Is Brian Westbrook Running Out of Time With the Eagles?

Andrew HollandContributor IJune 5, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 1: Running back Brian Westbrook #36 (R) stands on the sideline with second round draft pick running back LeSean McCoy #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles during minicamp at the NovaCare Complex on May 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

It seems to have happened in the blink of an eye.

It always does in the NFL

Two years ago, Brian Westbrook was breaking Eagles rushing records and Dallas Cowboys  game plans with an ease that looked like Neo in the first Matrix movie when he rose from being shot by Agent Smith and realized that he was "The One."

He was effortlessly countering opposing defensive adjustments while constantly on the attack—and looking like he could stop for a coffee and a danish at the 40-yard line in the process.

I loved watching it. You could sense at any moment that he could break a big one, that there was going to be the reward at the end of the running-game rainbow.  At that time you believed that you would have something to show for the too often hit-or-miss Eagles running attack.

Fast forward to today. 

Westbrook no longer seems to carry the aura of the untouchable superstar.  Instead, this off-season has shown Eagles fans just how fragile Westbrook can be. 

He's coming off a season where each week Eagles fans heard about a new Westbrook injury that would keep him listed as questionable until game-time each week. A season where he was certainly above average, but not the same weapon that he had been the previous year. 

The decline could be the start of a continuing trend for Westbrook. Running backs are always on the up or the down.  There is no in-between.  And while it sometimes may take a while for a running-back in the NFL to reach the apex of his talent, the decline in talent can happen in practically no time at all. 

It's been well-documented that with the punishment that running-backs take in the game today, the wear and tear can often take their toll around the age that Westbrook is now approaching. And with the multitude of injuries that Westbrook has been piling up lately, it's safe to say that his body may be wearing down. 

It's also been well-documented how cut-throat the Eagles organization has been when it comes to the decline of the older players on their roster. 

With both of those things coming clear into focus this off-season, could this potentially be the last season with Brian Westbrook on the roster?

The Eagles (and myself) certainly hope not.  I think they are hoping to get two more seasons out of Westbrook before they hope to hand over the reigns to LeSean McCoy, the rookie out of Pittsburgh

While it's nice to think that McCoy would be able to step in this season and replace Westbrook in case of a long-term injury, rookie running backs have never had much success in their first season in Andy Reid's offense. And Lorenzo Booker did not instill much faith in me last year with his 53 yards on 20 carries. 

So while the timeline may be ending soon for Westbrook, his window still remains open slightly.  And the success of the Eagles season largely depends on that window remaining open. 


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