By Jack Ryan
That which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
Which, as far as Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham (55 in above photo) is concerned, perfectly describes the gut-wrenching nightmare of playing for former Birds defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
Graham looks back on his two seasons playing for Washburn, in 2011 and 2012, as a miserable time. Washburn’s negativity took its toll.
“The low point was when Wash was here,” Graham told CSNPhilly.com. “That was my low point. Because Wash would make you feel bad, boy. Like you can’t play at all.”
The 65-year-old Washburn, who now coaches the defensive line in Detroit, is an old-school coach who isn’t above screaming obscenities at a player who isn’t giving his all.
Some players love him, but his approach can grate on people — including former Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who fired Washburn during the 2012 season. Graham says he couldn’t take it much longer and was relieved when Reid sent Washburn packing.
“I was almost at that breaking point where it was just like, ‘Man, stuff is not going right.’ But I think what happened is when Wash left and then I took off for a minute, that kind of gave me hope that I could play in this league. Because you start to doubt yourself a little bit because the coach is on you 24/7, and you know, it was tough. But I’m just happy that everything’s looking up right now.”
Chip Kelly’s coaching style isn’t to everyone’s liking, but Graham clearly enjoys playing for the Eagles a lot more now than he did a few years ago.