The upside on Westbrook


Glass half-full time on Brian Westbrook.

It's bad that he needs to have bone spurs in his ankle cleaned out. But the timing is good. That is where you have to begin.

So what if he misses training camp? Honestly, in his case, training camp is just another place where Westbrook can get hurt. (And don't even mention these OTAs.) It is becoming clearer by the year, and by the day, that the truism about running backs is especially true about this guy; that is, that there are a limited number of carries in any NFL running back's body, and that Westbrook likely can see the end someplace on the horizon.

He does not need anything more than minimal practice time, as has been proven over the last couple of years. He's always in shape, so that isn't a significant issue and isn't likely to be one. The ideal is to get him on the field, full strength, for 16 Sundays. If this helps -- and, as a byproduct, a summer off of the practice field also helps -- then that's fine.

The other thing this does is give Shady McCoy everybody's undivided attention. The thought all along was that the second-round draft choice was the linchpin of the 2009 draft, and this is even more true today. He will get tons of practice reps. He will be given every opportunity to prove to himself and the coaches that he can pick up blitzes and otherwise handle the pass-protection load that is an essential facet of the position he plays. Westbrook receives little credit for how good he is at that part of the game -- but his ability to block makes a lot of other things go.

So McCoy will get the work and Westbrook will get the rest -- which is to say, while not ideal, this isn't all bad.

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