GLENDALE, Ariz. - In case people hadn't heard it, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook repeated that he is among the growing list of players who are siding with quarterback Donovan McNabb, requesting that management bring additional weapons to the team for next season.
"I think having more weapons on your team takes pressure off of everybody," said Westbrook, who is at Super Bowl XLII as part of a promotional campaign with Chili's Restaurant. "If you look at a team like the Patriots, they have so many weapons that if you shut down one guy, it just gives so many more opportunities to other guys to play well.
"If you have those guys who can make those plays, it makes it a lot easier on the entire team. That's something we could definitely use and hopefully we'll get that."
Maybe it's comes from being back in the atmosphere of the Super Bowl or maybe it comes from the knowledge that the Eagles came close to beating both the Patriots and NFC champion New York Giants, but Westbrook believes the Eagles aren't that far from the NFL's ultimate stage as long as management acknowledges that some positions have to be upgraded.
"When I see two teams playing in the Super Bowl that we competed with very well, and we had the opportunity to beat both teams, it gives you the confidence that we can be here as well as win this game," Westbrook said.
But again, like McNabb and recently offensive tackle Jon Runyan and safety Brian Dawkins, Westbrook emphasized the Eagles must improve their roster to make that happen.
"I just want some playmakers," said Westbrook, who many consider the Eagles' only legitimate such threat. "That's offense, defense and special teams as well. It's not any one position in particular; it's everywhere.
"I think that if we find those playmakers in all positions we'll be able to be more successful."
It's not about calling out teammates. It's about looking at the reality of the Eagles being an team and the only one in the NFC East that did not make the playoffs.
Simply put, the players realize the roster needs to get better.
"I don't think any of us is saying such-and-such is not a good player and we need to get rid of him," Westbrook emphasized. "I think it really goes down to the guys that are making plays need to make more plays. The guys that can do a better job, they need to do a better job. And if we can get somebody in there who can do a better job and help this team win football games, then we should do that as well."
Other than the fact that the Eagles aren't participating, it's been a pretty good week in Arizona for Westbrook.
The Chili's campaign, which features him, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Minnesota Vikings rookie running-back sensation Adrian Peterson each sponsoring one of the restaurant's new Smokehouse Bacon Burger sandwiches in a competition for charity, is another indication that Westbrook finally is being recognized as one of the elite performers in the NFL.
"I think that when guys notice you more as a player, the more they want to be around you," said Westbrook, who will earn $10,000 for Soaring Toward Educational Enrichment via Equine Discovery (STEED) if his Smokehouse Bacon Triple-the-Cheese Big Mouth Burger is voted the best. "I'm appreciative that guys have noticed my play on the field and people respect that as well.
"I think Chili's is doing a great job with this promotion, and hopefully people will go to Chilis.com and vote for my item so I can win $10,000 for my charity."
A lot of people believe that given Westbrook's remarkable contribution to the offense, the Eagles' front office should show him some respect by reworking a contract he is clearly outperforming.
But Westbrook said that is a business matter to be settled between his agent, Fletcher Smith, and team president Joe Banner.
"That's something I'll allow my agent to handle," Westbrook said, mentioning that Smith has initiated some preliminary contact with Banner. "It's not something I have really talked publicly about, and I'll continue that way.
"I just think my agent will handle all those things for me and hopefully things will work out."
Westbrook said the issue of him having to repay the Eagles $3 million because the team made an accounting error and gave him a bonus check twice isn't "completely done, but it's been resolved to the best of the ability at this time."
Obviously, talks about renegotiations never are the smoothest matters, but Westbrook said he plans to be on time when the Eagles start minicamps after the April draft. *