PHILADELPHIA - The Cowboys' offense has a new threat this season.
Wide receiver Miles Austin, a former standout at Monmouth University, has emerged as one of quarterback Tony Romo's favorite targets.
"Miles deserves everything that's coming his way," Romo said Wednesday in a phone interview. "He's a hard-working kid who has been waiting for his opportunity for a few years. Once it came about, he's done some good things."
Some very good things.
Austin, who made the Cowboys as a rookie free agent in 2006, got his first career start in place of injured Roy Williams two weeks ago against Kansas City. He caught 10 passes for a franchise-record 250 yards and two touchdowns. A week later, he had six receptions for 171 yards and two more TDs against Atlanta.
Austin is a Summit, N.J., native, who attended Garfield High School.
"He is a talented guy," Reid said Wednesday.
"He has speed and he has the ability to run after the catch. You have to stay close to him or he's going to get right past you."
The Eagles-Cowboys rivalry is really not all that big of a deal to most players.
Eagles fans may get hyped up about Sunday's game, but the players and coaches place no more emphasis on beating the Cowboys than the other teams on their schedule.
"For me it's just like any other team," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said Wednesday.
Eagles assistant coach Brian Stewart probably feels differently.
Prior to joining Andy Reid's coaching staff as a defensive assistant this season, he was the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator for two seasons. Stewart was fired shortly after the Eagles' 44-6 victory over the Cowboys in the 2008 regular-season finale.
Dallas' defense did not play well, but received little support. Two of the Eagles' touchdowns were supplied by their own defense. End Chris Clemons and cornerback Joselio Hanson each scored on fumble returns.
"When you turn the ball over like that, things happen," Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown said Wednesday. "Look at our game against New Orleans this year (a 48-22 loss). I don't know that the defensive coordinator is to blame in a game like that.
"I know this game means a lot to Brian. It would be crazy to think that it doesn't. I'm sure he really wants to win this one."
Stewart was not available for comment Wednesday.
Bumps and bruises
Defensive end Victor Abiamiri (sprained knee), defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (bruised knee), defensive end Clemons (sprained shoulder), wide receiver Kevin Curtis (knee surgery) and linebacker Chris Gocong (quadriceps contusion, strained hamstring) did not practice Wednesday.
Curtis will miss his sixth straight game. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 24 and is rehabbing in Utah. He is scheduled to rejoin the team next week, according to Reid.
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