Brian Westbrook practiced today, as the Eagles prepared to host the Dallas Cowboys, and is "good to go" for Sunday, "unless there's a setback here," Andy Reid said Wednesday. Westbrook suffered a concussion in the Eagles' Oct. 26 victory at Washington.
Strongside linebacker Chris Gocong (quad, hamstring) did not practice today. Ditto DE Victor Abiamiri and WR Kevin Curtis, who have knee issues. DE Chris Clemons, working with a shoulder sprain, is listed as not practicing, as is DT Brodrick Bunkley (knee). Curtis has already been ruled out for Dallas.
Reid said he believes Westbrook's concussion is "a freak thing" and not indicative of any sort of descent into constant injury worries. "I thought he was as good as I've ever seen him" before Westbrook ran into London Fletcher's knee, Reid said. He joked that Westbrook's head generally collides with defenders' shins, but in this instance, "the two shortest guys on the field" ran into each other.
Westbrook called the concussion "a fluke thing," and said that while he worries about the effects of such an injury many years in the future, he can't be thinking about it when he takes the field against the Cowboys.
"You have to go out there and play worry-free football," he said.
Donovan McNabb said he will continue to wear rib protection. Reid, by the way, spoke of McNabb raising his profile as a leader, as other veterans such as Tra Thomas and Brian Dawkins depart.
"You just try to provide confidence to them, first," McNabb said. He said he also feels setting an example through preparaton and work ethic is important.
McNabb, usually one to downplay expectations, provided this telling quote: "You're seeing a lot of guys stepping up and making big plays for us ... I've been part of a team where something like this happened, back in 2004."
Reid also extolled Westbrook's mentoring of rookie running back Shady McCoy, noting that many veterans worry more about keeping their jobs than helping youngsters.
"I'm not that type of guy," Westbrook said. "If they don't learn from the other guys, they're going to make mistakes" that adversely affect the team.
As most Eagles opponents are learning on a weekly basis, DeSean Jackson is very fast and very hard to contain.
This week, that challenge falls to Dallas cornerbacks Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins, but not them alone.
"Help, help, got to get some help on him," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "They know that. We know what. You got a guy like that who makes a lot of big plays, you got to get some help, you’ve got to have somebody else looking for him, too, not just the corners. Because we’ve seen corners get beat."
Jackson has six touchdowns this season, all of 50 yards or more, and he has scored as a receiver, a runner and a punt returner. He ranks second in the NFL at 20.9 yards per catch.
The Eagles have 28 plays of 20 or more yards this season, ranking fourth in the league this year. The Cowboys, by the way, have 35 such plays. The Birds lead the league with 12 touchdowns of 20 or more yards (Dallas has nine) and are tied with Indianapolis with nine passing TDs of 20 or more yards (Dallas has eight).
"Marty (Mornhinweg) is doing a heck of a job calling the plays and being able to gauge when the different coverages are coming," coach Andy Reid said Monday. "Teams roll their coverages so you are not seeing one thing every play there. You have to do your homework and understand the situation and know when to call the play at the right time. We have things by design for every coverage, whether they work or not is another thing. You have shots for most of the different coverages that you are playing.”
Obviously, NBC is looking forward to Dallas-Eagles on Sunday night.
"Philadelphia and Dallas going in opposite directions from the Giants," analyst and former coach Tony Dungy said. "They are playing great, both teams, in all three phases setting up a big showdown game next Sunday night."
He also added this about the Eagles: "These guys have a ton of weapons. Michael Vick is a great weapon and he can't get off the bench."
Check back with Eagletarian for more coverage as the Birds resume practice.