Defensive end Trent Cole has some advice for rookie Brandon Graham, the man who will line up at the other defensive end spot to start this Sunday's season opener against the Packers: Don't get nervous.
"We don't need that right now. Just go out there and play hard and play through every play," Cole said. "If you're going to bust a play, then make a play."
Uh oh. Graham said that he gets nervous before every game.
"I'm going to be (nervous) all over again until that first hit," Graham said. "I always go into every game nervous, even the preseason games I'm nervous, because you don't know what to expect. I'm always nervous just because you always want to do your best."
He might also be anxious because of what he would love to do to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"I'm dreaming about taking him down two or three times and being a factor in the game, the whole game," Graham said.
Five years ago, Cole came into the league as an unheralded fifth-round draft pick out of Cincinnati. He played in all, but one game as a rookie (hamstring injury) and in his first career start - which came in the 10th game of the season - he recorded six tackles and a pair of sacks. Needless to say, the Eagles have not been able to get him out of the lineup since.
And as good as Cole was as a rookie, there's reason to believe that this year's first-round draft pick could be even better.
"I say he's more advanced than when I came in. He's got the tools," Cole said. "He's not just a great pass rusher, but an all-around player. He's got a great attitude. He works hard. He can play."
What's impressed his teammates is not just his amazing technique, but he has the timing and the agility to go along with the technique. It's one thing to be able to knock away an offensive lineman's hands, but in the same motion to be able to rip past him is something that usually takes time. Graham said that it was the teaching of his defensive line coaches at Michigan - Steve Strickland and Bruce Tall - that prepared him for the NFL.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the technique that they taught me," Graham said. "It's all natural now because I've been doing it for so long. I continue to do it, so I guess I'm happy it's down right now."
He'll need that technique against an 11-year vet in right tackle Mark Tauscher.
"He's been doing it for a long time, so I know he has plenty of moves that he can do," Graham said. "I just have to make sure I scout him and talk to my coach and just get as prepared as much as possible."
And hope that he doesn't get nervous. Too nervous at least.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:20 a.m., September 9