Memo to Andy Reid: Back Up Your Words, Place Westbrook On IR

Lou DiPietroAnalyst INovember 16, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Runningback Brian Westbrook #36 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks onto the field from the sideline near the end of the 4th quarter during the game against the San Diego Chargers on November 15, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Chargers won 31-23.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

There are a lot of things someone who covers the Eagles could write about today.

In the wake of Sunday’s loss to San Diego, the Birds have dropped two straight. Andy Reid’s play-calling continues to be questionable, the defense fell apart, and they’ve now been embarrassed twice on the West Coast.

But at 5-4, they’re still tied with the Giants, Falcons, and Packers for the two NFC Wild Card spots and have seven weeks to figure it out.

In the interim, there’s something much more pressing to figure out: Brian Westbrook.

Specifically his future, as No. 36 suffered his second concussion in a month in that loss to the Chargers.

After the game, Andy Reid said that “Football right now for Brian Westbrook is not the important thing.” If that’s truly the case, there’s one giant way the Eagles brass can back up their coach’s words:

Put Westbrook on injured reserve.

Yes, I know that might sound like a hypocritical statement on a number of levels, but for both his and the Eagles’ future, it’s the right move.

The biggest con about that move, besides the fact that he’s definitely lost for the season, is that the Eagles rushing game is anemic at best without him. The Birds racked up a whopping 29 yards on the ground, almost all of it by Westbrook before he left.

That speaks as much to the fact that they were down by 19 at one point, but still; the Chargers had more than that on just their second touchdown drive alone.

But what if Westbrook sits out three, four, or five weeks? The Eagles’ season could be over by then, and one more hit to the head could end Westbrook’s career. Is that worth the gamble?

The Eagles drafted LeSean McCoy to spell Westbrook and eventually replace him…and trotting out Westbrook, who hasn’t been 100 percent healthy period in years, can only make that eventually come a lot sooner than they want.

Putting him on IR and trusting the keys to McCoy, Leonard Weaver, and maybe Eldra Buckley or PJ Hill will give them a glimpse of that; it will serve as another reminder of how valuable Westbrook really is.

Plus, there would be the side effect of opening up a roster spot to help other ailing areas. Cornerback could use some help; with Ellis Hobbs on IR, Joselio Hanson suspended, and now both Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel hurting, the only truly healthy corner on the roster is newly-signed Jack Ikegwuonu.

Quintin Demps is hurt and the offensive line still has issues, as well. That fact alone is enough to know that the running game can’t be 100 percent effective—which means it can’t be 100 percent safe, either.

If there’s one light at the end of that tunnel, though, it’s this: The Eagles beat the Giants and almost toppled the Cowboys without Westbrook.

It’s within their best interest to try to do it again this season.

Because if they don’t, and something bad happens…they might just have to do it forever.

Injured reserve would give him eight or nine months to recover from the concussions and all the nagging injuries he's dealt with in the last couple years.

At 30, time and the NFL average dictate Brian Westbrook's career is on the downswing. The Eagles might as well do everything they can to make his final years fruitful ones.