Eagles Explain ‘Unknown’ Secret on Facing Cowboys Rookie QB

Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci vs. Washington

Getty Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci vs. Washington

The Cowboys are starting quarterback Ben DiNucci, a guy with 15 total offensive snaps under his rookie belt. He has ties to the Pennsylvania area and Philly’s scouting department knows what he can do. Eagles coach Doug Pederson talked about going back and watching DiNucci’s college film to find tendencies, like how he moves in the pocket and process information.

With a lack of preseason games, the Eagles will have to rely on whatever tape is out there, plus DiNucci’s performance last week against Washington when the seventh-rounder went 2-of-3 for 39 yards while taking three sacks. It’s a little bit of the “unknown,” according to Pederson.

“It’s just the unknown,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “You have to kind of go back and study a little bit of his college film and then — because we don’t have preseason games, right? We don’t have the luxury of watching preseason snaps to see how he moves in the pocket, how his decision-making is, things of that nature and just have a few plays from last weekend to go off of.”

Pederson was speaking before the Cowboys officially declared Andy Dalton out for “Sunday Night Football.” He went on to say that “you can’t focus on one guy” and the Eagles were going to have to account for all of Dallas’ weapons on offense. Running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, along with receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, are all dynamic playmakers. DiNucci might be taking on the role of game manager more than anything else.

“It’s a matter of — if it’s DiNucci, I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to come in and he’s going to execute the offense,” Pederson said. “He’s going to execute the plays called and he’s going to drive the ship, so to speak.”

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Eagles-Cowboys, One of Best Rivalries in Sports

There are some games that go beyond the painted lines, bordering on true hatred from all those involved. Eagles players and coaches talked at length during the week about a “different feeling” hanging over the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry, one of the best in professional sports. Dallas holds the all-time series edge at 69-53.

“It’s a different intensity because these guys don’t like us and we don’t like them,” Graham said.

Pederson has been a part of this crazy, intense NFC East rivalry as both a player and a coach. The Eagles (2-4-1) come into Sunday’s game with a half-game lead over the Cowboys (2-5) in the NFC East. Throw the records out.

“I think the rivalry, it’s always one of the great rivalries in football,” the head coach said. “Listen, both teams could be sitting here 6-0 and it would still mean a lot. We’re sitting here with two wins apiece and it still means a lot. That’s the thing about the NFC East. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. Your opponent, whether one team is banged up or one team is not or vice versa or both teams are banged up, both teams are coming in here and they are going to play hard and both teams want to win.”

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