PHILADELPHIA - One of the more impressive aspects of the Eagles’ unlikely run to the postseason was doing it without two of their best and most accomplished players, one Brandon on each side of the line of scrimmage.
Both Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks were lost in Week 2 against San Francisco with the skilled edge rusher lost to a torn Achilles’ and the star right guard felled by a pectoral injury.
Neither played again in 2021-22 but Graham, set to turn 34 in April, was a constant presence at the NovaCare Complex, his usual exuberant itself while remaining a team leader from the sideline right up until last Sunday's 31-15 loss in Tampa when Graham showed up to try to make Tom Brady relive famous strip sacks from his past, a psychological game that didn’t hit home against perhaps the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Conversely, Brooks, who will be 33 in August, recessed to the background with little information coming from the Eagles about a potential return and Nick Sirianni’s “no new information” becoming a constant refrain.
All of that might have been foreshadowing for 2022 with GM Howie Roseman noting Wednesday at his season-ending press conference that Graham will have a role with the Eagles moving forward but remaining clandestine when it comes to Brooks.
Brooks has at least begun to mull the thought of retirement due to his troublesome recent injury issues, a list which also includes two torn Achilles and a dislocated shoulder in recent seasons, and the constant grind of rehabbing them.
“We miss B.G," said Roseman. "We miss B.G. the player and there’s nobody who can replace B.G. the person, the leader that he is as well and he’s attacking this rehab. We see him every day around here and he’s got a chip on his shoulder.
"We do see a role for [Graham] going forward and we're excited to get him back next year. He's a huge part of our football team."
The Eagles persevered without Graham this season but had trouble getting to opposing quarterbacks on a consistent basis. Josh Sweat, who had a career-high 7.5 sacks this season, is the lone certainty moving forward at the position with veterans Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan scheduled to hit free agency.
Sixth-round rookie Tarron Jackson showed some promise and will be back next season while third-rounder Milton Williams flashed real upside as a player like Graham who has inside/out versatility although Williams’ default setting is inside.
As for Brooks, Rosman wasn’t making any concrete missives.
“We had a lot of communication with Brandon and for us, it was really important Brandon Brooks ended the season healthy and to make sure he had an offseason where he was healthy and wasn’t rehabbing," Roseman said. "That’s the extent of our communication with him at the end of the season."
Reading the tea leaves it sure seems like the end for Brooks in Philadelphia and perhaps the NFL.
"Obviously you’re talking about one of the greatest players, one of the greatest guards in the history of the franchise, and [we] have tremendous respect for him as a player and as a person," said Roseman, "but really those are the conversations we’ve had with Brandon up until this point."
Counting Brooks the Eagles were forced to use seven different starting right guards this season.
Brooks started the first two games followed by Landon Dickerson getting one before shifting to LG in place of the injured Isaac Seumalo. Next came Jack Driscoll with eight starts until a knee injury short-circuited his season and forced a move to Nate Herbig for four games.
By Week 18 Jack Anderson got his first NFL start as the Eagles rested their key players against Dallas but Herbig was unable to go in the loss to Tampa Bay due to an ankle injury forcing Philadelphia to insert Sua Opeta.
Moving forward, Dickerson seemed to entrench himself at LG and the Eagles would likely move the versatile Seumalo over to RG if center Jason Kelce plays another season.
If Kelce decides to retire all bets are off.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.