Cutler struggles again as Bears lose to Eagles

It wasn’t a five-interception type of game, but Jay Cutler once again struggled as the Eagles beat the Bears 24-20 on Sunday night.

Cutler finished 24-of-43 for 171 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The interception came on Chicago’s final offensive possession as Cutler was trying to lead the Bears to a game-winning score.

Cutler was trying not to throw interceptions tonight. He seemed overly cautious in his decisions and overthrew three receivers throughout the course of the game that cost Chicago a chance for touchdowns. The most damning overthrow came with just under four minutes remaining when he overshot Johnny Knox, who had beaten Sheldon Brown down the sidelines and could have streaked into the end zone for a go-ahead score.

Cutler and Donovan McNabb shared a nice moment after the game at midfield. McNabb spoke with Cutler at length and while it’s unknown what was said, one could imagine that the Philly QB offered words of encouragement and advice. Once the Bears build him an offensive line, Cutler is going to prosper. But until then, he’s going to suffer these roller coaster moments.

For the Eagles, this was a huge win because the Cowboys and Giants both won as well. This wasn’t a clean victory for Philadelphia by any means (they turned the ball over three times), but youngsters like LeSean McCoy (20 carries, 99 yards, 1 TD) and DeSean Jackson (8 receptions, 107 yards, 1 TD) stepped up and that was key.

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Westbrook has successful ankle surgery

The Eagles received great news Friday as running back Brian Westbrook underwent successful ankle surgery and is expected to be back to full health by the start of the regular season.

Andy Reid said he doesn’t feel the need for the Eagles to add another running back, even though Westbrook’s backups are rookie second round pick “Shady” McCoy and former Dolphin Lorenzo Booker. There was thought that Philly could sign a veteran like Warrick Dunn, but that seems doubtful now after Reid’s comments.

It’s a risk for the Eagles not to bring in another back this summer just in case Westbrook has a setback, but obviously they feel confident that McCoy and Booker will benefit from getting the maximum amount of reps in camp and preseason. The Eagles faced a similar dilemma last season when receiver DeSean Jackson got an opportunity to play because of injuries to guys in front of him on the depth chart and he excelled.

McCoy is an intriguing prospect. He’s not considered to be an every down back, but he has explosive talent and could be a viable addition to the Eagles’ offense. McCoy would be best used as a change-of-pace back to complement Westbrook so he doesn’t wear down in his first year, but at least he’ll see plenty of opportunities to show what he can do.

Report: Westbrook out until Week 1 with high ankle sprain

According to a report by Comcast Sportsnet in Philadelphia, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook will be sidelined until at least Week 1 of the regular season due to a high ankle sprain.

Comcast SportsNet reported that Brian Westbrook was examined by ankle specialist Dr. Mark Myerson in Baltimore on Wednesday and may need to undergo a procedure to clean out the ankle. Either way, according to the report, Westbrook is done until the start of the regular season.

The only official comment thus far from the Eagles came from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg who said that he wasn’t “concerned” about the injury after discussing it with Westbrook on Tuesday afternoon.

While working out recently, the ankle began to bother Westbrook and he contacted head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder to check on it. Andy Reid said on Tuesday that Westbrook would see a doctor, but again, there has been no official update from the team since.

Considering he’ll turn 30 in early September and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in Philly’s last six games of the 2008 season, this is incredibly damper news for the Eagles. As the article states, the team hasn’t officially stated that Westbrook will miss camp and preseason, but let’s assume for a moment that the report is true.

Philly did draft “Shady” McCoy in the second round this year, but he wasn’t considered a prospect that could be an every down back and he had injury issues himself while at PITT. The Eagles also have Lorenzo Booker, who is a poor man’s Westbrook but like McCoy, isn’t considered an every down back. In seven games for the Dolphins last year, Booker rushed for 125 yards on 28 carries.

If Westbrook is out for the rest of the summer, the good news is that McCoy and Booker will receive plenty of reps. But nobody should be surprised if the team signs a veteran as insurance. Edgerrin James is still available, as is Deuce McAllister, although he’s expected to be suspended for the first four games of the 2009 season, so it’s doubtful the Eagles would add him. Another cheap option would be to bring back Tony Hunt, who was released last October by the Eagles but is a player that has experience in the offense.

It’ll be interesting to see if the team makes this news about Westbrook official.

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