John Clayton is actually one of ESPN's football analysts I think is on the money with a lot of things. He may be the geekiest looking guy on television, but some how he knows tons of insider info and is pretty consistent with many of my opinions. In this article he writes about all the playoff coaches and what they have at stake. After he mentions the Eagles are without TO, while their defense has improved from a year ago with the addition of the Freak, he also mentions they are without a really good receiver. The thing most people are forgetting and what I have been telling people over and over, is that this year we have Westbrook. He didn't play in the playoffs last year. He can be the difference maker.
Link: ESPN.com - NFL/PLAYOFFS04 - Clayton: Under examination.
7. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles: Only Marv Levy and maybe Bud Grant, Dan Reeves and Bum Phillips can understand what Reid is going through. He keeps knocking on that championship door, but it's not opening. The Eagles have lost three consecutive NFC title games. He's proved he's one of the best coaches in the NFL since the turn of the century. Now, he needs to prove he can take the team to the next level and go to the Super Bowl. His front office maneuvering put him in position. Though he won't have Terrell Owens for the playoffs, he has Jevon Kearse and a better defense to help him get through two playoff games. The defense has more weapons than a year ago. The Owens' injury hurts. Now, the team is void of a major wide receiving threat as it was a year ago. Because this will be their fourth chance at the Super Bowl, few will be happy if Reid doesn't go to the Super Bowl. In a league that rewards being No. 1, being No. 2 is very uncomfortable.
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Right tackle Lane Johnson and running back Wendell Smallwood were both back at Eagles practice Tuesday.
Johnson missed the Panthers game with a concussion he suffered against Cardinals, and Smallwood missed the last two games after hurting his knee against the Chargers.
Practice was closed Tuesday and the Eagles are not required to release an injury report until Thursday because of the long week, but a team official confirmed that Johnson practiced — which means he was cleared through the NFL's concussion protocol by an approved neurosurgeon.
Johnson was not in the locker room during the period it was open to the media, but Smallwood said he did practice without limitations and hopes to play against the Redskins Monday night.
"It's been coming along," Smallwood said. "Felt good these past couple days, since really after the Carolina game it started feeling good. I was full-go today, I practiced with the guys. ... I wasn't limited at all. It really didn't bother me much. I felt good today. Hopefully, later on in the week, I'll feel better as the week goes and I'll be playing Monday. I think I should be ready."
Smallwood rushed for 113 yards with a 3.9 average and caught seven passes for 56 yards in four games before getting hurt early in the Chargers game.
"Wendell obviously brings a lot to the table," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "He's that thrashing, downhill runner. He's got some explosiveness. He's a three-down back, he's good out of the backfield, he's really good in protection. It brings all those things."
Smallwood said he played "on adrenaline" with the injury but said his knee swelled up during the game.
Injuries have married Smallwood's career. He missed the last three games last year with a knee injury and missed time in training camp with a hamstring injury.
"I get frustrated a lot when I'm not in the game, not being out there to help and progress as the year goes on," he said. "So it frustrates me.
"But it happens. I've just got to suck it up and not pay attention to it. Just know I can bounce back and just try to get on the field as fast as I can."
Smallwood said he expects to be 100 percent Monday night in a huge divisional game against the Redskins at the Linc.
"I believe so," he said. "I'm not going to hold back any. I'm not going to think about it or get nervous. I have that confidence in myself. As the week's gone on, I just started feeling better about what I'm able to do."
Also, rookie cornerback Sidney Jones, who became eligible to practice Wednesday after spending the first six weeks on the reserve-non football injury list, said he did not practice. Jones has been out since suffering a torn Achilles at his pro day in March.