Left guard Todd Herremans will look to his right and not have his close friend Jamaal Jackson lined up next to him at center on Sunday.
Jackson tore his ACL in the first quarter of last Sunday's win over Denver. Nick Cole moved from right guard to center for the remainder of the game and will be trusted with that role in this Sunday's NFC East championship bout with the Cowboys. Herremans said that the rest of the offensive line has confidence that Cole can get the job done.
"He's smart. He's got great feet," Herremans said of Cole. "The guys on this team, especially along the offensive line, know how well he can play, how smart he is and knows the material. We all have confidence in him."
Cole signed with the Eagles as a rookie free agent out of New Mexico State in 2006. He has played in all 63 career regular season games. He took over last year as the starting right guard for the final five regular season games and the postseason run. He started the first five games at left guard this season for an injured Herremans before moving back to right guard.
The biggest adjustment for Cole will be the fact that now he has to block and snap the ball. He also has to be the quarterback of the line and made any calls and adjustments. Herremans said that they will spend time in practice this week focusing on the silent count that will likely be used in the new Cowboys Stadium.
"As long as we get crisp, good reps while we're out there with Nick at center. That's where the adjustment we'll be and we'll be fine," Herremans said. "If you know the game plan well enough then usually you know the call that's coming before it's made. It's the same calls being made. It's not different calls or different sounds or words or anything that we have to key on. It's all the same material we have been going over all season long. If anything, we just have to get used to Nick's rhythms."
In addition to starting his first career game at a new position on the road and the pressure of what's at stake against Dallas, Cole will go head-to-head against Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff. The 6-4, 303-pound Ratliff has 6.0 sacks this season, two of them against the Eagles, a whopping total for an interior lineman.
"He's big and he's real powerful," Herremans said. "He can sit in there and hold his own against the run game, against double teams, everything which he does consistently because he always finds himself being doubled. He's got a great motor. He's real vicious with his moves."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:57 p.m., December 30