So now it is official: Hank Baskett is out for Sunday's game. Kevin Curtis is doubtful. The Eagles are thin at wide receiver for Sunday's game against Washington, but nobody is worrying at the NovaCare Complex. That's because the Eagles witnessed what the offense did through the first month of the season when both Curtis and Reggie Brown were out with injuries. Everybody else stepped up.
More of the same is expected on Sunday.
"I think those guys, they would love to be out there, but we're fortunate to have Reggie here; somebody that's played quite a bit and kind of got moved out of the lineup there, due to numbers and the chemistry of the other guys playing," said head coach Andy Reid. "But, he's a guy that Donovan (McNabb) has confidence in and he'll step in. He's had a nice week of practice, so I would expect him to play well."
Ain't no other choice, really. Brown is prepared. His numbers against Washington -- 25 catches for 428 yards and four touchdowns in seven games -- are already noted. Brown plays well against the Washington. He has had big games at FedEx Field. For whatever reason ...
And besides, injuries are part of the game. Greg Lewis could see more time. DeSean Jackson will be a focus. Jason Avant is going to get his looks. There are players here who can do the job, whether Curtis plays or whether he does not play.
This is the time of the year when everybody is hurting. It has been a long season for everyone. Washington's injury list includes right tackle Jon Jansen, who is listed as doubtful with a knee injury that has kept him out of the lineup. Running back Clinton Portis did not practice on Friday because of a back injury and is now listed as questionable. You go with what you have and you hope that it's enough to win a huge game like the one on Sunday.
Anyway, the Eagles weren't any different in the locker room. A day earlier Jackson used rolls of tape as he shot jumpers into the trash can -- and missed. "My shot is not on today," he said.
On Friday, with rain pelting the building, the Eagles moved through their practice indoors and then dressed, took treatment, had lunch and rolled to whatever they do two days before a game.
Oh, there were a couple of things to note. Rookie Mike McGlynn conducted his first mass-media interview and answered all the questions about how ready he is should left guard Todd Herremans (sprained ankle, listed as questionable) not be able to play against Washington. Talk about an initiation. One second McGlynn was on the practice field taking reps at left guard and the next minute he had four television cameras and a half-dozen other reporters in his face asking him questions as if he were starting.
There is no slack when it comes to the media.
"I'm ready to go and I feel like I'll be prepared," said McGlynn, a fourth-round draft pick from Pittsburgh. "The biggest difference is preparing to play one position, rather than preparing to play multiple positions. It's been good that way. I think my biggest battle will be making sure I don't get too hyped. It's just football when it comes down to it. If I play, I just have to go out and do what I know I have to do and play my game."
McGlynn launched into a story about how he acquired the nickname "Greezy" from a childhood friend. There isn't any reason McGlynn was nicknamed "Greezy" back in the day, but he wears the name to this day from all of his homeboys who watched him play about 20 snaps in Monday night's blowout win over Cleveland.
"That helped me a lot just to understand that when I'm on the field, I just have to focus on my job and play the game," he said. "It felt great out there. I expect that I'll be ready if I'm needed again."
Center Jamaal Jackson called McGlynn a "baby Jon Runyan," and said, laughing, that McGlynn's aggressiveness is similar to the way the Eagles' right tackle plays the game: Aggressively, physically and to the whistle.
If it happens that the whistle blows too early ...
"I hope Mike doesn't get a lot of personal fouls in his career," said Jackson, laughing.
Jackson deserves a lot of credit here for keeping the line together despite some injuries at right guard -- Nick Cole is the third in line there -- and some missing preseason and practice time from the tackle positions. That McGlynn would get the call instead of Winston Justice -- who has practiced at right guard -- should Herremans not play is interesting. Telling? Maybe. Could be one of those left side, right side things. I don't know ...
The locker room moves quickly on Friday afternoon. On Wednesday and Thursday, players scurry from the practice field to the shower and then to meetings. On Friday, they shower and dress after practice, grab a bit to eat on Junk Food Fridays -- the cafeteria is loaded with wings and pizza and soups and cheesesteaks (and healthy chicken if you want it) -- and then they roll.
One guy who stayed to stop and chat was running back Correll Buckhalter, who returned to the field Sunday after missing two games. He carried 6 times for 55 yards and showed power and a burst and, yeah, he is back after suffering the knee injury in Baltimore.
"I feel great," he said. "I'm excited about getting down to Washington and playing a good football team. The Redskins beat us before, so we want to play them real bad. It's a big game. We all know that. We've been here before."
Buckhalter figures to be a key player in a lot of ways. Maybe the Eagles flex Brian Westbrook out just a little bit more and use him as a receiver to create some good matchups against Washington's man-to-man coverages. Maybe the Eagles, wary of the weather, go to a more run-oriented attack with both Westbrook and Buckhalter.
Regardless, Buckhalter deserves some touches in this game. He is averaging 4.7 yards per carry this season and has the tough inside running style and the explosiveness to the edge to do some damage against an excellent defense.
"They play hard, physical football. They blitzed us a lot last time, but I don't know if they are going to do that again," said Buckhalter. "We're going to see. We will be ready for what they do. We know we have to play well."
Otherwise, the locker room was fairly quiet. Max Jean-Gilles was on hand after the surgery on his ankle. He is just starting his rehab. The players came and went in groups, by position, and conducted their business. The reporters have few questions remaining this week, anyway. Every question has been asked.
The answers come Sunday. Game time closes in, and the level of excitement and urgency rises for everyone.