Playing against his brother
is nothing new for Eagles tight end
Beating him would be.
For the fifth time in their careers, the Schobel brothers will go against each other Sunday when Matt's Eagles play Aaron's Buffalo Bills in the season finale for both teams at Lincoln Financial Field.
"It's always interesting when you break the huddle and he's on the other side," Matt said before practice yesterday. "But once the game starts, it's just business as usual."
Before joining the Eagles last season, Matt had played against Aaron's Bills in each of his first four NFL seasons in Cincinnati.
"The bad thing was, every year we played, we lost when I was in Cincinnati," Matt said. "That will be the important thing this week."
The Bills even won in 2005, when the Bengals took the AFC North title by going 11-5.
Aaron, who at 30 is a year older than Matt, has had the more successful NFL career. A defensive end, Aaron has registered double-digit sacks three times, including a career high of 14 last season, when he represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl.
"He's really worked hard and he's gotten better every year," Matt said. "I'd say that's been the case ever since he was a young player in college."
Matt and Aaron attended Texas Christian University, as did their cousin Bo Schobel, a defensive end with Arizona.
"I guess this is what every kid dreams about," Matt said. "But when we were kids, we probably dreamed of playing on the same team, and that hasn't worked out."
Matt said these brotherly meetings were difficult on his parents, who will be at Sunday's game.
"The last time we played, it was so cold, my mom took off," he said. "She doesn't like to watch it. In a perfect world, we'll both do well and they don't care who wins. I guess it's an awkward deal for them.
"I like it because in the off-season we have someone to work out with. This week we don't talk as much, and if we do, it's obviously not about the game."
Matt is expected to return to the lineup after sitting out last Sunday's game against New Orleans because of a concussion he suffered the week before. Even though starting tight end
has missed five games, Schobel has caught just 10 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
"Yeah, it's been a little frustrating and disappointing, but hopefully better days are ahead," Matt said.
Competition at guard
will return to his starting-right-guard spot Sunday, sending second-year guard
back to the bench. It won't be surprising, however, if Jean-Gilles competes with
for the starting-left-guard job next season.
"He can play either side," offensive coordinator
said. "I think he's got a chance to be a pretty good player in this league."
Mornhinweg said it was important for Jean-Gilles to control his weight.
"You'd like to keep it manageable, and he knows that," Mornhinweg said. "He works hard at that."
said rookie defensive end
was "probably going to play a lot more" Sunday. "I think he's a solid player.". . . . Safety
(knee), and tight end L.J. Smith (knee) sat out practice yesterday. Dawkins and Sheppard may play, but it seems unlikely that Smith will return. . . . Matt Schobel said he was "a little bit surprised" that Cowboys safety
was not fined for the helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked him out of the Dec. 16 game in Dallas. "They give fines pretty easily, but I guess I see their point. He did turn his shoulder."
- Bob Brookover