Developing story lines and more

Les Bowen's Developing Eagles Storylines

* There is no way the Eagles will continue to carry seven wideouts. They deactivated Reggie Brown and Brandon Gibson on Sunday, and didn't throw any passes to a totally invisible Jeremy Maclin. They are going to need one of those wideout roster spots for Jeff Garcia.

* The Birds' longest gain of the day from scrimmage was 25 yards on a DeSean Jackson end-around. Yet they scored 38 points.

* The Panthers lacked a top-flight tight end and didn't throw underneath much, something that might change this week when Drew Brees and Jeremy Shockey come to town. "I think linebackerwise, we've got to focus on Shockey," Chris Gocong said.

* Among the many possible problems discussed endlessly in the offseason and preseason that didn't come up in the opener was defensive leadership. Turns out, Trent Cole is a pretty good leader, rampaging into the backfield with a full head of steam.

* Andy Reid noted that middle linebacker Omar Gaither "ended up playing the whole game, and I thought did just a heckuva job leading the defense . . . He's the one that makes all the calls. When I say they were accurate with all their assignments, that starts with Omar, and him controlling that defense."


In other news, the Saints could find out today about when the league will enforce the four-game suspension against defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant, according to the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

The NFL is free to suspend the players because their suspensions were upheld by a federal appeals court in Minnesota. The problem is the league's hands might be tied because two Vikings players who tested positive for the same substance were awarded the right to fight their suspensions in state court in Minnesota, allowing them to play for the rest of the season.

The league would rather suspend all the players at the same time, meaning Smith and Grant could get a reprieve until the case in Minnesota is settled. The NFL is deciding whether to appeal.

The Saints continue to prepare as if Grant and Smith will be allowed to play.

“We’re not in a position to push [for a decision]," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "We just wait. It’s something that is entirely in their hands.”

Reggie Bush was the only player on the practice field Monday, fielding punts from a machine. Bush muffed a punt Sunday, losing it to the Lions, and he fumbled on another return, which he recovered himself.

In response, he was booed at least twice by the home fans at the Superdome — something he said might be a first for him.

“It’s part of the game,” Bush said. “It’s what happens. I’ve just got to find ways to get better. You can’t complain. If I don’t like it, I’ve got to do something about it.”