Monday, November 30, 2009

Scratch DeSean; don't count on Westbrook coming back this week; and keep an eye on Celek's left thumb.

Andy Reid said the Eagles' sensitivity to concussions hasn't increased since Brian Westbrook suffered two in a four-week timetable.
But the NFL's heightened sensitivity to concussions is another matter.
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was doing "OK" Monday after being knocked out in the third quarter of the 27-24 win over the Redskins Sunday. There's little chance he even will make the trip to Atlanta for this weekend's game against the Falcons (6-5), who at this point are battling the Eagles (7-4) for a wild card playoff berth.
Also, tight end Brent Celek apparently has more than just a sprain of his thumb, Reid conceding that means there could be ligament damage. Don't count on Celek to carry the load Sunday. He had three drops in the last game ostensibly due to the thumb issue.
Westbrook, on the other hand is scheduled to meet with "outside" concussion specialists this week. With Westbrook suffering a headache exercising last week, don't look for him any time soon,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jeremiah Trootter is a DNP. Asante Samuel. Sheldon Brown are full-go Friday. Jeffrey Lurie a full spectator ...

The Eagles (6-4) know the NFC East picture for the 3rd straight week before taking the field. The Giants (6-5) lost to Denver. The Cowboys (8-3) beat Oakland.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Harris, Demps are two-headed kickoff return

With Quintin Demps returning to practice, look for him and rookie Victor "Macho" Harris to return kickoffs this week against the Redskins.
And look for special teams coach Ted Daisher to mix it up against the coverage teams he sees much the way offensive coordinators change the pace substituting running backs.
Daisher toyed with rotating rookie Jeremy Maclin and Harris but Maclin had issues fielding the kickoffs. Demps and Harris are sure-handed so there's really not an issue as far as ball security.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Runyan joins Chargers ... after Justice signs $18.15 million contract extension

Former Eagles right offensive tackle Jon Ruyan signed late Tuesday evening with the San Diego Chargers, who are running out of offensive tackles.
Runyan has played in 213 straight games including the playoffs. He also has an ironman streak of 190 straight regular season starts. But he hasn't played or practiced since undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee.
The Eagles worked out Runyan in September when Shawn Andrews' back problems flared up but preferred to go with Winston Justice at right tackle. Justice signed a four-year contract extension Tuesday worth $18.15 million including a $6 million signing bonus according to ESPN.
The Chargers put right tackle Jeromery Clary (ankle) on injured reserve and likely will start Brandyn Dombrowski until Runyan is ready to play according to reports.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Justice earned extension; Eagles sign CB Pope

When training camp began even the most forgiving observers wondered how long it would be until Eagles offensive lineman Winston Justice was released.
Even Justice was surprised Tuesday when he signed a four-year contract extension with the Eagles.
 "I don't think anybody could have realized it," Justice said. "I think I came a long way. One of the things my offensive line coach always told me was hard work pays off. And I took that mindset. Even when times were really bad I still always believed and had faith in that - hard work pays off. And I think it's paying off now. This is a blessing."
Justice took advantage of the back injury sustained by Shawn Andrews to take over the job at right tackle. Judging by the investment, the Eagles expect Justice to be there four more years.
With starters Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel fighting through injuries, and nickel back Joselio Hanson out two more weeks due to his league-suspension, the Eagles signed cornerback Geoffrey Pope, who appeared in the divisional and NFC title games for the 2007 Super Bowl champion Giants. Pope was on the Bengals' practice squad.
The Eagles cut cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu, a fourth-round pick who got on the field for just one special teams play this past week. The Eagles rolled the dice selecting Ikegwuonu, as he was coming off major knee surgery two years ago.
"Winston is a guy we really liked coming out in the draft," Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said. "And I think through a lot of hard work he's steadily improved and is playing as well as anybody we have on the offensive line."
More on this story as it develops.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

not a great pregame warmup for Sheldon Brown

Sheldon Brown's warm-up clearly shows he's not close to 100 percent.
The real question is whether the Eagles think about 60-to-65 percent of Sheldon Brown is better than getting 100 percent out of Jack Ikegwuono, who would get some of the snaps at corner.
Brown supposedly is playing. Don't expect him to finish, even though he's a battler.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trott, Mays are middle linebackers du jour

As a middle linebacker, Chris Gocong did a pretty good job of setting up the defense.
But that's where the accolades began and ended
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott obviously thinks the tag team of Joe Mays and Jeremiah Trotter might be a better match this weekend against the Bears and running back Matt Forte, second in the league in yards after the catch.
McDermott also couldn't take too many more busts from rookie linebacker Moise Fokou, who hustled on the strong side in place of Gocong but was more all-effort than all-pro.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Westbrook needs another 'concussion' opinion

If I was Brian Westbrook, I'd get at least one and probably a couple more medical opinions about the concussion issues plaguing him the past three weeks.
I would do so just to be a little surer, no disrespect to the guys who evaluated him Wednesday.
What stands out about concussions is that a lot is not known about concussions.
If, for example, Westbrook was fully cleared to play this past Sunday - and there is no reason to doubt that - is it just coincidental that he suffered another concussion in his first full game back?
Here's a guy who never had a serious concussion in his career, and just like that he gets dinged twice. Hey, I know any football player is at risk for a concussion any time they step on the field. But two in three weeks? That's after following all of the accepted procedures for concussion testing.
Walking around the NovaCare Complex Wednesday it sounded a lot like Westbrook's second concussion could be a career-wrecker.
Donovan McNabb was talking about quality of life after football. Other players shook their heads - no pun intended - and thought about their own mortality.
Later the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center put out a release suggesting Westbrook's second concussion was much milder than the first one, and that the Villanova University product could get back on the field providing his rehab goes well. They want to test him in two or three weeks,
Watching film of the most recent hit concussing Westbrook, I'm not so sure he's elusive enough to avoid a third concussion. It was a sandwich type of collision with multiple players that happens several times every game.
Getting back on the field seems like a leap of faith.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Herremans, not Peters at OLT (that's a good thing)

Jason Peters made the trip but was scratched due to a sprained ankle, enabling the Eagles to start  Todd Herremans at left tackle. This is a positive move. Peters lately has been a liability whose moodiness is exceeded only by his penchant for underachievement.
The mild surprise of the resulting line shuffle is Stacy Andrews starting at right guard instead of Max Jean-Gillies, as Nick Cole moved to Herremans' slot at left guard. Andrews easily has had the worst season of any Eagles lineman on either side of the ball. That said you will see Jean-Gillies on this unseasonably cold 65-degree yet sunny day.
Linebacker Akeem iJordan (knee) and safety Quintin Demps (hamstring) are the only other other inactives of note. Expect Jeremy Maclin to field kickoffs.
Running back Brian Westbrook returned to the lineup for the first time in three games after sustaining a concussion.
Wide receiver Kevin Curtis (knee) sat out his seventh straight game.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No ankle issues for Westbrook

If you didn't know Brian Westbrook had an ankle problem - and the way the Eagle injury reports are these days, you really don't know - you would have wondered why the team bothered to list it.
Westbrook glided through practice Thursday with no issues. The concussion that sidelined him the last two games seemed anything but a problem as well. Barring another round of mysterious symptoms for a second straight Friday, he looks good to go for the Chargers this Sunday.
Left offensive tackle Jason Peters didn't practice for the second straight day due to a sprained ankle. Peters snapped off a no-comment and looked off his questioner when asked how he felt. It wasn't like he was limping.
Safety Quintin Demps (groin) didn't work after giving practice a try, and that could mean rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is the kick returner Sunday. It was the second straight practice Demps missed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reid: "We're trying too hard"

And you thought all of those close, mounting Eagles losses were because of quarterback Donovan McNabb, the run-to-pass ratio, brutal penalties and turnovers.
No, the Eagles simply are trying too hard in those conflicts.
That's what Andy Reid sold at his Monday news conference. And while some people were buying, come on, it is Reid who is trying too hard with such an explanation.
OK, the Eagles don't appear to be in  a Terry Murray type of "choking situation" in close games. But if they're not comfortably ahead, you can write them off in the fourth quarter. They're 1-8-1 in their last 10 games decided by four or fewer point.

“I’ve seen guys battling,” Reid said. “Maybe it’s the other end, we’re trying too hard. I’ve seen maximum effort out there and it looked like the guys were pretty focused.”
Trying too hard? Now that's maximum effort.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Westbrook 'out' update at 6:30

The Eagles wouldn't confirm or deny that running back Brian Westbrook (concussion) would be scratched for their Sunday night game with the Cowboys.
The formal announcement will be made at 6:30 p.m.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Westbrook (concussion) is not expected to play.
The Eagles beat the Giants last week with rookie LeSean McCoy and veteran Leonard Weaver carrying the football.

Friday, November 6, 2009

yo, Dribbons, Mustafa ... Stewart will make Cowboys pay

The Cowboys got rid of defensive coordinator Brian Stewart after their colossal collapse last year.
They took away his office, his computer password and his lunchroom priveleges.

But they couldn't erase his memory.
And I have a feeling they will pay for the unceremonious dismissal when they take on the Eagles Sunday night.
Stewart (pictured) knows the Cowboys inside-out. Can you se4e where this is going?
Around the second or third play quarterback Tony Romo is going to think the Eagles know his plays. Then again, I can tell you where Romo is going with the ball until he escapes the pocket.
Defensively it could be worse  because the Cowboys really aren't that good on the side of the ball. That's why they got walloped, 44-6, in what became their season-ender last year in South Philly. It wasn't the coordinator.
If I'm wrong about this, I want to hear about it. Starting with Mustafa S. and Dribbons.
Have a great weekend, guys.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Romo & yards-after-breakdown

Believe it or not the Eagles would feel a lot more comfortable if Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo stayed in the pocket this weekend.
That's because he makes a lot of what Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott calls "Brett Farve-type plays" with significant yardage after the breakdown.
The terminology McDermott invented for Romo's improvisational playmaking - yards-after-breakdown (YAB). I like yards-per-breakdown (YPB).
The key to defending Romo (pictured) in those situations is that whatever you do, follow through.
Halfway will get you embarrassed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scratch Westbrook for Giants

To no one's surprise the Eagles scratched Brian Westbrook, capping a turbulent week in which head coach Andy Reid tried to get the Giants - and the media - to believe the running back would play just six days after a lights-out concussion.
Don't be surprised if Westbrook next week when the Eagles oppose the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field.

Activating Westbrook Sunday would have been a slap in the face of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who earlier in the week lectured Congress how seriously the league is taking concussions.
The Eagles also scratched safety Victor Harris (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Curtis (knee), cornerback Dimitri Patterson (quadriceps) and offensive lineman Mike McGlynn.
Kevin Kolb  (pictured) was designated the third quarterback.

The Giants scratched wide receiver Mario Manningham (shoulder), among others.