Defensive end Trent Cole couldn't be more excited to play this weekend. You can hear it in his voice. The challenge of facing a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning is something that Cole relishes. After all, it's a chance to sack one of the best to ever play the position.
But sacking the Colts quarterback is easier said than done. Manning has been consistently among the least sacked quarterbacks in the league since his rookie year in 1998. This season, Manning has been sacked seven times through seven games. Since his first MVP season in 2003, Manning has played 119 games and was only sacked 114 times. In other words, it's awfully hard to get the five-time All-Pro quarterback to the ground.
"It kind of gets frustrating when you're trying to get to the quarterback and he keeps releasing it (quickly)," Cole said. "All you can do is get there quick enough, get on him quick, and put some hits on him.
"You have to change up your rush. You have to get there quicker so you can't do too many fakes, head bobs, all the tricks I've got in my bag. You can't give him all that, you have to get right to him. Three steps, that's the goal of a defensive end (against Manning). Three steps to the quarterback."
It's not just his quick release that makes Manning so hard to sack. His approach to the quarterback position is unlike any in recent history, with his frantic hand gestures and dummy calls at the line of scrimmage. Some of Manning's pre-snap routine is legitimate, adjusting protection and even changing plays based on what the 12-year veteran sees in the defense. But a whole lot more of what Manning does before the snap is simply meant to throw the defense off, and keep the defensive line from timing the snap count.
The Eagles defense has prepared for all of Manning's antics, and Cole's approach Sunday is nice and simple: take care of the guy across from you.
"You have to line up, don't get caught up in (Manning's) game, and beat the man in front of you," Cole said. "That's what it's about. You can't get caught up in his game now, all of his (no huddle) stuff, just beat the man in front of you.
"He's like a coach playing quarterback. All you can do is go out there and play ball."
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 1:15 p.m., November 5