NEW ORLEANS - Kevin Curtis definitely is not Terrell Owens, the guy he joined yesterday, as the only 1,000-yard Eagles receivers under Andy Reid.
Owens is bigger, stronger, more explosive, harder to shut down with tight coverage. Also louder.
But you know what? Lots of guys aren't Terrell Owens, and are still good players. Curtis came here as a free agent from St. Louis, wanting to prove he could be a starting wideout, after spending 4 years behind Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. And as his first Eagles season draws to close, that is what Curtis has done.
Maybe you think the Birds still need to find a truly dominant weapon, either at wideout or tight end, in the offseason, and maybe you're right. Curtis, though, certainly will figure heavily in whatever the Birds do in 2008.
"Having him here this season has really made me a believer in Kevin Curtis," running back Brian Westbrook said yesterday, after Curtis scored the first and last touchdowns of the Eagles' 38-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Curtis caught six passes for 78 yards, giving him 70 for 1,048 with one game remaining, at home next week against Buffalo. Owens caught 77 for 1,200 yards in 2004. "I went into the season not quite sure, just because I hadn't seen him a lot, playing at that 'one' or 'two' receiver spot. He's really made me a believer this year. He's come up with catch after catch. He's done a great job, all year long . . . Kevin Curtis is a great receiver."
Curtis' first TD came when the ball was punched out of Donovan McNabb's grasp as he rambled 40 yards on a bootleg. It flew from the 24 to the end zone, and when Saints corner Mike McKenzie couldn't corral it, Curtis did, giving the Eagles the lead on the third play of the game. The last one came on a third-and-goal slant from the 7.
"You put it anywhere around him, he'll catch it," McNabb said of Curtis. "We think he has deceptive speed. He's a guy who's kind of getting comfortable in this offense."
Asked yesterday about his response to people who still say the Eagles need a No. 1 wideout, Curtis said: "I'm just going to go out and do the job. I don't really have a response to that."
Curtis said he "felt like I got a lot better" this season, as he set career highs in all categories, including touchdowns, with seven.
"I definitely feel like there's plenty of room for improvement, at the same time," Curtis said. "There's things I felt like I could do better."
Donovan McNabb's 40-yard run on the third play of the game was his longest since he went for 40 and a touchdown against the Giants on Oct. 28, 2002 . . . New Orleans was the best third-down team in the NFL going into the weekend (49.5 percent conversion rate), but the Saints cashed in just three of 12 against the Eagles . . . Andy Reid said free safety Brian Dawkins (foot sprain) would have an MRI exam today . . .
40-yard run on the third play of the game was his longest since he went for 40 and a touchdown against the Giants on Oct. 28, 2002 . . . New Orleans was the best third-down team in the NFL going into the weekend (49.5 percent conversion rate), but the Saints cashed in just three of 12 against the Eagles said free safety (foot sprain) would have an MRI exam today . . .
With Shawn Andrews sidelined, Max Jean-Gilles got his first start at right guard and seemed to play real well. Jean-Gilles, who during the week acknowledged weighing 369 pounds, though he's listed at 358, on one run-block put Hollis Thomas on his back. Thomas, the former Eagles defensive tackle, also has been known to exceed his listed weight of 306 (by 40 pounds or so). Jean-Gilles might figure more prominently into next year's o-line, if he can control his weight . . . The Saints lost wideout Marques Colston early with a chest contusion . . .
Rookie Stewart Bradley's pick with 2 minutes and 9 seconds left was the first interception of Drew Brees in 164 pass attempts. Bradley fell down, then got up waving the ball, forgetting he wasn't in college and hadn't been touched down. Teammates quickly got him moving upfield for a 13-yard return; they said afterward they were less concerned about the yardage than about the possibility that Bradley might spike the live ball. *