Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Report Cards

Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Report Cards

Injured quarterback Donovan McNabb is expected to play Sunday against Kansas City, but two other important Eagles -- kicker David Akers and starting right defensive tackle Darwin Walker -- won't.

Akers re-injured his right hamstring on the opening kickoff of Sunday's 23-20 win over Oakland. He had an MRI on the leg Monday and it showed a tear.

"It will be a struggle for David to kick this weekend," coach Andy Reid said. "Most likely, he won't do that and we'll have to make a roster move down the road here."

The Eagles signed kicker Todd France to their practice squad last week after Akers initially injured the hamstring in Week 2 against San Francisco. But Akers was able to kick in practice during the week, so the Eagles kept France on the practice squad.

After he hurt it on the opening kickoff, the Eagles had to scramble. Long-snapper Mike Bartrum handled kickoffs and linebacker Mark Simoneau attempted a PAT, which was blocked. Akers returned to kick two PATs, as well as the game-winning 26-yard field goal, even though he was in obvious pain.

His initial hamstring injury was high up on his leg, near his buttocks. But when he tore it Sunday, it was much lower, closer to the knee. "It's not the same spot," Reid said. "It's a different injury on the leg."

Reid said the Eagles are not considering placing Akers on injured reserve and are hopeful that he won't be out for more than a game or two.

Walker, who had been the Eagles' best defensive lineman in the first two games, has what Reid termed a "substantial" thigh contusion. He suffered the injury in practice late last week when he took a knee in the thigh. Reid said there is "quite a bit of swelling and bleeding" in the injured area. Walker didn't play Sunday against the Raiders and won't play this week, Reid said.

In fact, Reid didn't sound optimistic that Walker would be back anytime soon. "We'll see how it goes with him," he said. "Those are tough injuries."

Walker was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie first-round pick Mike Patterson.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Versatile running back Brian Westbrook had his 12th straight 100-yard rushing and receiving performance against the Raiders. He rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, but his real impact came in the passing game. He caught six passes for a career-high 140 yards and a touchdown. He even beat Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson on a 62-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Westbrook's contract negotiations with the Eagles remain at an impasse. He can become a free agent after the season, though the Eagles have the option of using the franchise-player tag on him. "Like I've said before, my performance is going to speak for itself," Westbrook said. "If (the Eagles) feel I'm good enough to play this position, doing the things that I'm doing, then I should be rewarded. If they don't, then I shouldn't. But continue to go out and make plays. That's what I'm here for. I don't let my contract situation get in the way of anything this team is doing."

--Andy Reid acknowledged that he probably screwed up by not activating practice squad kicker Todd France on Sunday as an emergency backup for injured David Akers. "Sitting here, it probably wasn't the smartest move," he said. "But I thought David was feeling better (from) all of the reports that I got. He was kicking the ball as well as he has ever kicked it. But then the thing popped on him on the first kickoff."

--The Eagles faced Randy Moss for the third time in the last 12 months Sunday, and again did a very good job against one of the game's top three wideouts. Moss had five receptions for 86 yards, but three of those catches and 60 of those yards didn't come until the Raiders' final two possessions. In the three meetings against Moss, he's reached the end zone just once. "He's such a unique guy," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "He looks like he's going deep all the time. The big thing is we didn't give him the long pass, the touchdown pass. And that was our goal. If we could stop the (Raiders') run game and keep Moss out of the end zone, we'd be happy." The Eagles kept free safety Brian Dawkins back deep to provide over-the-top help on Moss. "Dawk had his eye on Randy a lot," cornerback Lito Sheppard said. "We were in man coverage a lot, but (Dawkins) always had his eye on him."

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--K David Akers will miss at least one game and possibly more with a torn hamstring. Akers initially injured the hamstring two weeks ago, then tore it Sunday on the opening kickoff.

--K Todd France, who was signed to the Eagles' practice squad last week, is expected to be added to the club's 53-man roster this week so that he can replace injured David Akers in the Eagles' Week 4 game against Kansas City.

--DT Darwin Walker, who sat out Sunday's game with a deep thigh bruise suffered in practice last week, won't play this week either. --DT Mike Patterson will make his second straight start Sunday against Kansas City. Patterson will replace the injured Darwin Walker at right tackle.

--QB Donovan McNabb is expected to play Sunday against Kansas City, but he's hurting. He continues to be bothered by a bruised chest, has a lower abdominal strain that has greatly impacted his mobility and throwing motion, and also has a shin contusion. He probably won't practice much this week.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD V. RAIDERS

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- With his abdominal injury affecting his mechanics, Donovan McNabb had a horrible first half, but turned it around in the second, completing 19-of-28 passes for 266 yards and 2 TDs in the final two quarters. The Raiders had no answer for running back Brian Westbrook, who caught six passes for 140 yards.

RUSH OFFENSE: B-plus -- The Raiders played most of the game with five DBs and dared the Eagles to run on them. The RBs only had 14 rushing attempts, including 13 by Westbrook, but averaged 4.6 yards per carry.

PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- The Eagles secondary got a little sloppy at the end. But their corners, along with some over-the-top help from free safety Brian Dawkins, shut down wide receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Porter for most of the game.

RUN DEFENSE: A-plus -- The Eagles had to stop LaMont Jordan to de-fang Kerry Collins' play-action threat, and they did just that, holding him to 19 yards on 16 carries. Middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter had one of the best games of his career, notching 10 tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- Injured David Akers booting a one-legged 23-yard field goal made for a Hollywood ending. But the Eagles' special teams committed a ton of penalties, and emergency kicker Mark Simoneau had an early PAT blocked. The Eagles did a good job of shutting down dangerous return man Chris Carr.

COACHING: D - Andy Reid's decision not to activate practice squad kicker Todd France as a backup for injured David Akers very nearly cost the Eagles the game.

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