With running back Brian Westbrook's rushing and overall numbers way down from the last two seasons, Eagles coach Andy Reid was repeatedly questioned today about the team's struggling running game following Sunday night's 36-31 loss to the New York Giants.
"We can do a better job schematically and we have to execute better," Reid said. "It's a combination of things. There's no reason we should be stopped in the run game like that."
Westbrook carried the ball 13 times for just 26 yards against the Giants and couldn't pick up three yards on two critical plays in the fourth quarter. Reid was asked if the Eagles run the football enough to be successful at it.
"The only thing I can say is ... I believe we do," the caoch said. "I guess if you look for proof, you look at what we did with the run game last year. Any time you put out a 1,000-yard rusher, you're doing something right with the run game. I know what we can do."
Westbrook, who has run 43 times for just 87 yards in the last two games, missed two games earlier this season with a sprained ankle and fractured ribs, but Reid said the running back's health isn't the issue.
"I'm not going to say he's 100 percent," Reid said. "At the same time, he's good enough where he can be effective. I think I have the best back in the business and it's important I get him going. I have to go back to the drawing board."
CLOSE BUT NO VICTORY CIGAR. The Eagles are 1-10 in their last 11 games decided by seven points or less, including 0-4 this season. Three of those four losses have come to NFC East opponents.
"We will get one here," Reid promised. "It will happen. You keep the right frame of mind and stay aggressive and it will take place."
Reid required his players to report to the NovaCare Complex after Sunday night's loss.
REPLAY REVIEW. Reid was upset with himself about burning a timeout to challenge what he thought was a Brandon Jacobs during a six-yard run midway through the fourth quarter. He threw the red challenge flag again on the next play on a 3-yard touchdown run by Jacobs that also was fumbled. Referee Terry McAulay, after reviewing the replay, ruled that the fumble occurred after Jacobs had crossed the goal line.
"The first (challenge) was terrible," Reid said. "That was strictly me. It wasn't the guys in the box. Whatever the reason, I was wrong. The second (challenge), I liked and I still liked."
Reid said the Giants' successful replay challenge of an illegal-forward pass call against Eli Manning was probably right, but he wondered if McAulay used the television red line to make the judgment.
"It looked like the line was wavering a little bit," Reid said.