August 09, 2007

Westbrook ready to take next step

Brian Westbrook has overcome stereotypes throughout his career.

Undersized. Injury-prone. Third-down back.

With every carry and each catch during his first five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Westbrook has proved he's one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL.

But that label isn't enough. He hopes to be mentioned among the elite players at his position.

"I want to be one of the best running backs in the game," said Westbrook, who was excused from training camp on Wednesday for personal reasons.

Westbrook, who turns 28 next month, is coming off his best season. He surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the first time, finishing at 1,217. His average of 5.1 yards per carry was a franchise-record and he ran for seven touchdowns. Westbrook also had a career-high 77 catches for 699 yards and four TDs. No other back averaged more yards per touch (6.0) or per catch (9.1) last year.

For Westbrook, it was vindication. He often said he can be a workhorse-type back who carries the ball 20-25 times per game. But coach Andy Reid's offensive philosophy always had been pass-first. Once quarterback Donovan McNabb went down with a season-ending knee injury, Reid sought a more-balanced approach centered around Westbrook.
..Continue reading at>>

No comments: