It's cliché for a player to say that he approaches every game the same. No matter what's on the line.
Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter is in his 11th season in the NFL. He knows better.
"I approach every game the same, but obviously all of them are not the same. Anytime you go against a division rival, it's a playoff atmosphere. No matter what the records are. Especially with what's at stake," Trotter said.
Trotter has helped defensive coordinator Sean McDermott solidify a linebacker position that has changed on a series-to-series basis. At 32 years old, Trotter has 33 tackles in 12 games (seven starts) for the Eagles. His play has improved as the season has gone on. Trotter rotates in at middle linebacker with Akeem Jordan, who is playing the position for the first time in his NFL career.
With a better understanding of Eagles fans' dislike for the Cowboys, Trotter knows that this edition of the classic rivalry is going to be extra special because of what's on the line.
"This is different. Normally by this time, we're already pretty much set (for playoffs)," Trotter said. "The last game, the starters would play, but shoot, we're getting an early jump on the playoffs. I think it started with the Giants. That was a big playoff game, it felt like. Now, we're getting another one. We're getting started early."
And this could be a Trotter-type football game with the physical, bruising tailback Marion Barber toting the ball for the Cowboys.
"I love that. I love when teams come in and try to pound the ball," Trotter said. "That's my type of football. It's not everybody's game, but I look forward to those types of games coming downhill. Obviously, I pay for it on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday, Thursday."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:41 a.m., December 31