December 02, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Philadelphia Eagles rookie cornerback Eric Rowe figured it couldn't get much tougher than when he was sent out to cover Lions superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Then he checked the Eagles schedule.

Philadelphia's second-round pick out of Utah will make the first start of his career Sunday when the Eagles travel to New England to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots.

''It's never easy in this league,'' Rowe said. ''It's a tough game every week. I mean Brady, he's one of the best. But we just have to prepare for him and their offense.''

Rowe, who gave up two touchdown passes to Johnson, played 77 snaps in an early-season game against the Washington Redskins when Byron Maxwell got hurt; then played a total of 20 snaps the next six games until Thanksgiving.

Now, with cornerback Nolan Carroll out with a broken ankle, he's starting opposite Maxwell.

''I learned a lot,'' Rowe said. ''I learned how the best receiver in the game works. That was a great learning experience for me. When I first lined up against Calvin, I was kind of in awe.''

The Eagles liked Rowe enough in the 2015 draft to trade two fifth-round picks and their second-round pick to move up and get him.

''I think it's time for him to go out there and see what we have,'' Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis said. ''He played 14 snaps matched up on Megatron (Johnson) last week. They caught four on him and I think Eric grew a little bit. ... He's a young guy that will get more and more confident and we'll get more and more confidence in him.''

Confidence could come in a hurry if the rookie plays well Sunday against the Patriots and Brady.

''I don't know how I'm going to feel out there this week,'' Rowe said. ''I know he's going to come at me. I'm a rookie cornerback. I know he's going to look my way first and I've got to be ready for it.''

NOTES: Quarterback Sam Bradford said he was a full participant in practice Wednesday and hopes to play Sunday against New England. Bradford missed the past two games with a concussion and an injury to the AC joint in his left shoulder.

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