Nick Cole was baptized under fire last Sunday when Jamaal Jackson tore his ACL in the first quarter of the win over the Broncos. Now, he'll put that experience and the past week of practice into use on Sunday when the Eagles take on the Cowboys for the NFC East title.
"We're ready. I've been in this position before. I've played center before in the preseason. We're good," Cole said as the team arrived at its hotel Saturday afternoon.
Cole will make his first career start at center. This season, he started the first five games of the season at left guard as Todd Herremans recovered from his stress fracture. Cole moved over to right guard and started every game there except for the Chargers game where he moved back to left guard due to Jason Peters' injury.
The Cowboys have the league's third-best defense in both yards and points. At nose tackle, the Cowboys have one the league's best in Jay Ratliff, who was just granted Pro Bowl honors for the second straight season. Ratliff is second on the Cowboys with 6.0 sacks and two of them came in the Nov. 8 meeting between these two teams in Philadelphia.
Cole said that his biggest challenge will be making sure everyone along the offensive line is on the same page in terms of alignment and blocking responsibilities. Playing on the road in Cowboys Stadium offers another roadblock, but Cole said that the Eagles are well prepared.
"We play good on the road. It's not going to be too much," Cole said. "To off-set the crowd noise, that's why we have the silent count."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 5:35 p.m., January 2