Eagles Draining Power From The AFC?

When Asante Samuel signed on with the Eagles, it was one step in their climb to the top. With their 2009 Draft class, free agent additions and the trade for Ellis Hobbs, are the Eagles ready to surpass the other teams at the top -- including New England?

Philadelphia has been among the most aggressive teams this offseason, making significant changes to a roster that reached the NFC Championship Game last January. But with running back Michael Westbrook adding yet another to a growing list of concerning injuries, Philadelphia's best laid plans still look sketchy with training camp almost two months out.

Westbrook will undergo surgery Friday to remove bone spurs from his right ankle. That follows January surgery to clean out his injured knee, which followed a 2008 season marred by knee and ankle injuries. That's a long laundry list for an undersized running back who will turn 30 in September, has not started a full 16-game slate in seven seasons and has started just 11 combined regular-season games the past two years.

Adding offensive linemen Jason Peters and Stacey Andrews, trading for cornerback Ellis Hobbs and adding complementary pieces in safety Sean Jones and fullback Leonard Weaver were all solid moves. But Correll Buckhalter was allowed to walk as a free agent, leaving Westbrook with proven backup.

Second-round pick LeSean McCoy was already expected to take the bulk of the reps in training camp, and that certainly will be the case now. Westbrook has seen only limited work in recent training camps, and it's uncertain when he'll even be available with August.

"We talked about it when he was at the doctor's office and went through the options, and decided it was better to clean it up," said Wesbtrook's agent, Todd France. "The ankle has been bothering him since last year."

Westbrook is the biggest name to suffer an injury since the end of last season, but he's not alone.

--San Francisco scrambled to sign veteran cornerback Dre' Bly after Walt Harris suffered a knee injury during a May minicamp. Harris still hasn't undergone surgery, but Bly was added with the belief that Harris' injury knee ligament will sideline him for 2009.

--Jets inside linebacker Davis Harris won't be back on the field until training camp after suffering lip and mouth injuries during a collision with safety Jim Leonard.

--Oakland was criticized for using the seventh overall pick on wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, especially with Michael Crabtree still on the board. And the Raiders have been able to see very little of their shiny new toy, with "DHB" still unable to participate in on-field work after straining a hamstring in a May minicamp.

--Another first-round pick, Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews, is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury he suffered May 27. Matthews is considered an integral piece as Green Bay switches to the 3-4 scheme.

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