Brian Westbrook said he "feels good" a day after playing in his first game in more than a month. But foremost on his mind was the season-ending injury to center Jamaal Jackson.
"It's always tough when you lose a player that is so important to your team," said Westbrook, who has missed eight games this season. "We're going to definitely miss Jamaal because he's really the quarterback of the offensive line."
Much like rookie LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver stepped up in the offensive backfield, Westbrook expects no dropoff with Nick Cole under center.
"The way coach has set this thing up is when a guy goes down, the next guy has to be ready to step in and play effectively," Westbrook said. "Nick will do a good job."
Westbrook, meanwhile, is focused on rounding into form for Sunday's NFC East title showdown in Dallas and the postseason run. The versatile running back chipped in 37 yards on 11 touches against Denver in his first game action since suffering his second concussion of the season Nov. 15 at San Diego.
The plan Sunday was to ease Westbrook back into the offense. He did just that while sporting a new, more-cushioned helmet.
"I went into the game not really expecting to be that involved, but when you're called upon as an offensive player you have to answer the bell," Westbrook said. "I think [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] did a great job of really mixing me, [FB] Leonard [Weaver] and [RB] LeSean [McCoy] in there. Hopefully we can have a little bit more success running the ball next week."
Head coach Andy Reid seemed pleased with the outcome.
"We got Brian enough work in there to where he can still function today and feel good. He got back into the speed of the game," Reid said. "He had a couple of productive plays, which I thought was important."
Westbrook showed some explosion Sunday. His longest run went for 9 yards and his longest reception was good for 6 yards.
Numbers aside, Westbrook says it's a start. And in an offense with so many playmakers, he can afford to take his time.
"I think at this point, you just go out and try to help this team," Westbrook said. "No matter if I was going to be the Brian Westbrook of '06 or '07, whatever it is ... Whatever this team needs me to do, that's what I'm going to do.
"At this point, they don't need me to be that Brian Westbrook right now just because we have so many guys that are performing; but as time goes on, I'm going to get better and better every single week. I'm going to continue to push myself to get back into that form."
In past years, the offense was often stuck in neutral without No. 36 on the field. But not this year.
"In the past we've had years where it was almost just me and Donovan just doing our thing out there," Westbrook said. "This year we have so many weapons. [WR] DeSean [Jackson] leads a corps of wide receivers that have just done a great job. [TE] Brent [Celek] has done a great job. LeSean McCoy, Leonard Weaver have done a great job. Of course, you have our general out there in Donovan.
"It's hard for any defense to stop us if we're playing like we can."
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 6:12 p.m., December 28