Brian Westbrook missed most of training camp and then did not play in the preseason, but he said he is "fresh and ready to go" when he was asked about Sunday's season opener at Carolina.
The eighth-year running back, who turned 30 a week ago, said he he wanted to prove to himself and coach Andy Reid that "you don't have to go through a hard training camp" to be effective in Week 1.
Westbrook said he has a lot of faith in the Birds' rebuilt offensive line, even though it didn't play together in the preseason, Nick Cole is starting for Todd Herremans (foot), and Shawn Andrews (back), like Westbrook, hasn't played in a game yet.
"Those guys, they're animals," said Westbrook. "They really get after it. I'm excited to run up behind those guys. They want to run the ball -- they protect well, but they definitely want to get after it in the running game, so hopefully, coach Reid'll give us the opportunity."
You betcha, Brian. That's happening, for sure, with seven wide receivers on Reid's roster. We all know how much Andy loves to run the ball.
In other news from today's press conferences:
* Reid said linebacker Joe Mays (shoulder sprain) won't play, which makes strongside linebacker Chris Gocong the backup in the middle should Omar Gaither get hurt. Gaither has been battling through an ankle injury but Reid did not seem terribly concerned by that. Gocong said he'll get some work in the middle at practice today, for the first time since high school. Mays said he fell on the shoulder wrong in the preseason finale against the Jets, but doesn't think he'll be sidelined long.
* Reid hinted left guard Todd Herremans might miss more than the first two weeks. Herremans had surgery for a stress fracture. Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles will share time at that spot, with Cole starting.
* Reid said Michael Vick will travel with the team and remain on the exempt list. Vick will not be eligible to play until Week 3 against Kansas City but is able to work out on the side, while not practicing with the team.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb said he thought Vick should have been reinstated from week 1 because "he's served his time."
* As he did on his radio show last night, Reid confirmed that rookie Macho Harris will start at free safety.