Looks Like It'll Be 'FullBuck'
With Dan Klecko listed as "doubtful," the onus of lead blocking for Brian Westbrook seems likely to fall on Correll Buckhalter.
Looks Like It'll Be 'FullBuck'
Dan Klecko practiced Friday, but with the scout team, and afterward, Eagles coach Andy Reid listed his fullback as "doubtful" for Sunday's divisional round playoff game at the Giants with a shoulder injury sustained in last week's wild-card round playoff victory over the Vikings.
Reid said Correll Buckhalter will get most of the fullback reps if Klecko can't go, with Kyle Eckel working in.
That could be a significant change, since running the ball was so important to the Eagles' 20-14 victory at the Giants back on Dec. 7.
Buckhalter, 30, has filled in at fullback here and there over the years, and knows the position well. But at 6-0, 218, he does not deliver a Klecko-sized (5-11, 275) load.
"It is different" from running back, Buckhalter said Friday. "It's a lot different, when you've got the lead block on the linebacker ... A linebacker's coming downhill on you, and you've got to beat him in the hole and block him."
Buckhalter said he is up to the challenge. "Right now, at this point in the season, it's about sacrifice, to get to the ultimate goal," he said.
Meanwhile, Brian Westbrook (knee) was listed as a limited practice participant, but "probable". Westbrook will play; as usual the question will be his effectiveness. Ditto Jon Runyan, who did not practice Friday, and is again "questionable," also with a knee injury.
Reid did not seem all that comfortable being asked about the fact that the Birds did not give up a sack in their two regular-season meetings with the Giants, who set a league record with 12 sacks of Donovan McNabb in a Sept. 30, 2007 victory over the Eagles at the Meadowlands.
“I think it’s important that we’re good this weekend before I say anything," Reid said. " It’s going to be a big challenge this weekend, obviously. We had enough sacks for five years worth last year against them. Anything I say, I preface with that. But, the guys have worked very hard at pass protection. They’ve just done a nice job up front and (offensive line coach) Juan Castillo has done a nice job with them.”
In other developments, Daily News amateur meteorologist Bill Conlin passes along that the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for heavy snow, which is in effect from 11 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. Forecasts call for up to 9 inches of snow in parts of the New York metro area.
According to the advisory, snow is expected to develop over northeast New Jersey and western portions of the lower Hudson Valley around midday before spreading from west to east throughout the day. Snow will then continue to fall through Saturday night and become heavy at times. The snow will taper off shortly after sunrise on Sunday. It could mix with sleet and ice in some areas, helping to limit accumulations.
While it is not expected to be snowing anywhere near kickoff, the area could be digging out from the storm. And wind is always an issue.
Interestingly enough, Giants coach Tom Coughlin had his players practice outside Friday.
"We wanted to be outside," Coughlin said. "I was going to get outside yesterday, but I didn’t think it was anything we could get done yesterday in that weather. I wanted to come outside and get the players out here and get it as close as we can to game time. It is game time and the weather as it will be on game day."
Safety Quintin Mikell was the only Eagle to appear on the Associated Press All-Pro teams released today. Mikell tied for a spot on the second-team defense with Green Bay's Nick Collins for the final spot. Arizona's Adrian Wilson was also on the second team. The first-teamers were Baltimore's Ed Reed, Baltimore and Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu.
The voting is done by a panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL, including the Daily News' Paul Domowitch. Domo was among those who voted for Mikell, as he noted in a column last week.