Monday, November 24, 2014
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The most irreplaceable Eagles player?

McNabb? Westbrook? Who?

The most irreplaceable Eagles player?

This idea comes from Matt Mosley's NFC East blog at ESPN.com, by way of Football Outsiders. Anyway, they did a thing where they picked the 10 most irreplaceable players in the NFL. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning was No. 1, and Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware was No. 2.

There were no Eagles on the list.

I don't get that.

Is there not enough evidence out there about the importance of Brian Westbrook to this team? As he spends June nursing whatever the hell ails him this time, and it's always something, how is it possible that someone cannot recognize just how vital Westbrook is to the Eagles' success?

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Just look at last year. In the games he was functional -- not great, but just decent -- the Eagles were an offensive machine. In the games when he was either out or obviously hobbled -- Chicago and Baltimore come to mind immediately, but there were others -- they were only an imitation of themselves, and a poor one at that. And while there was near-unanimous applause for the drafting of Shady McCoy as Westbrook's understudy, he hasn't yet seen the field. We really don't know.

Hell, I could put Donovan McNabb on the list, too. He tanked last year and they tanked. He was re-born and they were re-born. Some of this obviously coincided with Westbrook's health, which is why I think he is the key, but McNabb seems reasonably essential to this mix right now, too. Even if you like Kevin Kolb, he has barely played.

The Eagles have worked to make these two guys less irreplaceable, and maybe they have. But we really don't know. And until we do, it is hard to see that list as anything but flawed, and incomplete.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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