With the status of running back Brian Westbrook up in the air as he recovers from a concussion suffered Monday night against the Redskins, the focus this week has turned to the stable of running backs who occupy the spots underneath Westbrook on the depth chart.
If Westbrook is unable to go on Sunday in the NFC East showdown against the Giants, the majority of the running load is likely to fall to rookie running back LeSean McCoy, who ran for 80 yards on 21 carries in a start earlier this season against the Kansas City Chiefs - a game that Westbrook missed because of injury.
"I've kind of been in this situation before," McCoy said about preparing to possibly carry the lion's share of the ball. "I kind of have the flow of the offense and I've been playing with Donovan and all the guys, DeSean, so it's really not a difference. Even when Brian was playing we still rotated quite a bit, so I don't think it's going to be that big of a difference.
"It's going to be a good game. They're a good team, it's a rivalry, and it's also a division game ... In this type of game you can't have too many mental mistakes, too many errors."
And then there's Eldra Buckley, the special teams ace who is on an active roster for the first time in his career this season. The dreadlocked runner displayed a physical running style in the preseason, rushing for 77 yards and also notching 95 receiving yards. But Buckley hasn't been used on offense this season, getting only a single carry for four yards.
So does his preparation change knowing that he might be involved offensively?
"It doesn't change my preparation at all," Buckley said. "Every week when I go out to practice, I'm looking at what they're doing and I'm the film room every week. It really doesn't change my preparation; it just alerts me more to know that I could be in there early.
"I'm excited every week just to be able to play, come out and play the game we love. I'm excited every week so this week won't be different from any other week."
Another option for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and head coach Andy Reid to use to carry the football is fullback Leonard Weaver. Weaver has run the ball four times this season, but he's a trustworthy ball-carrier, and Reid has mentioned several times that they trust Weaver to carry the ball, especially in short yardage.
"I'm very comfortable (carrying the ball), it's something I've been able to do my whole career, going from fullback to playing a little bit of everything," Weaver said. "So whatever they want to do and whatever Coach Reid and Marty want to call as plays, I'll be prepared."
But like Buckley, Weaver said his preparation will remain unchanged.
"Preparation's always the same," he said. "You always prepare for the worst and be prepared for anything that happens, and that's kind of how I go through my week."
And all three men know the importance of Sunday's game.
"It's a division game, so it's a must-win, so that's how I'm approaching it," McCoy said.
Of course, all the speculation about who will run the ball in Westbrook's stead could prove moot if the veteran is cleared by doctors and is able to get on the field Sunday.
"Brian, he's tough man," McCoy said. "There have been a couple games where people didn't think he was going to play and he shows up and has a big performance. Hopefully he'll be playing and we need him."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:11 p.m., October 29