Eagles Notebook: Split shift?

Brian Westbrook says his ankle benefited from week off.
Brian Westbrook says his ankle benefited from week off.

Westbrook OK with sharing backfield load with McCoy

Posted: October 09, 2009

Brian Westbrook has no problem sharing the load with rookie running back LeSean McCoy, Westbrook told reporters after yesterday's practice.

"That's a good thing," Westbrook said, when asked about McCoy's development. "That's a good thing for this team. LeSean's a very good player. He's a guy who can get it done; he definitely can play at this level . . . I just hope I'm able to get a couple carries in there, too."

The Eagles haven't said how they will use McCoy, with Westbrook's sprained ankle now healed, but offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was asked yesterday whether the one-back era is over.

"I haven't studied that in depth," Mornhinweg said. "It's been over for a while, with few exceptions. This is a tough, physical game. It's become very specialized as well. Many teams have a normal-down back and then a third-down back and then a changeup guy. I think it's been over for quite some time with a few exceptions, with those rare, special players, which Brian was and is."

Clever finish there, keeping us guessing. But with Westbrook 30 now, and given that he sprained his ankle less than 20 touches into Game 2, after sitting out the preseason, there is every reason to think McCoy will continue to have a substantive role (especially since Andy Reid has said so).

Asked about the ankle, which underwent a surgical cleanout in June, Westbrook said: "The week off definitely helped me . . . my ankle feels good. It responded well to the treatment, responded well to the rest, so now, at this point, it's just time to go out there and see how it does in the game."

Mornhinweg said Westbrook, "looks a little bit healthier than he did before the bye and before the last ballgame."

Sympathy from the Devil?

Donovan McNabb's words Wednesday about Rush Limbaugh's potential partial ownership of the St. Louis Rams - McNabb said it wouldn't bother him, and that he didn't plan to go to St. Louis any time soon - made their way back to the conservative talk show host.

On yesterday's show, Limbaugh posited that "too many people have dumped on McNabb too much. It's been really unfair." A caller told Limbaugh he agreed with Limbaugh's 2003 take on McNabb, when Limbaugh, working for ESPN, said McNabb was overrated because the liberal media wanted a black quarterback to succeed.

"My comment was on the media, and its treatment of McNabb," Limbaugh said. Then he played a clip of McNabb's remarks Wednesday, and joked, "McNabb has rejected a potential job offer before it's even made."

Century mark

If the heavily favored Eagles win Sunday, Andy Reid will become the 16th NFL head coach to win 100 games in his first head coaching job. Among active coaches in that situation, only Tennessee's Jeff Fisher (133-111) leads Reid (99-63-1).

"It's an amazing thing, first of all," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "Coaches tend to move around a little bit more" than Reid has.

"That's a long time," linebacker Chris Gocong agreed. "That's hard to do in the league."

Which, by the way, brings up the fact that Reid's contract is up after next season. Reid's agent, Bob LaMonte, and Eagles president Joe Banner have said they can't envision Reid not coaching the Eagles. Some observers have indicated they think Reid has to win the Super Bowl this year to get another pact; others have said it might be hard for Reid to continue if the Michael Vick gamble turns out badly. But there has been no indication of anything like that from Banner or team chairman Jeffrey Lurie. It wouldn't be a surprise to hear soon that a new Reid deal has been worked out.

Birdseed

Special teams coordinator Ted Daisher sounded eager to get gunner Dimitri Patterson back from a broken finger this week . . . Wide receiver Kevin Curtis, whose left knee is still not 100 percent, Andy Reid acknowledged this week, was wearing a large ice pack after practice. Apparently, the plan is for Jeremy Maclin to get another start there this week. Marty Mornhinweg said Maclin played well in his first start, against Kansas City, "so we'll keep him going and try and get Kevin healthy as quick as we can."

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