Trent Cole knows the Atlanta Falcons had a big season opening loss to the Chicago Bears last week. But Cole expects the Falcons, who some experts believe can get to the Super Bowl, to be ready to play when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Georgia Dome on Sunday night (NBC10, 8:20 p.m.)
He believes the Eagles will have to contain the Falcons Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons bruising running back Michael Turner. Ryan, former Penn Charter star, has some steady pass catchers with tight end Tony Gonzalez and receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Cole feels the Eagles need a good pass rush against the Falcons.
“It’s one, two, three bam, he’s throwing,” said Cole, Eagles defensive end. “So, it’s more of we have to get there as fast as possible and just do our jobs, hold our gaps. And then, also one thing you have to worry about is the running game, too. They have a good running game. They have a strong back (Michael Turner) and he can be really deadly.
“I think he’s a great back. You know, he’s a tough back, and like I said, he can run the ball. And like I said, he’s someone we have to keep control of just holding our gaps and stuff and we’ll be all right.”
Ryan completed 31-of-47 passes for 319 yards with one interception and no touchdown passes against the Bears. Turner had 10 carries for 100 yards. The Eagles struggled early in their 31-13 victory over St. Louis Rams. Steven Jackson scored on a 47-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
“Yeah, we always want to get off to a fast start,” Cole said. “We want to get points as fast as we can. You know, they were the number one seeded team last year and they’re a great team. And like I said, we have to watch out. When we go in there we have to go in there playing sound football against this team.”
In addition to Cole, who had three tackles and a sack against the Rams, the Eagles defensive front includes some real playmakers such as defensive end Juqua Parker and tackles Antonio Dixon and Mike Patterson. Parker made the biggest play with a 56-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Despite the success, Cole believes the defensive line can do more.
“I think we can do better,” Cole said. “I think there’s a lot more improvement, and it’s just going to keep getting better from here on out. It’s just breaking the ice.”
Cole, a 6-foot-3, 270-pounder, broke the ice in 2005 when the Eagles selected in the fifth round out of the University of Cincinnati. This is his seventh year in the league. He earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2007 and 2009 seasons.
Cole, 28, is an avid hunter off the field. He owns and operates Cole Outdoor Productions, a hunting video production company that he put together with some of his friends who are hunters. He hosts a show called “Blitz TV. He also has his own website www.ColeOutdoors.com.
Cole has hunted down a number of quarterbacks throughout his career. He has 59.5 career sacks. He has also sacked 35 different quarterbacks including Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan whom he’ll face on Sunday. Cole has come along way in his pro career.
“It’s been pretty much hard work,” he said. “I just go hard every play in practice. I don’t stop. You have to have that want.”
Cole wants to win on Sunday and have a good another year for the Eagles.