There are some things in life that are simply human nature. You drink when you're thirsty; you sleep when you're tired. Defensive end Trent Cole was trained for five seasons to avoid the red No. 5 jersey at practice worn by Donovan McNabb, and would do so without even thinking. That condition will have to be broken this weekend as his former quarterback returns wearing burgundy and gold.
Many of the current defensive players, Cole included, have faced McNabb countless times in practice. They know his tendencies, his habits, and how he runs an NFL offense. But the flip side is true as well. With a few exceptions, McNabb knows the defensive starters for the Eagles. Some guys he remains friends with even now. So who has the advantage in the battle between the quarterback and the defense?
"I think it goes both ways," Cole said on Tuesday. "(McNabb) used to be here and he kind of knows us. But no matter if you know all of our plays, we have a fast defense that's going to be hard to stop. We have a lot of guys that are hungry, a lot of young guys that are hungry, a lot of guys who just want to go out there and win."
Sunday's game against Washington is one that has been circled on many a calendar since the schedule was released, and the players can sense that buzz about the NovaCare Complex. But Cole said that the only way to find success this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field is to treat the game, and quarterback, like any other.
"We treat every team like it's any other team we're going to play against and we'll treat (McNabb) like he's any other quarterback. We're going to go after him," Cole said. ""That's just plain and simple. We had great times while he was here, but he's playing for the other team and he wants to win."
Make no mistake about it; this Sunday will be a memorable one in South Philadelphia. But the Eagles will do their best to block out the obvious distraction, and focus their energy on the action between the lines.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 2:20 p.m., September 28