But the Birds are built for speed, which means they are built for Jackson and Westbrook. When those players contribute, everything else works, and they know it.
They contributed yesterday. Each scored a touchdown. Each added juice. Their biggest plays iced the Eagles' 38-10 win.
Jackson, the versatile X-factor on a team that loves X-factor trickery, ran back a punt 85 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-7 early in the second quarter, the second-longest in Eagles history. He also caught two passes for 9 yards and ran twice, once from a direct snap for 8 yards, once on an end-around for 25 yards.
Westbrook carried the mail in the offense's only real touchdown drive.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb was good; the patchwork offensive line, steady; tight end Brent Celek, serviceable (six catches, 37 yards, touchdown); but the playmakers made plays.
"It's huge. It can't get any better than that," Jackson said. "To make these big plays for the team - that's what I live for. It's a lot of fun. It definitely comes with a lot of responsibility. Being smart. Not doing anything crazy. It's huge to have the defense key in on you."
Shifty, explosive and gifted with a receiver's speed and hands, Westbrook is keyed on every play - even now, older and battered and protected by coach Andy Reid from the longest and most grueling practices.
Westbrook said Wednesday that the game against Carolina would be as pressure-filled for him as any in his nine seasons.
"I think I responded well," Westbrook said. "Coach Reid is probably a better one to ask that. He yelled at me a couple of times. We'll see. We'll watch the film - see if he was right or I was right."
Typically, Westbrook was much softer spoken and self-critical than Jackson, but that's their nature.
Westbrook finished with 13 carries for 64 yards but burst for runs of 17 and 16 yards in the Eagles' 10-play, 74-yard drive in the second quarter. He was the focus of six of those plays, including the last one: a 4-yard shovel pass for the touchdown that made it 31-7 with a little more than 3 minutes to play in the first half.
He didn't play much more. The Birds scored again midway through the third quarter to make it 38-10, and Westbrook was done.
"For his first time out, I thought he did some good things. I was able to get him some reps in there, and at the same time, get him some rest that second half," Reid said. "It was good to get him in there, and we'll just keep adding to it."
Westbrook is fine with taking it slowly, especially since he didn't endure preseason contact - he will be very sore this month - and as he and the line learn each other.
"It's a continual process. We gelled pretty well for this game," he said.
And the joints?
"My knee is pretty good. My ankle is pretty good," he said. "I'm excited about that."
Jackson, typically, is excited about everything.
"He did do a nice job all the way around," Reid said.
Except, of course, for the 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, anyway - celebrating Celek's touchdown grab, of all things, scored early in the second quarter.
"Celek gave the ball to Jamaal [Jackson] and he spiked it," DeSean Jackson said. "It hit me. I fell. It wasn't planned. Whatever it is, it is."
He preferred focusing on his return, bettered only by goal-post abuser Vai Sikahema, who brought one back 87 yards on Nov, 22, 1992, at the Giants. Chris Clemons' dicey block sprang Jackson, who, of course, knew it was six points almost before it left the punter's foot.
"Right when it got in my hands," Jackson said. "I saw Chris make a heck of a block, and I hit the seam. I saw the kicker. It's a rule in my book not to get tackled by the kicker."
That might be an interesting book to read . . . or, rather, speed-read.