Brian Westbrook has played in regular season games without the benefit of practice. This season, he'll likely be playing in the regular season opener without the benefit of any preseason action.
Though the plan was for the team's feature back to take some reps Thursday night, Westbrook instead only participated in warm-ups and was declared inactive for the contest.
"I wanted Brian to practice and prepare for the game as if he were playing," said head coach Andy Reid, adding that he made the decision earlier in the day.
Westbrook is recovering from both knee and ankle surgeries, the latter of which was done in early June. Initial indications were that he would miss the entire preseason and would most likely be ready for the season opener in Carolina on Sept. 13.
Westbrook was back practicing by mid-August and has looked sharp. And with Reid's declaration that the first-team units will not play in the preseason finale against the Jets next week, Westbrook will not see any game action until the Panthers game.
While this may be worrisome for some, the bright side is that Westbrook figures to have fresh legs when the games count. His body has not gone through the grueling days of training camp. Westbrook knows how to prepare himself for a game. He has had some of his best performances without having gone through a full week of practice. Plus, with the multitude of weapons the team has added, Westbrook will not be asked to shoulder the load of the offense.
Westbrook was bothered by knee swelling much of last season and finished the regular season with 936 yards rushing, and his average of 4.0 yards per carry tied for the lowest in his seven-year career.
The hope is that come Sept. 13, the versatile No. 36 will once again be as dangerous flexing out as a receiver as he is taking a toss sweep around right tackle or cutting back behind left tackle.
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 6:18 p.m., August 28