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One Eagles star has a message for the Giants: Look in the mirror.
Super Bowl LII playmaker Brandon Graham responded to all the criticism directed at his team for the decision to bench starting quarterback Jalen Hurts for bumbling third-stringer Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a three-point game last week. By handing Washington an easy win, the Eagles eliminated the Giants from playoff contention.
“If people have a problem with it, don’t put yourself in that situation,” Graham said on 94 WIP radio in Philadelphia. “The Giants, don’t put yourself in that position. Win your game.”
Like so many, Graham is confusing two different points.
Giants players, coach Joe Judge and owner John Mara all first said it is their own fault they are not in the playoffs because a 6-10 record and leaving their fate in another team’s hands is not good enough.
But Judge spoke for so many Giants fans – as well as some Eagles alumni and coaches and players across the league – when he criticized Eagles coach Doug Pederson (not by name) for not giving his team the best chance to win for 60 minutes and “disrespecting” the players and the competitive integrity of the game.
Three days after the game, Eagles veterans are speaking up to spin the narrative after teammate Miles Sanders said “nobody liked the decision” in the locker room. First, Jason Kelce – whose mid-December diatribe about prioritizing winning over all costs, including player development – defended the Eagles’ tank for a better draft pick. Now it’s Graham’s turn.
“Yeah, we want to win. We out there trying to win,” Graham said. “But at the same time, people disrespecting Nate Sudfeld like he’s just terrible. Nate deserved the opportunity, and I knew he was supposed to get out there. I don’t know why people didn’t think that because he was excited all before the game. I don’t think coach has ever made me feel like he wanted to lose because he hates losing and when we lose, we feel that when we’re in a team meeting that Wednesday of the next week talking about the game.”
Sudfeld was 5-for-12 passing with an interception and lost a fumble.
“Some people just didn’t like the decision, because they want to see Hurts in there,” Graham said, “but at the end of the day, this game didn’t mean anything for us. We were still going home, so why not see who else you got out there?”
Because Sudfeld is a free agent who has been with the Eagles for four years and Hurts is a rookie under evaluation, perhaps?
“I feel like people kind of making a big deal out of something coach was going to do anyway because he wanted to see his guys and see what he had moving forward for next year,” Graham said. “I don’t know. I just feel like when the Giants start talking all that stuff, people started getting all mad because, ‘They all disrespecting the game.’ But it’s really, that was the plan in the beginning.”
The Giants fell one win short of the playoffs and will be most haunted by blowing an 11-point lead in the final six minutes of a loss to the Eagles in October.
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