Sounding loose and relaxed on his radio show last night, Brian Westbrook didn't seem concerned that he had rushed for just 36 yards on 18 carries and added only 10 more receiving yards against the Giants on Sunday in the NFC division playoff victory.
In a way, Westbrook sounded relieved.
"I think this team has kind of turned a corner," Westbrook said on ESPN-AM (950). "Before, when I struggled, this team has struggled. But I have struggled these last two games and this team has done very good."
Westbrook also applauded the play-calling that kept giving him the ball even though he wasn't breaking any big runs. He said a "scaled-back" playbook has made Eagles offensive players perform with less caution.
"It's really almost made all the difference in the world," Westbrook said.
The Eagles' star running back said he didn't think his injuries, which have kept him from practicing much, were the reason for his low numbers.
"I think they paid extra attention to me, which allowed opportunities for other players," Westbrook said. "I don't think the injuries had much to do with my production."
The way the Eagles' defense is playing, Westbrook said, the offense understands it doesn't have to try to do too much, just keep grinding and not making mistakes. He did laud the hustle plays he's seeing all over the field, and mentioned a couple of times how running backs staying in and helping chip the pass-rushers has given Donovan McNabb a little more breathing room.
Westbrook also lauded how McNabb handled his brief benching earlier this season, not turning it into a prolonged soap opera.
"If Donovan had come out and made a big stink about it and argued and gone back and forth with Coach Reid in the media, that would have made a big problem - and things probably wouldn't have ended the way that they have," Westbrook said.
"He handled it like the classy man that he's always been. He said what he had to say, but he moved on, and he continued to lead this football team. He didn't go into a shell. He didn't disrupt what we had going on. He did everything he could to bring this team to the next level."
Asked about McNabb's looseness, as evidenced by his grabbing that telephone on the Giants' sideline late in the game, drawing a penalty, Westbrook said last night, "I think that was a little bit too loose. Luckily, yesterday it didn't cost us."
Westbrook said he could tell the Giants missed Plaxico Burress.
"He's almost like Eli's security blanket," Westbrook said of Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Westbrook doesn't expect to be practicing much this week, saying he would try to go as much as he can but that it's more important to get rest and have his legs underneath for the game. Westbrook did add that he had told fellow tailback Correll Buckhalter that they would have a breakout game before this season ends.
"Then this team will be on whole 'nother level," Westbrook said.
Maybe a big Westbrook game isn't mandatory, but, he said, this is still true: "When I do good, the team wins."