That wasn't something Trent Cole came up with on the spur of the moment, last week at the Giants.
You don't just get down in your stance and decide this would be a nice time to hurdle the gap between the guard and the longsnapper, ala Edwin Moses, so you'll have a shot at blocking a field goal.
"I was going in there to do that. It's not something that's going to be natural, it doesn't just happen. I went in there to jump over [guard Chris Snee]," Cole said as he prepared for tonight's game against Cleveland. "I talked to coach Rory [Segrest, the special teams coordinator]. He was going, 'This is going to be the game you're going to block something, man.' We were telling each other that the whole time - 'This is going to be the game' - and it happened. We felt like there was an advantage there, a flaw. It was there; I saw San Francisco do it [on tape]."
Kickers tend to have their heads down when they're working, so John Carney probably didn't see that by the time he made contact on his 47-yard attempt, Cole was standing right in front of him. Carney probably noticed the ball bouncing past him, though, after it caromed off the Eagles' Pro Bowl defensive end.
"That was awesome," said rookie wideout DeSean Jackson. "It was needed."
Segrest certainly needed it, on a day when his own field-goal unit gave up two blocks, including the second Eagles attempt of the season blocked and run back for a touchdown on the final play of the first half. That has to be a franchise record, though not one Segrest is likely to put on his resume.
The Giants game, like so many others, was up-and-down for the Birds' special teams. The ups were Cole's block and David Akers' 51-yard field goal, which Segrest helped with by calling timeout with 4 seconds left in the first quarter, while the Eagles had the wind at their back. The downs, well, when you get two field goals blocked, one for a touchdown, you're keeping the opponent in the game a lot longer than necessary.
Segrest confirmed that the hurdle was planned. He said it looked like the best chance to get a block.
"Yeah, we didn't feel like we would be able to get much penetration there initially, just because of the leverage that those guards play with," he said. "They play so low, and they stay down so well. It was one of the things we had planned going in, and then we were trying to balance it up and be able to push from that point. It all comes down to execution, and a lot of it has to do with Trent."
Cole said he figures his hurdling days are over, that once other teams see that move on tape, they'll tell the blockers to stay higher against him.
"I know I would," he said.
Reporters gave rookie wideout DeSean Jackson plenty of chances to show some divalike tendencies last week, after he did not catch a pass against the Giants, the first time as a pro he's been shut out. Jackson stuck with the script - "It's not about myself . . . whatever you need to do to win, that's what you have to do."
He wouldn't even bite when someone theorized that maybe, since the offense has worked the running and short-yardage passing games the past few weeks, Cleveland might be surprised by some strikes down the field.
"We'll just stick to the basics. It's not the time to try to switch up and change too many things . . . let the game come to you," Jackson said.
Brian Westbrook (knee, ankle) sat out Saturday's final practice before tonight's game, because it was held indoors on turf, but all indications are that Westbrook will play tonight . . . Ditto right tackle Jon Runyan (knee), who will make his 190th successive NFL start . . . Right guard Shawn Andrews, out since Week 2, said his back is feeling better. "He's had a real good week of rehab this week, and we'll see how he does this next week," Andy Reid said, when asked about Andrews . . . The last time the Eagles played the Browns, the Birds won, 34-31, in overtime at Cleveland, Oct. 24, 2004, on a 50-yard David Akers field goal. Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia gave the Eagles fits . . . Reid was asked Friday if he plans to join in on his players' playoff-drive beard-growing trend. "We'll see. I have a very gray beard," Reid said. *