With training camp quickly approaching we will start to hear news, thoughts and rumors about aging veterans—such as Terrell Owens. Players that haven’t received much interest up to this point outside of some small talk, but are still looking for work.
Along that same thought, let’s not forget about RB Brian Westbrook. Outside of the reported interest from Washington, Denver and St. Louis, the talk has been relatively quiet on the former Eagle. According to NFL.com, Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe said Westbrook would have “no problem” playing for Minnesota this season and that the RB is in football shape.
Again, it is just talk. But, that doesn’t mean that Westbrook can’t draw interest from a contender. And, this is where I question if the RB would take an offer from a team such as St. Louis. A rebuilding squad who will end up playing rookie QB Sam Bradford at some point in the 2010 season. The impact that Westbrook could provide will be lost for a team that is still learning how to win football games.
That is why a club such as Minnesota—who could have a very realistic role for Westbrook—should at least entertain the idea of giving him a look. The same could be said for Mike McCarthy’s Packers. Adding a veteran presence that can still provide production from a situational role before camp is a bonus, a luxury and something that could turn into a steal.
Yes, Westbrook is not going to carry the ball 20 or even 15 times a game, and he won’t contribute to the special teams units. But, as a third down back, a player that can provide value in blitz pickup and still force some defensive coordinators to sweat when he is aligned out of position, you have to at least entertain the idea that he can add to your offense.
Injuries? Yes, they are a real concern with Westbrook, but we can apply that “injury tag” to any player in their 30’s who has some wear on those legs. Is a team willing to take that risk? If you see the impact that he could have, then yes—make a play for him this summer.
I remember sitting in meetings back in Washington and turning on the tape of Westbrook in Philly. He was dynamic and he could cause major issues for any defensive scheme. He isn’t that player anymore, and no doubt some of his explosive power on the field is gone.
But, let’s not forget that he can still provide for an offense that has the weapons in place around him. Now, a contender just has to show some real interest.
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