Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Will Westbrook mentor McCoy?

Brian Westbrook's message is clear.

Will Westbrook mentor McCoy?


Brian Westbrook's message is clear.

He'll help rookie running back LeSean McCoy get adjusted to the NFL game, but Westbrook says his job is to keep the 20-year-old off the field.

"My job as an older guy as well as a guy that’s competitive is to help them out, help them be the best player that they can, but also for me, my job is to keep those guys on the bench as long as I can, and try to remain on this team and in this league as long as I can and that’s just the bottom line," Westbrook told the midday guys Anthony Garagno and Ike Reese during a WIP interview.

Westbrook warned fans about expecting too much from Jeremy Maclin and McCoy during their rookie seasons.

"And so I would caution the fans and different people of saying that these kids are going to be able to jump on the field right away and contribute right away," he said. "Hopefully that’s the case, but that doesn’t happen very often in the NFL."

Going into the draft, McCoy critics questioned his blocking abilities.

Westbrook emphasized that the rookie will need to concentrate on that aspect if he wants to get on the field.

"The truth is, especially when I came into the league, and still true now, if you continue to get No. 5 hit,  you ain’t gonna play too much at all anyway. That’s just the bottom line," he said.

If you examine Westbrook's comments (or listen to the interview), they shouldn't be viewed negatively. By all accounts, he's one of the most-respected and well-liked guys in the locker room.

There should be little doubt that he'll be a great mentor for McCoy.

But on the other hand, it certainly cannot hurt if he has an added chip on his shoulder. The Eagles obviously felt they needed to get younger at running back and found a guy who, if successful, would be Westbrook's eventual successor.

A couple other things Westbrook talked about in the interview:

On the Eagles' offseason moves and if they signal a move towards a more balanced attack:

"I truly believe that we’re gonna take a more active role in trying to run the ball more this year," he said, clarifying that was his own opinion, and Andy Reid had said no such thing to him.

"Of course we’re gonna throw the ball a whole lot, but I think now we have the talent up front to be able to run the ball a little bit more effectively."

On the need for RBs to be well-rounded in Reid's system:

"The running back has to worry about blitz. You have to know the blocking protection of the offensive line. You have to be able to run routes. You have to be on the same page as the quarterback, as well as be able to run the ball. … In this offense you could be a great runner but we’re still gonna throw the ball 70 percent of the time."

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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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