who always seem to get rid of the ball at the last possible second.
“It’s a whole lot harder,” Graham said. “Them quarterbacks is not playing. Even when you got ‘em, they’re still like, ‘You can’t get me,’ because they know sacks mess up the play calling for the coach, because you know when you’re giving up all of those extra yards.”
Graham’s hoping to show some signs of improvement today against a Bears team that is last in the league with 37 sacks allowed.
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