Inhale. Exhale. Feels good, doesn't it? Knowing that running back Brian Westbrook is "day to day" with an ankle strain is a whole lot better than imagining the worst for the superstar back. Andy Reid's press conference was still a bit vague as to the severity of the injury, but Reid described Westbrook as at least a possibility to play on Sunday night in Chicago.
That's great news, because it really could have gone any which way during Westbrook's MRI on Monday morning. He injured his ankle in Sunday's win over Pittsburgh, limped off the field and, with the entire crowd at Lincoln Financial Field holding its breath, walked very gingerly into the locker room for further examinations.
So ... the good news is that Westbrook seems to have avoided any kind of lengthy absence. What we still don't know is if Westbrook is going to play on Sunday against a rough-and-tumble Chicago defense, and then we don't know how long this ankle injury might linger.
The offense is more than Westbrook, though. No matter what happens, the Eagles have weapons here that have to be accounted for. They head into Chicago knowing that the Bears play a Cover 2 defense and that Chicago likes to bllitz. They know that the Bears faced a much more conservative Tampa Bay offense on Sunday and the Bucs threw the ball 67 times and gained 407 yards in the air in the comeback victory.
Whether Westbrook plays or doesn't play on Sunday night, the Eagles are going to throw the football. So, there are some things I want to see ...
- The Eagles need to get Reggie Brown into the swing of things on Sunday. He played against the Steelers, but he wasn't a factor. Let's see him get some touches early to get into the flow.
- Ditto tight end L.J. Smith, if he is healthy enough to go. The guy is taking a lot of heat. I know he isn't catching passes, but I don't think he has had the opportunity to catch many after Week 1. He had a shot in the end zone on Sunday, but Donovan McNabb's throw was just a touch short.
- Be creative with DeSean Jackson. I don't mind seeing the guy line up in the backfield, as he did for a snap against Pittsburgh. Get him the football in space and watch what happens.
- I'm fine with Correll Buckhalter having more of a role in the power running game. As I have said since the spring, Buckhalter looks better now than at any time in his career.
- Defensively, keep the blitzes coming. Kyle Orton is a pretty good quarterback. I actually think he makes far more plays for the Bears than any quarterback they have had since Jim McMahon (I think!). But the Bears' bread-and-butter offense is running the football. Rookie back Matt Forte has some power and speed. He is a good young player. The Bears want to establish the ground game. Let's see how the Eagles fare playing downhill against the Bears. I like the matchup of the Eagles' secondary against the Bears' receivers. I will give Chicago credit for resurrecting the career of Brandon Lloyd, though.
- As important as Westbrook is, the health status of Smith (lower back), fullback Tony Hunt (concussion) and guard Shawn Andrews (back spasms) are equally important. Oh, and let's hope McNabb's chest contusion doesn't linger this week.
- Did you notice how Kevin Kolb came out slinging agianst the Steelers? That slant pass he completed to Hank Baskett in traffic was a thing of beauty.
- Baskett deserves to stay in the mix even after Brown gets back into form and Kevin Curtis returns. Baskett is a big, strong reliable receiver.
- When is the last time the Eagles had a punter who could change field position like Sav Rocca? Sean Landeta was good, and Dirk Johnson was reliable, but neither had the hug leg Rocca has.
- OK, back to work for me. Tune in to Eagles Live! and let's talk about the win over Pittsburgh and everything that is coming down the pike.