Defensive end Trent Cole ended a two-game sackless streak with a two-sack performance last week against the 49ers. For the season, Cole has 11.5 sacks and is tied for fourth in the league. Plus, he is just a half-sack shy of tying his career high of 12.0 sacks in 2007, when he also earned Pro Bowl honors.
But if Cole is going to set a new career high this week against Denver, he's going to have to earn it the hard way. Cole will match up against one of the league's elite left tackles in Ryan Clady.
"It's a big challenge. He's a great tackle. I've heard a lot of good things about him," Cole said. "It's just another challenge for me. I've been in situations like this before. There are a lot of good players. It's going to be no different."
A second-year tackle, Clady did not give up a full sack in the first 20 games of his career, according to Stats Inc. Clady was named to numerous midseason All-Pro teams this year and was recently honored by USA Football and the NFLPA on their All-Fundamentals Team as the tackle who best exhibits pass protection skills. Cole added that Clady's athleticism and footwork sets him apart from other tackles.
"I have to go out there and do what I do best and get after it," said Cole.
Denver quarterback Kyle Orton is very fortunate to have Clady as his blindside protector. Cole said that Orton is "not real mobile" and believes the Eagles can "get a lot of pressure on him."
However, Denver's offensive line has only allowed a sack on 3.7 percent of all pass plays since Clady was selected in the first round of the draft last year. That is good for fourth in the NFL. In addition to avoiding sacks, Orton has only thrown eight interceptions this season. Orton's 1.8 percent of passes intercepted is the fifth-lowest in the league.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:50 a.m., December 24