In the Eagles' first three games, against Atlanta, San Francisco and Oakland, the versatile Westbrook racked up 439 rushing and receiving yards on 56 touches, an average of 7.8 yards per touch. His 208 yards from scrimmage against the Raiders in Week 3 gave him 14 straight games with 100-plus combined rushing and receiving yards.
But in the Eagles' two games before the bye week, Westbrook wasn't a
factor. In the Eagles' come-from-behind 37-31 Week 4 win over Kansas
City, he rushed for just 15 yards on nine carries and caught six passes
for 33 yards.
Last week, in the Eagles' 33-10 loss to Dallas, Westbrook finished
with just 36 rushing and receiving yards.
Despite the presence of wide receiver Terrell Owens, Westbrook is the
key to the Eagles offense. He is an invaluable receiver, and coach Andy
Reid and offensive coordinator Brad Childress love to move him around
the formation to create coverage mismatches against linebackers and
What's interesting is that Westbrook's lack of production the last
two games really hasn't had as much to do with defenses successfully
defending him as the Eagles just not using him enough.
Against the Cowboys, he was open all day, but quarterback Donovan McNabb either didn't see him or threw bad passes. Westbrook completely
undressed Cowboys safety Roy Williams on a wheel route out of the
backfield and would have had an easy touchdown, but McNabb was flushed
out of the pocket just when Westbrook broke open. Later, Westbrook was
wide open in the end zone, but McNabb didn't see him. Another time,
Westbrook broke free down the seam, but McNabb's pass was a tad too
Third-year wide receiver Greg Lewis continues to play well for the
Eagles. Lewis is fourth on the team in receptions with 21. He's had at
least three catches in each of the Eagles' five games so far.
An undrafted free agent out of Illinois, Lewis became a starter in
August when Todd Pinkston went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
With opposing defenses often rolling their coverage toward Terrell Owens
and double-teaming running back Brian Westbrook, Lewis has taken
advantage of the one-on-one opportunities he's gotten.
Lewis is one of just five undrafted wide receivers currently starting
in the league. The other four are Rod Smith of Denver, Eric Parker of
San Diego, David Patten of Washington and Drew Bennett of Tennessee.
"From the first day he got here, he believed he could make the team,"
said Eagles vice-president of player personnel Tom Heckert, who signed
Lewis even though he wasn't even a starter at Illinois. Lewis played
behind Brandon Lloyd, now with San Francisco, and his cousin, Walter Young, who is on Pittsburgh's practice squad.
"Some of these (free agent) guys, they look around and pretty much
throw in the towel. But he thought he could play and (he) went out and
played like he belonged here," Heckert said.
Despite the presence of three Pro Bowlers in their secondary, the
Eagles have given up seven touchdown passes in the last three games,
including three in their 33-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
It was the first time the Eagles have allowed three TD passes in a
game in 35 regular-season games, going back to 2003.
Part of the problem has been an inconsistent pass rush. With
defensive tackle Darwin Walker out for the last three games with a thigh
injury, the Eagles haven't gotten much inside push from the tackle
position. That's allowed opponents to double-team left end Jevon Kearse,
who has just one sack this season.
But even when the Eagles have gotten pressure, the secondary has been
inconsistent. Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard had a horrible game
against the Cowboys. He was beaten repeatedly by Cowboys wide receiver
"We've got to cover better than we've been covering and we need to
pressure (the quarterback) better than we've been pressuring," said
defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
--DT Darwin Walker is expected to return to the lineup Sunday against
San Diego after missing the last three games with a thigh injury.
--DT Mike Patterson, who has started the last three games at right
tackle in place of injured Darwin Walker, will rotate in off the bench
Sunday now that Walker is healthy again. Patterson, who has two sacks,
still will get a significant amount of snaps.
--LB Zeke Moreno, who was signed last week, was brought in to bolster
the Eagles' struggling special teams. Moreno is a good special teams
--LB Keith Adams will continue to be used on special teams in
addition to his duties as the club's starting weakside linebacker.
--RB Brian Westbrook hopes to get a few more touches Sunday than he's
gotten in the last two games. He's had just 24 touches in the Eagles'
last two games.
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