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Brandon Graham: 'We got to play big-boy ball this week'

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Some news and notes as the Eagles get ready for the Sunday night game against Dallas, a prime-time battle that features two teams at the top of the NFC East (along with the Giants, more on that below) and a rivalry game at just the right time with the NFL's Week 6 here ...

1. Wide receiver A.J. Brown is new to the Eagles-Cowboys and he is very aware of how the fans feel about Dallas. As far as a rivalry? Brown says, "I just don't take it that serious. I'm not gonna get too caught up in the rivalry." Why, well because there is more at stake here, as Brown sees it.

"It's another game and I'm just trying to do my job so we can go 1-0 this week," he said. "Huge division game. Now, that's the big part about it, trying to get ahead in the division. But all the rivalry, the going back and forth stuff? You'll never see me going back and forth or doing something I'm not supposed to be doing on the football field. I'm playing football and I'm trying to win games."

Fair enough. Go win the game on Sunday night.

2. The Cowboys said on Wednesday that Cooper Rush is the likely starter at quarterback on Sunday night. He's been outstanding for Dallas, compiling a 4-0 record this season (5-0, including a game last year) as the starter in place of Dak Prescott. Eagles cornerback James Bradberry spent a minute with Rush when Rush was on the Giants' practice squad in 2020 and he has faint memories of that time.

"It was really brief when we were teammates together. I just remember he was a pretty accurate quarterback when we did face each other in practice," Bradberry said.

Bradberry is certainly watching Rush now as the Eagles study the Dallas offense. Rush has four touchdown passes and zero interceptions this season and has run the Cowboys' offense efficiently in the four-game winning streak.

"I see that he takes care of the ball. He doesn't really make a whole lot of bad decisions. He doesn't take a whole lot of big-play chances. He takes care of the ball and he manages the offense pretty well over there," Bradbery said. "I know that's the way they're going to play. I try to watch film and try to see what they consistently run and try to make plays based on what I know they're going to run."

3. Dallas has had a lot of success running the football with both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott sharing the load, as far as defensive end Brandon Graham is concerned, that's the first priority on Sunday night: Stop the ground attack.

"We know how they're going to try to come at us," said Graham of a running game that averages 115.8 yards per game, 15th in the NFL, including a 163-yard performance on Sunday in a 22-10 win at the Rams. "We've just got to play big-boy ball this week. We know it's for the NFC East and this is the start of us. We're playing Dallas. They don't like us and we don't like them and we know what it's going to be in the trenches. We know it's going to be one of those games where we gotta fight for everything we want and I'm excited for that."

4. Another week, another award for the Eagles. This time it's the Special Teams Player of the Week award to placekicker Cameron Dicker, who on Wednesday was all smiles when he talked to reporters about winning it after making two field goals, including the 23-yarder that provided the winning points in Sunday's 20-17 victory over Arizona. When asked how it worked with his award, if he won a trophy for the honor, Dicker laughed.

"No clue. I don't know how anything works," said Dicker, who learned of his win while he walked from his current home, a nearby hotel, to the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday morning. "I take it all day by day and I'm just like, 'Eh, whatever happens, happens.' Sunday was fun. It was a great day out there. It was cool how the team brought me in and everything and helped me enjoy the moment as well."

What's next for Dicker? He remains on the practice squad as the Eagles monitor Jake Elliott as he recovers from an ankle injury suffered in the win over Jacksonville. The Eagles held a walkthrough practice on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex and Elliott was listed as a limited participant, so we will know more about his availability later in the week. If Elliott can't kick on Sunday night, the Eagles can again elevate Dicker from the practice squad for the game against Dallas.

5. Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis played a season-high 29 snaps (42 percent of defensive plays) in Arizona and had three solo tackles in an impressive performance. Head Coach Nick Sirianni likes what he sees in the team's first-round draft pick. "I just think he's getting a little bit better each week. He's a big man who has to continue to learn how to play in the NFL against other big men," Sirianni said. "So, he's getting better each week. He's doing a good job. He had his best game to date last game, and again he's just in that mindset, the growth mindset of how he gets better every day. He's got the strength, he's got the athleticism, he's got the size to be really good. It's just him learning, just like how we talk about with (QB) Jalen (Hurts) all the time of hey, what do you see in his strides? Well, he's getting accumulated reps, right, and figuring out how to play and that's what you're seeing with Jordan."

6. In a conference call on Wednesday, the NBC Sports broadcast team previewed Sunday night's game and analyst Cris Collinsworth noted the strength so far this season of the NFC East with the Eagles at 5-0 and both Dallas and New York 4-1.

"If you hang around long enough, you see everything come full circle and for the NFC East, which has always been sort of the main driver of the National Football League in many ways as far as media markets, TV ratings ... that this is coming full circle. They're back on top and not just these two teams but the New York Giants as well. And then you get the special rivalry that is the game between these two teams. I've had the good fortune of doing one, and sometimes two of these, during the course of a year and there is really nothing like it. There is such passion with the Dallas Cowboys fan base and we saw it in L.A. (last Sunday). They probably had more fans out there than the Rams did. But when they show up in Philadelphia, they get a warm welcome there. It is a fantastic setting. It is a fantastic game and I can't wait to get to Philly."

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