DeSean Jackson knows what it's like to stoke the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry.
But two months after Rob Ryan fired comments similar to the one the Eagles wide receiver made two seasons ago, Jackson took exception to the Dallas defensive coordinator's August bravado.
Jackson said Thursday that Ryan's calling the Eagles the "all-hype team" during training camp and saying that the Cowboys would "beat their ass" was "unheard of" and "uncalled for" from a coach.
"For a coach to really say that, it's hard for me to kind of respect that because the coach is not really out there playing," Jackson said as the Eagles prepared for Sunday night's showdown against Dallas. "If his players said that, then I could understand that. We're out there on the field with him so I would be able to get a chance to get a shot at that player if he said something crazy.
"But for a coach, it ain't like I can run on the sideline and tackle the coach."
In January 2010, after the Eagles lost at Dallas in the season finale, Jackson tweeted that the Birds would bounce back and "sting they ass" when the teams met six days later in a first-round playoff rematch.
Sting the Cowboys, they did not. And Jackson was shut down for the second straight game, registering just three catches for 14 yards a week after tallying two for 36 yards.
Ryan wasn't in Dallas then. The Cowboys hired the brash coordinator, and twin of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, in January while the Eagles were also in search of a coach to guide their defense.
Andy Reid has said that he considered Ryan for the opening before promoting offensive line coach Juan Castillo.
Ryan's father, former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, had great disdain for the Cowboys. Buddy took every opportunity to zing the Cowboys, so Rob's trash talking during training camp added to the irony of the situation.
As the Eagles were adding one former Pro Bowl free agent after another during the early days of camp, Ryan told Dallas reporters: "I don't know if we win the all-hype team. I think that might have gone to somebody else, but we're going to beat their ass when we play them."
Michael Vick took issue with Ryan's characterization and told WPEN-FM (97.5) in August that the Eagles would "make him eat his words. I hope he backs it up."
During a conference call with Dallas-area reporters, Vick was reminded of Ryan's comments and of his initial reaction. This time around, the Eagles quarterback took a more diplomatic approach.
"We know it's a competitive game, and sometimes people say things they regret days, weeks, and months later," Vick said. "I think from a competitive standpoint, he was just talking."
Ryan hasn't been quoted saying anything as caustic about the Eagles since. Some of his players, however, said this week that they supported their coach.
"We've got your back," Cowboys linebacker Bradie James told Ryan on Wednesday, according to the Dallas Morning News.
"That's just Rob," Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. "We don't eat the cheese on what anybody says. Coach can say what he wants to say, but you've got to go out there and win games."
For all the talk about and talent on the teams, the 2-4 Eagles and 3-3 Cowboys have been underachievers. Their statistical rankings don't match up with their records: The Eagles have the NFL's top-ranked run offense while the Cowboys have the top-ranked run defense.
Ryan loves to throw all kinds of blitz packages at quarterbacks, and there might not be a quarterback in the league who gets blitzed as much as Vick.
"He will blitz," Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said of Ryan. "He'll move people over in unusual ways which are sort of uncommon."
Ryan will call the plays, but it's up to his players to execute them. When the teams kick off at 8:20 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field, Ryan's long-ago comments won't be able to motivate - if they ever did.
"If he had a helmet and shoulder pads, it might," said Eagles guard Evan Mathis. "Ryan talking doesn't put a bull's-eye on any one of his players for me. It's just a distraction if we're trying to focus on that."