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Philadelphia Eagles News

RB Brian Westbrook

On whether he's encouraged by how his ankle has felt lately: "Yeah, I'm definitely encouraged. I've gotten better every day. I told coach I'm trying to get better every minute, every second of the day, but the truth is I have gotten better every day. Now, just like last week, you try to get better every day and, at the end of the week, you try to evaluate how close you are to playing and how close you are to 100 percent. If you're close enough, then you play. If you're not, then you have to take the week off."

On whether he felt like he was going to play last Sunday against Chicago: "I felt like I was getting better. I didn't know how good I was going to get towards game time. Towards the end of last week, if I felt like I wasn't going to be good enough to play, then I wouldn't have gone out there and tried to run, and things like that. My goal was to play last week, it just didn't happen that way."

On whether he's more optimistic this week than last week: "Yeah. The injury is another week older; another week of rehab for me, by the time Sunday comes around. I'm definitely more optimistic than I was last week."

On how close he is to practicing: "I'm close. I'm getting closer daily. I did a little bit during the walkthrough; I think that's the first step to getting to the point where you can practice and participate fully. We're taking it slow. You don't want to have anything that will re-injure it and make it worse than what it is."

On whether the Redskins game has special meaning for him because he is from Maryland: "I'm down there all the time. I see those guys all the time, so it's a little bit of bragging rights. I've got some friends down there. It's another game for me, but of course it's a little something extra because that's my hometown."

On how it's decided whether he will play or not: "I'm out there with Rick (Burkholder), the (head athletic) trainer, and (general manager) Tom Heckert was there and they watched me run. They see the things that I could do and I give them feedback of how I feel and they go in, talk to (head) coach (Andy) Reid, and they make a decision. I told them what I can do, what I felt, what was sore, and things like that. They go in and make a decision."

On how hard it was for him to watch the game at Chicago: "It's tough. You want to be able to help this team win. That's what I've been put in this position to do, is help this team win. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game and I'm injured, so I couldn't help this team win. But, we've got guys that should be able to get the job done - and they can get the job done. Unfortunately, this week, everybody didn't pull together and we weren't able to get it done. That's something that, as a team, we're going to work on and we're going to get better in. Hopefully, everybody comes back healthy so we won't have to be in that same predicament."

On why he thinks the team has struggled lately in close games: "That's a good question. I'm not sure of why that is. Of course, you could point to several different things throughout any of those games and say 'this is the reason why. We didn't get a stop on third down, we didn't get first down on third down,' or 'we didn't cross the goal line on fourth down.' There are a lot of things that go into that. More importantly, we didn't execute at some point in the game and good teams find a way to win. You look at what the Patriots did last year. They had some close games as well, but good teams find a way to win. We haven't done that yet and in order for us to be good, we're going to have to be able to win those close games."

On whether the losses in close games are alarming: "It's not alarming, no. Like I said, we're only in the fourth game of the year. It's not alarming, but it's something that needs to be addressed right now. We can't wait until week 10, week 11, and try to address it, we need to address it right now, handle that and move on."

On what he's seen out of the young players on the team, having watched last game from the sideline: "We have some young guys playing, that's obvious. We have some young guys that have some ability as far as (TE) Brent (Celek) and (WR) DeSean (Jackson). We expect big things from both guys, as well. On this team, no matter if they're young, if they're old, we expect big things from them. We expect them to make the plays that come their way. That goes from the younger guys to the older guys, as well."

On how disappointed the team is by not being 4-0 right now: "Very disappointed, but we're still confident that we can get the job done. We played hard in Dallas, we played Pittsburgh hard, and we played hard in Chicago. Obviously, we need to play a little bit harder; we need to execute a little bit better to win those football games. Like I said before, good teams find a way to win those football games. We're not to that point yet. We're going to continue to work, we're going to continue to push and when we get to that point, you'll see us winning those close games."

On whether the running back position is becoming more physically demanding and riskier to play in recent years: "Every year there are going to be injuries, running backs in particular because we touch the ball a lot, you're getting hit from all angles, and you're probably one of the smaller guys on the team. There's going to be injuries at that position; that's going to be every year until they invent something totally different. That's not going to happen anytime soon, so there's going to be injuries. That's part of the game. That's why you get quality backups, like we have here. You go out and you prepare them, just like you prepare your starter, and you let them play."

On whether the way running backs have been used in recent years adds to injuries: "I don't know. I haven't thought about it very much, but I think that we're doing a lot of things, just like every other player. Just like defensive ends have become more specialized in the game, so they're smaller, they're faster and things like that. That might be happening with the running backs. Sometimes injuries occur a little bit more. I'm not a doctor, I don't know."

On QB Donovan McNabb saying he's still sore and whether it would help McNabb to run the ball more against Washington: "The way I feel about the play calls, coach Reid does a good job of mixing in the run here and there. For the past four weeks, Donovan has been throwing the ball pretty well. When you're throwing the ball, you're going to be hit from time to time. As a running back, it's hard to say 'let's run the ball more' when you have a quarterback that's throwing the ball around and having so much success as he's had. I think, during the season, at some point we're going to have to have a running attack to help this team win. That's not to say it's going to be this week or next week, or whenever it is, but we're going to have to have a running attack and, when that comes about, the running backs will be ready, as well as the offensive line."

On Washington using his brother, DB Byron Westbrook, on the scout team to mimic him last year and whether he thinks they'll do it again: (Jokingly) "He's not as good as me."

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