Westbrook returns to practice

Brian Westbrook was back at practice today. He has missed the last two games because of injury. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

Eagles running back Brian Westbrook returned to practice today, a rare session for him on the harder indoor surface.

Coach Andy Reid said yesterday that he held Westbrook out of practice because the session was indoors and he did not want to aggravate Westbrook's ankle issues. Reid said the decision was not related to Westbrook's concussion.

Offensive tackle Jason Peters (ankle) did not practice. That is the second consecutive day he did not practice. If he can't play Todd Herremans -- who was taking snaps in practice at left tackle -- would slide over and Max Jean-Gilles would play left guard.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg expressed concern today about the up-and-down offense, and likened it to last season, when things smoothed out down the stretch.

"We’ve done that early in the season a couple of times and then we’ve been able to gain some consistency down the stretch," he said. "That’s where we’re at. We know where we’re at. We’re trying to get better every day and if you have that old mentality with the hard work, preparation, ‘you get better every day,’ good things tend to happen, and then you get some guys a little bit healthier and then good things happen. That’s our mentality right now.”

Defensively, coordinator Sean McDermott confirmed that Chris Gocong will make his debut at middle linebacker with Will Witherspoon moving over to the weakside in place of the injured Akeem Jordan. Moise Fokou will start on the strong side for the second consecutive week. Fokou missed yesterday's practice with the flu, and he said today he is still ailing, but practicing and intending to play.

Mike Patterson was listed as a limited participant for the second consecutive day with a toe injury.

Putting the defense together this week is "a challenge we look forward to, and expect to rise above," McDermott said.

"When it rains, it pours," McDermott said. "We're going ahead with who we have available to use, and we look forward to seeing those players execute, and playing at a high level, like we've done to this point."

Also, strong safety Quintin Mikell noted that San Diego's Antonio Gates "is the best tight end in the game. We have to be on point." Tight ends have been a struggle for the Birds this year, even before the most recent batch of injuries scrambled the secondary and the linebacking corps.

Quintin Demps (ankle) did not practice, which is significant because he is the Eagles' first option to return kicks with Ellis Hobbs sidelined. If Demps cannot play, the Birds will go to Jeremy Maclin.

The loss of suspended corner Joselio Hanson means the Eagles will need a new gunner on return coverage. “We’re going to work some different guys in there," special teams coordinator Ted Daisher said. "A variety of people will get an opportunity to do that. Reggie [Brown] will probably be one that will get some looks and we’ll see how the week goes and see who is healthy and go from there.”