Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moving On

In a week in which several teams have decided to cut loose guys who are arguably the faces of their franchise, the Eagles followed suit by releasing Brian Westbrook. Westbrook was integral in helping the Eagles get to the Super Bowl in 2004 and was one of the most threatening and dynamic offensive players in football for years. In the past several years though it became obvious that Westbrook was past his prime. I was never a huge fan of Westbrook, though I valued his presence on the Eagles and what he gave to the franchise. Despite everything he gave to the franchise though, the timing was right to cut the chord on old Westy, and I have a feeling the same might need to be said for Dirty Don McNabb.

Brian Westbrook was a game changer. During his prime, he could take over a game and was one of the most dangerous players on the field. Whether it be burning everyone around the corner, taking a screen pass to the house, or returning punts (especially this one) Westbrook was a great weapon. Another thing that made Westbrook so good was that his best games often came against the NFC East, especially the Giants. However, it seemed that with every good week Westbrook had there was also a week in which he didn't play.

In 8 seasons in Philadelphia, Brian Westbrook never played a full season. Every week it seemed that he missed practice with some nagging injury, and I doubt he could ever honestly say he was fully healthy. Over the years, these injuries began to mount and made Westbrook extremely ineffective. How effective can you be as a speed back when you can't reach top speed? Part of this is on the Eagles for not finding an effective compliment for Westy, but a guy his size was probably destined for a career like this. As if that wasn't enough, Westbrook suffered a series of devastating concussions this year that added his brain to his long list of injuries. His time has come, and the Eagles made the right decision to let him go and let Shady McCoy take over as the feature back. The timing is also probably right for Westbrook to hang up the spikes for good.

Similar to Westbrook, in 11 seasons in Philly Donovan McNabb has only played a full season 3 times. With the release of Westbrook, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Iggs clean house and get rid of McNabb via trade as well. These two guys carried this franchise for the last 10 years, but I think it may be time to start over. McNabb may be better off than Westbrook, but the returns are definitely diminishing. The new decade may be the start of the Kolb-McCoy administration.

Brian Westbrook was probably the best running back in Eagles history. As a third round pick, he outperformed his expectations and was one of the most valuable players on the team. However, as we learned with LT this week also, the shelf life of a running back is very short. The timing of this release was perfect for both sides in my opinion. The Eagles can now move on with their franchise, and Westbrook can stop putting his health and well being at risk for declining productivity on the field. In two years, Eagles fans have lost Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook, two of the most famous Eagles of all time. While we value their contributions to the team and the city, it is time to look toward the future. Cheers to you Mr. Westbrook!

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