From week to week, the Eagles' Correll Buckhalter carries out his work in practice, then sits on the bench for much of Sunday's game even with starter Brian Westbrook hampered by injuries.
That could change tomorrow, however. Coach Andy Reid, who got Buckhalter all of two touches in Sunday's putrid 13-13 tie with Cincinnati, said yesterday that the veteran running back would see more action against the Ravens in Baltimore.
"Correll will have an opportunity to play," Reid said. "We probably could have played him more last week and probably should have. So that's my responsibility, and he'll get a few more opportunities this week."
When reporters relayed the word to Buckhalter, he just smiled and rolled with it.
"It makes me feel good," he said. "I feel like I can help this team whenever I get the opportunity. I think that allows Westbrook to be fresh as well."
Westbrook did a little conditioning work and running yesterday. But he did not participate in practice at the team's indoor facility for the third consecutive day because of soreness and swelling in his knee and ankle. The Eagles listed the star as questionable for tomorrow's game.
"I'm doing as much as I can to keep him off the turf when we go inside there," Reid said. "He still has some swelling. We just want to get that out, and going on the turf doesn't help that. We'll see how he does tomorrow and the early part of Sunday, and then we'll make a judgment as we get closer."
Reid has continued to play Westbrook even though he has had trouble cutting on his bad ankle. Buckhalter barely got on the field last week but made the best of it when he did. His efforts included a 44-yard run with a screen pass that set up a field goal.
Buckhalter, 30, has performed well in his two starts this season. His best game was at San Francisco the week before the Eagles' bye, when he rushed for 93 yards in 18 carries with a touchdown, and caught seven passes for 85 yards.
Since the bye, however, Buckhalter has touched the ball a grand total of 13 times. He said the lack of action was something he didn't think about during games but, yes, he'd like more chances.
"You know, I'm a running back," he said with a smile. "Of course, I want the football. What running back in this league doesn't want the ball? But at the same time, we have a guy like Brian who has to get into a rhythm. So I know they've got to fit me in whenever they can. Whenever I get the opportunity, that's when I try to make plays."
Reid appreciates that part of Buckhalter's makeup, even if it seems at times that he forgets Buckhalter is on the bench.
"Every time he's had an opportunity to start, he's had big days," Reid said. "Any time he gets in there, normally he has positive yards. As good a football player as he is, he's even a better person. He understands his role on this football team and works his tail off, and has overcome a lot of things."
The biggest example is the knee problems that forced Buckhalter to miss three of four seasons from 2002 through 2005. But he has come back and filled his role without complaint.
And although he's been told he will see more action tomorrow, Buckhalter was asked whether he would have to see it to believe it.
"Not really, man," he replied. "That's his word. He said I'm going to play more, so that's his word. What more can I go off of?"