PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For Chip Kelly, the Dallas Cowboys are just another opponent.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ first-year coach is no Buddy Ryan when it comes to hating the Cowboys. While most Eagles fans consider Dallas their No. 1 enemy, Kelly isn’t getting caught up in the bitter rivalry.
“I think everybody we play, you have the utmost respect for and if you don’t, you’re going to lose,” Kelly said Wednesday. “I think our players are like that, too. I think whether it’s the Chiefs or the Chargers or the Broncos or whomever, I think there’s a professionalism that I really kind of like in this league.
“I think maybe we respect all, we fear none. I’ve never been a guy that’s got into the whole hate aspect of ‘We hate them, so let’s stay later tonight and study harder and work harder.’ You’ve got to prepare the same way, because if you don’t, you’re going to get beat in this league.”
The Eagles (3-3) will be seeking their first home win since Sept. 30, 2012 when they host the Cowboys (3-3) on Sunday in a showdown for first place in the NFC East. It’s always the one game that matters most to Eagles fans who spend their Sundays rooting for their beloved team and whoever is playing the Cowboys.
Many former Eagles coaches embraced the rivalry, especially Ryan. He made no secret his contempt for Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson and took pride in going 8-2 against the Cowboys during his time as Philadelphia’s coach between 1986-90.
But Kelly prefers to downplay the significance of the game.
“We believe every game is huge in this league,” he said. “At the end of the year, it’s usually going to come down to one game and in some instances one play that’s the difference between being in the playoffs and not being in the playoffs. So every single game we play is huge. This game is as big as it gets and that’s kind of how we approach things.”
Asked if fans have approached him about their feelings toward the Cowboys, Kelly didn’t give in.
“No, that’s just because there are a lot of other teams they don’t like, either,” he said. “So, pick ‘em. They all seem to be in the NFC East, though, which is a good thing. We played two of them and now we are getting to play the third, so I’m sure it will be the same. But I’ve heard feelings about the Giants and I’ve had people talk to me about the Redskins.
“I know we are going to be ready to go.”
After consecutive road wins at the New York Giants and Tampa Bay, the Eagles are back at Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since losing to Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 19.
That loss completed a stretch where the Eagles became the first team in league history to play its first three games in an 11-day stretch. Now that they’ve settled into a normal routine, they’re playing much better.
“It’s in our rearview mirror,” Kelly said of the tough schedule at the start. “So we don’t sit there now saying, ‘Hey, thank goodness we’ve got seven days between each game because, you know, way back when, in the beginning of September, we had this.’ I just don’t think that way. Everybody has to play a Thursday game. Everybody is going to have a short week. Ours came early. Other guys have it late. It’s getting into a rhythm and getting going.”
NOTES: QB Michael Vick was limited in practice again, and it’s unlikely he’ll start vs. Dallas. Vick strained his left hamstring in the first half against the Giants. Nick Foles has filled in nicely and should make his eighth career start this week. ... Foles was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns and running for a score in last Sunday’s win at Tampa Bay. ... LT Jason Peters (shoulder) and RB Chris Polk (shoulder) didn’t practice Wednesday. S Patrick Chung (shoulder) was limited. TE James Casey (groin) was a full participant. Casey sat out last game.