PHOENIX --It was a marvelous flight, full of energy and optimism as the Eagles made their way to the warmth of the desert, four and a half hours in the air and now feet firmly planted on the ground. There is business to get done before the Eagles play Arizona on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Business, pleasure and the pleasure of doing business the right way.
First, some interesting notes from Friday. One, Brian Westbrook practiced and is ready. Totally ready. Anybody thinking that he is worse than he was last week in New York is wrong. In fact, Westbrook said on Friday during his NFC Championship Game press conference, he feels really good. When asked if the knee feels better than it did last Sunday, Westbrook gave a positive response.
"Yes, I would say better," he said.
On the Cardinals' side, and I never know quite what to make of injury reports, four players are listed as questionable -- wide receiver Anquan Boldin, linebacker/defensive end Travis LaBoy, tight end Ben Patrick and punter Ben Graham. This is particularly interesting to me on a couple of different fronts. Boldin practiced on a limited basis all week, so did he ever have a chance to "open it up" and truly test his injured hamstring? I wonder how explosive he can be if he hasn't completely pushed the hamstring and worked through the aches and pains afterward.
I wonder: Is Boldin going to play? Maybe he will be in uniform, but can he play like he plays when he is healthy? And if Boldin can't go at full speed, what does that mean for coverage schemes and the way Jim Johnson approaches the Cardinals offense?
Patrick is a reserve tight end at a thin position and the Cardinals really can't afford any injuries here. LaBoy has been replaced in the lineup by Bertrand Berry, so whether LaBoy plays or not is probably not a huge deal for the Cards.
Graham catches my attention. Let me get this straight: A punter has a groin injury and was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday? Would you feel good about that if Sav Rocca had the same thing going on? I'm just wondering ...
Otherwise, well, hey, injuries aren't going to factor into this game. Everybody is banged up. Everybody has aches and pains. Players don't often get to this level, so they play through the hurt right now.
Not much more to add, not now. Time to relax for a half a day. Get my mind straight. The players have their walk through at the University of Phoenix on Saturday -- by the way, there is still no official word on whether the dome is open or closed, and all of those reports suggesting it will be closed are premature, as I understand it -- and they will get acclimated to the warmer temperatures through the day on Saturday.
Game time is nearing. There are already a lot of Eagles fans here. Can't wait to see how it builds unitil Sunday!