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The Great Westbrook Debate

As part of NFL Network's 32 teams in 32 days series, airing daily on Total Access, takes a look at a key question facing each NFL team. NFL Network analysts Brian Baldinger and Rod Woodson discuss the Philadelphia Eagles. The question: Is running back Brian Westbrook still the key to the Eagles' offense?

Both Baldinger and Woodson agree that No. 36 does indeed play a key role in what Philadelphia likes to do on offense.

Westbrook's recent ankle surgery and potential missed practice time in training camp, Baldinger says, could be a blessing in disguise. In fact, he has high expectations for Westbrook in 2009.

"I expect a very good year out of Westbrook, too. I think missing training camp could be the best thing for him. His whole game is quickness, and if his ankles or knees aren't right -- as we saw in the middle of the season last year -- he's a pretty ineffective player. But when he has his legs underneath him, he's as good as anyone in this league.

"The Eagles really don't need Westbrook during the preseason. Andy Reid runs the toughest training camp in the NFL, and Westbrook doesn't need to be hit or tackled. Westbrook just needs to be ready on Sept. 13 against the Panthers."

Said Woodson: "Running backs do take a beating, but it depends on the type of back. Westbrook doesn't take a lot of big hits and doesn't get a lot of carries. It's not like he's a pounding back, so it's a little different with him because of the system he plays in. I also like rookie LeSean McCoy, who will take some of the burden off Westbrook."

Click here and check out their debate.

-- Posted by Bob Kent, 5:15 p.m., July 16

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