Some have compared the new trio of DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles to the great 2003 running back corps that featured Correll Buckhalter, Westbrook and Staley, now the Eagles' running backs coach, has encouraged the comparison himself.
On the same day he was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Westbrook told BGN in an exclusive interview that the situations are not the same. His point had nothing to do with the skill of the 3 RBs, or the offensive line they need to block for them. He just doesn't think that three established veterans will be happy dividing up the snaps.
"Everybody wants to compare it to that I think it's a big difference. For us, me and Corell Buckhalter, we were young, so we didn't get a lot of reps before. So we didn't know what it was to be a full time running back. DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, that's a stark difference. They know exactly what it is. ...
We didn't have to get used to playing less. We were just excited we were getting those plays, and we were younger. I think it's worse [with veterans]."
Another problem is that the limited snaps make it hard for running backs to get rolling.
"When you're used to starting, you're used to kind of warming yourself into the rhythm of a game, but if you're coming off the bench for a play or two, you have to try to see the rhythm from the sidelines. If you're coming off the bench, and you get stuffed a couple of times, now you're standing on the sideline and thinking, 'now, I know I had two bad runs, The next run I'm going to press even harder to have a good one and make people miss, and you lose even more yards.'"
Westbrook also thinks that swapping the RBs in and out might contribute the problem of defenses knowing what play is coming.
"I think it starts to become a little bit predictable. If I'm on defense and I see Darren Sproles is in the game, I know he's going to get the ball somehow. They're not bringing Darren Sproles in to block the middle linebacker. I know they're going to get the ball to him, one way or another."
His comments were assuming the Eagles had their run game working in general terms. He was not predicting the team's game 2 struggles in advance, but his comments remain apparent today.
Westbrook was promoting Comcast's new X1 set-top box, which allows you to record shows like a DVR and can overlay stats and scores on top of games you're watching. It's free to Comcast subscribers, you just have to call them up and request it. The demo looked good. It's hard to know how it works in a real person's home, but the boxes are new and free, so it's hard to see any downside risk.