Dallas Week Missing Some Juice - For Now

The hype for Eagles-Cowboys has been slow to develop, but is being impacted by a few factors and should pick up as practice heats up for their Monday Night Football matchup
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It’s Dallas Week for the Eagles and their fans.

Something seems off about it, though. The juice seems to be lacking. Or maybe it’s just me.

Maybe the Ben Simmons saga has softened some of the thunder this NFC East rivalry typically provides.

Perhaps it has to do with the Phillies still playing for the division crown with two handfuls of games left.

Even the three Eagles’ coordinators who spoke to the media on Wednesday didn’t take many queries about Dallas.

There was a total of 32 questions asked to the three coordinators. Two of those had to do with the Cowboys.

One was asked by yours truly to offensive coordinator Shane Steichen about Micah Parsons, Dallas’ first-round pick who bounced between defensive end and linebacker in Dallas’ 20-17 last-second win over the Chargers on Sunday.

Steichen’s answer: “He's a heck of a player. He had a lot of pressures last week against the Chargers. He comes off the ball. He's got a lot of speed; you can see it on film. Good on the edge, he's good inside, too, as well.

“So, he's going to be a heck of a challenge for us. We got to know where he's at on the field, be ready for these guys. We're ready.”

The other question was asked by NJ.com’s Chris Franklin to special teams coordinator Michael Clay about CeeDee Lamb in the punt return game.

Clay’s answer: “I've always been a fan of CeeDee Lamb, even with his time at Oklahoma in terms of his punt return ability. We played against him last year when I was in San Francisco. He's a very fluid athlete. He catches the ball well. He's going to take some chances, but these are all calculated chances.”

Clay went on to say more, but that’s the gist.

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There are two reasons why the juice hasn’t exactly been flowing with any intensity, yet.

First, Dallas week is weird because it’s a Monday night game, not a Sunday game.

The Eagles and Cowboys always seem to play each other in primetime at least once a season, but it’s usually a Sunday night. This matchup is the first between the two rivals on a Monday since Sept. 15, 2008, when the Eagles went to Dallas and lost 41-37 in Week 2.

Marion Barber’s 1-yard run with 4:35 was the game-winner, with Tony Romo throwing for 312 yards and Tony Witten making seven catches for 110 yards. The Eagles lost despite a 281-yard passing game from Donovan McNabb and 110 yards receiving from DeSean Jackson.

The faces and names are all different now.

Another reason Dallas Week could be off to a stilted start is that the Eagles were off Tuesday and players haven’t been available since the 17-11 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

That changes Thursday when they return for three days of practice and availability.

Exactly how much the newcomers on the Eagles and even head coach Nick Sirianni know about the rivalry will be explored.

Certainly, Parsons is familiar with this rivalry since he grew up outside of Harrisburg and went to Penn State.

One of the Eagles' rookies is, too. That would be running back Kenny Gainwell, who, despite growing up in Yazoo City, Miss., knows a thing or two about it.

Gainwell's father Curtis always rooted for Dallas. Gainwell though always rooted for the Eagles.

Perhaps because his cousin, Fletcher Cox, had been playing there since 2012 when Gainwell was just 13.

“Always fun watching an Eagles-Cowboys game with my dad,” Gainwell said on the Eagles’ website. “We went back and forth with each other and had a good time with it. I loved talking some mess with him about it.

“Now, of course, he's changed who he roots for, but it was fun before I came to the NFL. It's a great rivalry. There's nothing better than when the Eagles beat Dallas for me in my house. I talked a lot about that with my dad after the games."

Now, there’s some juice, and surely more will follow over the next several days leading up to some Monday Night Football.

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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.