As expected, corner Asante Samuel (knee) and defensive end Juqua Parker (hip) returned to practice today, as the Eagles concluded their five-day break and began preparations for Sunday night's game at Dallas. Samuel was listed as a limited participant.
Right tackle Winston Justice (knee) did not practice, but Justice said he expects to practice before the week is out and to be ready for the Cowboys. “Yeah, hopefully [he can practice fully tomorrow]," he said. "In my mind I’m telling myself yes because I think with injuries it starts with your mind first.”
Eagles coach Andy Reid said his players are "not worried about what happened last year, or the future, or anything else. It's all about right now."
The Birds lost three times to the Cowboys last season, most devastatingly in their final two games, both at Dallas, 24-0 in the regular-season finale and 34-14 in the first round of the playoffs. The team spent much of its offseason retooling at least in part in response to those losses, which soured what had been an 11-4 season going into the final week.
"You learn from every game," Reid said today. "Both teams have some changes."
Reid and several players noted that both teams employ the same schemes they were running when they last saw each other, Jan. 9, but quite a bit else has changed. The Cowboys have a different head coach, interim coach Jason Garrett, and a new quarterback, journeyman Jon Kitna, who took over when Tony Romo went down for the season. The Eagles have Michael Vick playing quarterback, with what they feel is a more effective running game and a defense less susceptible to being screened and draw-played to death.
"That was last year," strong safety Quintin Mikell said. "Obviously, in the offseason, you think about it, because they basically took us out of the playoffs, but I don't anticipating that happening this year. Everybody's saying they're a dangerous team (winning three of four under Garrett), but we're a dangerous team. We have a lot to lose, a lot to play for, and we're going to bring it."