Friday, June 5, 2009

The Mayans Should Have Predicted This!!!

Forget about the end of the world, the Mayans should have warned us of the chaos of Brian Westbrook getting surgery in June. The horror. The horror. I happened by NFL Live on ESPN yesterday and boy are those guys desperate for a big story. You'd think Westy had a torn ACL in one leg and the other foot in the grave. Yikes.

SalPal was actually the calmest of the group, if you can believe that. The studio host, Herm Edwards, and Cris Carter all talked about gloom and doom stuff. Maybe they were still in shock from watching Earth 2100. Or seeing those paparazzi picks of Tori Spelling. Neither offers much hope for humanity.

Anyway. All the talking heads are going on and on about the Eagles minus Westbrook. No one seems to want to discuss the timeline of the situation. It is early June. Training Camp is more than 6 weeks away. The season is another month after that. Unless my math is awful, that leaves plenty of time for Westy to rehab and return to the team for the regular season.

The surgery is being done to clean out bone spurs, not surgically repair a non-functioning ankle. The goal is to relieve pain. Cris Carter talked about having the procedure done in the middle of his career. He said it allowed him to play another 6 or 7 years. Instead of focusing on that positive angle he went to worrying about Westy's conditioning. Huh? Westy isn't a 25-carry guy. He doesn't need a bunch of TC plays to get his body right for the pounding of the season.

Herm chimed in that Andy might use Westy just as a 3rd down back when he returns. Again...huh? Brian should be back before the start of the season, possibly in the middle of TC. He should be fine as the starting RB. If the ankle doesn't heal properly, that's another story. These guys weren't talking about that. They just focused on the Eagles without Westy.

Big Red said the team won't make a move at this time. Nor should they. Right now the Eagles need to decide what they think of Lorenzo Booker and they need to see how LeSean McCoy performs. Is LoBo purely a backup to them? He's running with the starters right now, but don't read too much into that. This is practice. One of the keys to good practice is knowing the playbook and executing the play correctly. LoBo has been here a year. He knows the plays and how to practice. Don't think that just because he's in there now means McCoy won't pass him in August or September.

We need McCoy to show the coaches that he can handle the mental side of playing a lot. He needs to have a good feel for the playbook. He needs to be an effective blocker. He needs to be reliable during the week and in games. That's a tall order, but one that LeSean can handle.

I know some people want the Eagles to go sign a veteran RB. Patience. The goal is to have a 1-2 punch of Westy and McCoy. The team will monitor Brian's ankle on a very regular basis to see how well it rehabs. The coaches will be watching McCoy with an electron microscope to see if they think he's ready. If either situation starts to look shaky, the Eagles will make a move and go sign someone. I don't see that happening before August 5th. That would give Westy 2 months of rehab and it will give McCoy OTA time and a week of TC to show the team what he can do. At that point you could still sign a veteran and have 3 to 4 weeks to get him ready for the season.

The x-factor at RB is going to be Leonard Weaver. He isn't just a FB. One of the reasons he came to Philly was to have the chance to get carries and catches. Weaver is 6'0, 242. He has some speed, quickness, and elusiveness. He's not meant to be a featured runner, but he could handle 80 or so carries in a year. Weaver only has 80 carries in his career, but that's because Mike Holmgren believes in feeding the ball to his primary tailback (what a novel idea). Weaver has the ability to handle 5-8 carries in a game and to be an effective runner. With Westy health, Weaver will be lucky to average 4 carries a game. If Westy does miss some time, Weaver could really benefit.

I think at that point Reid would consider RB by committee with McCoy, Booker, and Weaver as the key guys. You could squeeze 20-25 carries out of that group and still have a solid offense.

Let's talk about adding a RB. Edgerrin James isn't coming here. He wants to go somewhere and be fed the ball. That's not gonna happen here. Deuce McAllister still has a suspension looming over his head. We don't want a guy to join the team in early October. Warrick Dunn makes some sense. He can be a workhorse or role player. He can catch the ball and he is a willing blocker. Dunn seems like the logical choice of this group. Still, there isn't any player that is so compelling that I want the Eagles to go get him right now. I'm more interested in seeing what McCoy can do.

Remember, Westy had the surgery already (morning of June 5th). The ankle was sore, but it wasn't like he couldn't run or move on it. Barring some bizarre scenario, he should be ready to go for the season. Could his ankle bother him during the year? Sure. We don't know how it will respond to the surgery or the season. I think signing another player right now would be a dumb move. Focus on the guys already here and see what they can do. Monitor Westy's rehab. That's the smart plan in early June. That may change in early July or early August, but for now just sit tight and see how things play out. This isn't the time for action.

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9 comments:

orangecrush007 said...

Westbrook has his second surgery of the offseason. He played hurt all year last year (minus game 1 and 2). The difference in his ability playing hurt is obvious on the field and in his numbers. Westbrook is 30 years old. There IS something to worry about here. Even Eskin agrees with that point.

Baloophi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baloophi said...

@ Orangecrush007 -

The difference in Westbrook playing hurt IS obvious... that's why I'm glad he's getting the surgery. As far worrying about it, what would your response be at this point?

Also, had Westbrook had this surgery at the end of the season (in addition to the knee scope) what would you have done differently if you had the keys to the car?

Adam said...

You just said yourself 007 "The difference in his ability playing hurt is obvious on the field and in his numbers."
That's the entire reason for the surgeries so he isn't playing hurt. I'm not excited the guy needed surgery but c'mon 13 weeks till the start of the regular season, that's PLENTY of time to heal that baby up.
What's with everybodies facination with 30 yrs old? it is not a rule that RB's decline immediately at 30, while it does happen alot it's not a given. Sure the guy has had injuries but never major ones. plus he never ran the ball 25 times a game so the wear and tear shouldn't be as significant as say somebody like LT.

I'm not worried one bit about this, doomsday isn't coming anytime soon.

orangecrush007 said...

Alls I am saying is they need to bring someone in now. Doesnt have to be a big name guy, but someone with some experience. I like Chris Perry. Or I guess even Warrick Dunn. There is no clue what either Booker or Mccoy can do. If Mccoy is a bust and Booker is also and Westbrook gets hurt then what. That is within the realm of possibility.

Cliff said...

There's no need to sign a veteran RB right now, though. All he would do is rob McCoy of reps in Training Camp.

Adding a vet could prove too costly to the development of our long-term future at RB, which is McCoy. Maybe we have to take a little bit of a hit now, but the extra time and opportunity for McCoy could be tremendous.

Cliff said...

Tommy,

I'm clicking through the OTA photos on PE.com and I see that MJG is participating. What's that mean in regards to his injury-recovery?

Having MJG back is a great thing, right?

Chris said...

I would rather wait too...maybe Buck does not stick with the Broncos.

Stephen said...

Adding a back now as opposed to in August doesn't really make sense, unless there was a guy who you'd want to have competing for a roster spot anyhow.

I personally want us to take a flier on Deuce Mcallister. After 4 games let go of Lobo or Mendenhall or whoever you keep as the #3 tailback, and go Westy-Shady-Mccallister with Weaver at FB. That all of course is contingent on how much tread Mcallister has left on the tire, which I have no way of knowing. All I do know is I like the way he runs when he's been healthy, and I'd love to see him be our 3rd and 1 guy.