Behind Enemy Lines - Part 2

Jets Confidential's Dan Leberfeld asked Warnest.com's Chris Steuber five questions about the Eagles for this weekend's game. Steuber discusses the status of William Thomas, Philly's running attack, and the play of Donovan McNabb. All of this and more inside.

Dan Leberfeld: Do you think William Thomas will be back this week at left tackle?

Chris Steuber: It is very possible, but I think they may hold William Thomas out again this week. If Thomas does sit out, it will be interesting to see how Winston Justice plays after a dismal game against the Giants.

Leberfeld: Are you shocked at how poorly his replacement, Winston Justice, performed for Thomas? Justice was rated pretty high coming out of USC.

Steuber: Even though it’s Justice’s second year, he is basically a rookie. He didn’t dress at all last season, and this was his first professional start. I didn’t expect him to struggle as much as he did, but it didn’t surprise me to see him struggle against a player like Osi Umenyiora. Umenyiora is a fast, strong end that can give any tackle a tough game. It just so happened that Justice had an education on how not to block a defensive end. I think Justice will grow from this experience and become a stronger player down the road.

Leberfeld: Do you think Brian Westbrook will be back this week, and what are your thoughts on the Eagles running game overall?

Steuber: Personally, I’d rest Westbrook one more week and give him the time he needs to heal from his abdominal strain. However, he’s had two weeks to heal, since the Eagles were on a bye week last week. Westbrook is a gamer, and he’ll do everything in his power to get on the field. The Eagles running game without Westbrook is fine, but it doesn’t keep the defense guessing the way it does when he’s in the lineup. Correll Buckhalter is a very good backup running back, and he was tremendous against the Giants, but obviously the Eagles want Westbrook in the game. He’s the Eagles’ biggest star on offense, and without him they’re just ordinary.

Leberfeld: What type of player is Donovan McNabb now coming off two season-ending injuries?

Steuber: He’s inconsistent. At this point, I don’t know how else to describe McNabb. I know he’s not 100-percent, but if he’s behind center he’s going to be subjected to criticism. This is a big game for McNabb. The Jets don’t have a very good defense defending the run or pass, and this is a game where McNabb can do a lot of good. Although, if he struggles and the Eagles fall to a 1 – 4 record, don’t be surprised to see the Eagles bench McNabb in favor of rookie Kevin Kolb.

Leberfeld: Was that rumor that Andy Reid might step down a bogus Internet story?

Steuber: It was just speculation. Reid discussed his plans with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer and was quoted as saying:

"The only way I don't finish up coaching this year is if I die," said Reid. "Are you kidding me? I don't know where this story came from, how it started, but it couldn't be any further from the truth. I am definitely not stepping away! It's amazing how this story came up and then got legs, but there's no way.”

Now, do I think Reid will step down at the end of the year? Before all of his family problems started I didn’t think I’d see the day when Reid left the Eagles. But with all the adversity surrounding his situation, at this point, I think he’ll decide to take some time off and step down after the season.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber is the Editor in Chief of WarNest.com and an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. If you have any questions for Chris, email him at: csteuber@scout.com.



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