COLUMBUS, Ohio — Wes Hopkins, Philadelphia Eagles strong safety, is counting down to September 15.
He's hoping Eric Dickerson will hold out until after the Rams play the Eagles in the second week of the regular season.
Hopkins, a three-year starter with the Eagles, does not relish the idea of having to stop his former Southern Methodist teammate.
"It wouldn't hurt me any if he's not there when we play them," he said. "He can always come back in about three weeks and a couple days. That will make it a little easier on us."
Since Hopkins has watched Dickerson glide through the defensive secondary longer than most other defensive backs, he admits a little bias when he claims, "He's one of the two greatest that has ever been in the game, even in his second year."
Hopkins said knew Dickerson would be a good player, but not quite that good.
"His first season I didn't expect him to have such the impact that he did," Hopkins said. "I knew he was going to be one of the great running backs, because you very seldom see running backs 6-3, 220 pounds who can run a 9.4 100-yard dash.
"Plus the agility that he has, I knew that once he got into the NFL it would only be a matter of time."
Hopkins had more than just Dickerson's absence to smile about after the Eagles beat the Rams, 14-12, in Ohio Stadium. He intercepted a Dieter Brock pass with 2:44 left in the first half to set up the Eagles' first touchdown. He stopped two other passes.
All in all, Hopkins and the rest of the Philadelphia secondary gave Brock problems.
According to Fred Bruney, Eagles defensive back coach, Philadelphia didn't use any deceptive alignments.
"We didn't want to give anything away," he said. "We have to play them in three weeks."
But it didn't really matter because the standard alignment was working. Brock completed 7 of 18 passes for 40 yards and threw 1 interception.
"I didn't think he did that bad tonight," Hopkins said. "They kept it basic and simple and were trying to get a feel for our defense. And from what I saw in the films of them against St. Louis last week, he looked pretty good. We just had him on the run more this week.
"He is still learning the Rams' offense. Once he gets adjusted to the offense he's going to be the type of quarterback they need. With the running game they have they really don't need a Dan Marino."