For once, the need to do a better job putting players in positions to make plays was nowhere to be found at an Andy Reid postgame news conference. No pieces of blame-sharing pie were served.
On Black Friday, the Eagles' coach was as bubbly as a shopper waving discount coupons. It was the morning after a 48-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in which Reid said he believed his team "played well, probably for the first time this year, with all three phases playing at a high level."
In case you dozed off early after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, Donovan McNabb shook off his recent funk, completing 27 of 39 passes for 260 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also took off four times, gaining 24 of the Eagles' 185 rushing yards. Brian Westbrook, somehow revived just four days after limping off the unforgiving Baltimore turf in a blowout loss, gained 110 yards on 22 carries and became the first Eagle to score four touchdowns in a game since Irving Fryar in 1996.
The Eagles' secondary, missing $57 million corner Asante Samuel, handled the league's best wideout corps, intercepting Kurt Warner on his first two drives. Anquan Boldin had several drops and a crucial fumble.
McNabb, as always, was the focal point. Reid referenced "the things that he went through," including Reid's decision to bench his 10th-year franchise quarterback at halftime in Baltimore. "He just showed again what makes him a great quarterback," Reid said.
Reid said right guard Max Jean-Gilles will undergo season-ending right ankle surgery either Monday or Tuesday. Shawn Andrews is back in town after what the coach described as a painful flight from California; Reid was scheduled to sit down with Andrews to assess his condition, but don't hold your breath there. Nick Cole will start at right guard and the Eagles will make a roster move, quite possibly promoting practice squad offensive lineman Chris Patrick. Fourth-round rookie Mike McGlynn becomes the top reserve guard.
Reid was jovial about the standing ovation the Linc crowd awarded a third-and-1 conversion by Episcopal Academy alum Kyle Eckel in the early going. Reid said he thought maybe the crowd was just cheering Eckel since "he'd bought about half the stadium" for his Eagles debut. But the coach knew better. "I was cheering with them," he said.
Reid talked about the fact that wideout Reggie Brown didn't catch a pass Thursday, noting that he felt one of the offensive problems in recent weeks was too many different packages, too many players in and out. "Things were getting too diluted there," Reid said. With the short preparation week, Reid decided to winnow the wideout rotation (which, of course, says nothing good about where Brown stands right now). It was hard to argue with the results.
The Eagles will take the weekend off before reconvening at NovaCare Monday for a brief practice, as they begin preparations for a tougher test, Dec. 7 at the Giants.