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News » Eagles - Eagles taking 'we'll see' approach with Westbrook's availability

Eagles - Eagles taking 'we'll see' approach with Westbrook's availability

Eagles - Eagles taking 'we'll see' approach with Westbrook's availability
Brian Westbrook sat out a third straight day of practice. The Eagles star running back is still hampered by a sore ankle and knee. He was listed as questionable for tomorrow's game in Baltimore, which the 5-4-1 Eagles can only look upon as a must-win proposition.

Coach Andy Reid said yesterday that Westbrook had iNFLammation in both his right ankle and his left knee, but that "it is gradually coming down."

"We'll see how he does here the next couple days," said Reid, who added that he has done whatever he could this week to "keep [Westbrook] off the turf."

"He still has some swelling in there," Reid said. "We want to get that out."

Westbrook was unavailable for comment.

While Reid could not say with any assurance whether Westbrook would play, he did say that he would not hold back using him just because the Eagles play 4 days later on Thanksgiving night at home against the Arizona Cardinals .

Reid said succinctly, "If he can go, he will play."

Regardless of whether Westbrook plays, Reid does plan to use reserve running back Correll Buckhalter more tomorrow. Buckhalter had only two touches in the 13-13 tie against the Bengals, including a pass reception in the first half for 44 yards.

Reid conceded that he should have called on Buckhalter more last Sunday. He added that he has always liked him.

"He is a good Football player," Reid said of Buckhalter, who has had significant knee injuries during his 8-year career with the club. "I think we know that. Everytime he has had an opportunity to start, he has had big days. Any time he gets in there, he normally has positive yards. And as good a Football player as he is, he is even a better person. He understands his role on the Football team, works his tail off, and has overcome a lot of things."

Buckhalter was delighted to hear that he will have more of a chance.

"I feel like I can help this team whenever I get the opportunity," he said. "I think that allows Westbrook to be fresh, as well. So I am just looking forward to the opportunity and running with it."

Buckhalter said he was not surprised that he was not used more against the Bengals.

"I am so into the game, and cheering Westbrook on," Buckhalter said. "I don't think about myself sometimes until a play is called for me."

Does his lack of playing time upset him?

Buckhalter smiled.

"I am a running back," he said. "Of course, I want the Football. What running back in this league doesn't want the Football? But at the same time, to have a guy like Brian - who has to get into a rhythm - I know they have to fit me in wherever they can. And whenever they do, I try to make plays."

Given that former Eagles special-teams coach John Harbaugh is now head coach of the 6-4 Ravens, Reid said he expects Harbaugh to do what as he has done himself whenever he has faced his old Green Bay boss, Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren.

"I think you want to show each other you have prepared your team the best you can," said Reid. "I think that is what John is doing. And I think that is what we are doing."

Reid had praise for Baltimore rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, who grew up in Audubon, N.J., and attended the University of Delaware.

"He is very poised," Reid said. "He runs the ball better than you would perceive when you look at him. He is a big guy. He can get out and go when he needs to go. He has great accuracy . . . And he looks like he has a great grasp of their offense."

Reid said his team has been focused this week in practice, despite the fact that he and quarterback Donovan McNabb have come under fierce attack in the wake of their desultory effort against Cincinnati. Linebacker Chris Gocong categorized the tie as "a loss," but said he and his teammates aren't dwelling on it.

"We are paid to play Football," Gocong said. "Obviously, every game is a playoff atmosphere for us at this point. We're going to get better." *

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 22, 2008

A.J. Feeley Name: A.J. Feeley
Position: QB
Age: 31
Experience: 8 years
College: Oregon
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