Defensive end Trent Cole cut his teeth in practice against Pro Bowl left tackle Tra Thomas. A fifth-round draft pick in 2005, Cole has worked his way up from an undersized end/linebacker to a Pro Bowl player in his own right.
On Thursday night against the Jaguars, Cole made his preseason debut. He missed the first two games with a shoulder sprain. He got to line up against his former teammate once again and it was evident which player was now superior.
In just a quarter of work, Cole had two tackles, one for a loss, and a quarterback hit. He looked quick off the snap. He was active in the backfield. Overall, he looked like he was in midseason form at a self-proclaimed "90 percent."
"I was injured and I was hoping I could get into this third game," Cole said. "The third game tells us where we're at. I wanted to get back and play with the team and, personally, I wanted to see where I was at. Now, I'm pretty excited for the start of the season and I'm pretty excited for my teammates because we went out there and did a great job."
The coaches made the decision to keep Cole in for just a quarter while the rest of the first-team defense played into the second half. For Cole, the ironman who can be counted upon to play all three downs, it left him "hungry" for more.
"Only playing one quarter, that's not enough for me," Cole said. "I was itching to get back out there and play with the rest of the guys."
If Cole is this active and playing this well after missing two games and operating at 90 percent capacity, what will he be like at 100 percent?
"That's why I'm excited for the season," Cole said.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:25 a.m., August 28