Westbrook's Absence Unfortunate, But Could Provide Key To Win

Glenn Franco SimmonsAnalyst IOctober 11, 2008

It is a shame whenever any NFL player is injured, even if it means that an injury provides an advantage for the opposing team.

Such is the case with Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook, who is out for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.

He is a vital weapon for that offense, yet most talking heads I heard on TV and radio today said the Eagles should easily beat the 49ers.

San Francisco needs to come out on fire and prove it is worthy.

In Philadelphia’s loss to Chicago, Westbrook’s production was missed.

Then came a tough game against an ascendant Washington team that has a Jim Zorn-modified version of the West Coast offense.

Westbrook fractured two ribs in that agonizing loss – the third out of Philadelphia’s past four games.

Sunday’s game will feature a Philadelphia team that believes it should be a Super Bowl contender, rather than the pretender the squad has been so far this year.

The Eagles’ propensity to be doing well in games, especially against bitter division rivals Dallas and Washington, is only surpassed by their inclination to self-destruct with what some observers would describe as foolish mistakes that have directly led to their losses.

With the 49ers, there was a glimmer of hope that they could have a winning season. In my heart, I hoped they would make the playoffs.

I’ve been bitterly disappointed, as I am sure the players and coaches are. They take the heat from everyone, including fans like me.

Many fans and the team’s coaches seemed to feel the 49ers were set for the year on defense, but I’m worried about their ability to overcome a losing record.

I admit the defense was on the field way too much against New England.

A case could even be made in other games; however, the defense should not have been overly tired when the momentum and scoreboard changed in those games. However, I’ve already written about that, so why belabor it?

The offense felt it had a decent shot of J.T. O’Sullivan leading an attack where he would have the advantage of a decent rushing attack while having Isaac Bruce to hit on long passes.

I’m still hoping for a game where the offense gels, but as I wrote in another article, the brightest spot on offense is Frank Gore.

Before you trash O’Sullivan too much, you have to realize that Mike Martz’s offense is complex, O’Sullivan is really a rookie, and he doesn’t have great receivers.

Although I deeply respect Bruce – a San Francisco one-man eliminator in some past games, he isn’t the Bruce of old, but he’s good enough.

He brings a sense of dignity to this team both on and off the field. Let’s hope his polish rubs off on an offense that needs a good game against Philadelphia to stay at 500.