Hot Topic and Player Notes

After spending the first five games Inactive, rookie running back Ryan Moats finally got a chance to dress and play Sunday. But it remains to be seen what will happen this week.

Moats was activated against the San Diego Chargers to return kickoffs. But his debut didn't go so well. He fumbled both of his returns, returning them just 11 and 15 yards. On his second return, he was hit hard and left the game with a concussion.

The concussion probably won't prevent the third-round pick from playing this week. But his two drops might. Cornerback Rod Hood, who had been doing the majority of the kickoff returning in the first five games, replaced Moats after he got hurt.

Last year, '04 fourth-round pick J.R. Reed returned kickoffs for the Eagles and averaged a solid 23.1 yards per return. But he suffered a career-threatening leg injury in the off-season and will miss the entire year.

The Eagles have gotten little from their return game this year. They're averaging just 19.9 yards per kickoff return and just 4.4 yards per punt return. Starting cornerback Lito Sheppard replaced Dexter Wynn as the main punt returner last week, but had just one return for 1 yard along with two fair catches.

"We need to do a better job of blocking on kickoff returns," coach Andy Reid said. "And our (punt and kickoff) returners have to hit it up in there. Be a little more aggressive."


--QB Donovan McNabb, who is playing with a sports hernia, is feeling better this week than he has following the last few games, according to coach Andy Reid.

--QB Mike McMahon was the No. 3 quarterback Sunday. McMahon had had exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his knee two weeks earlier.

--RB Brian Westbrook had a season-high 20 touches Sunday against the Chargers, but 10 of them came on pass receptions. Westbrook continues to be frustrated by his lack of rushing attempts.

--FB Josh Parry got more snaps Sunday than he has all season as the Eagles tried to give injured Donovan McNabb extra protection. He'll probably play a lot Sunday against Denver as well. Parry had two receptions against the Chargers.

--WR Terrell Owens caught his 100th career touchdown reception Sunday, but had an otherwise uneventful day. He caught seven passes, but for only 53 yards. He'll probably spend a lot of Sunday going up against Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey.

--WR Greg Lewis has 25 catches, but hasn't been the vertical threat that injured Todd Pinkston was last year. Pinkston averaged 18 yards per catch. Lewis is averaging 10.8.

--WR Reggie Brown, the club's No. 3 receiver, may see his playing time reduced as the Eagles go with more two-tight end formations to protect the injured Donovan McNabb.

--TE L.J. Smith has become Donovan McNabb's go-to guy as defenses continue to focus on stopping Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook. Smith already has 34 receptions, including six last week against San Diego.

--PK David Akers, who has missed the last three games with a torn hamstring, could play this week, but it's more likely he'll be held out until next week or the week after.

--DT Darwin Walker returned to the lineup Sunday after missing three games with a thigh injury. While the injury still is causing some discomfort, he was able to play with it and play well.

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