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Addition of Weaver helps entire offense

By: Nick Popyack

       Many NFL ‘experts’ sympathize for Donovan McNabb. They can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for an excellent quarterback to be stuck with a weak wide receiving corps. What they don’t talk about at all is how the same could be said for Brian Westbrook about the fullback position; he hasn’t really ever had a decent blocker in front of him. That is, until now. The addition of Leonard Weaver to the Eagles roster is a much needed addition that solves many problems at once. This addition helps Westbrook, McNabb, and the entire offense improve to championship caliber.
       Brian Westbrook had, to say the least, an off year in 2008. He had his lowest amount of rushing attempts and yards in the past three years, as well his lowest amount of receptions and receiving yards since 2003. While he still recorded 14 total touchdowns, he was supposed to have a much greater year than he did, and the main reason was because there was no good fullback in front of him.
       The Eagles experimented with Tony Hunt, Dan Klecko, Kyle Eckel, and eventually Correll Buckhalter, most of them flat-out failures. The Eagles offense suffered accordingly, their rushing offense only reaching 22nd in the league. With a struggling rushing offense, a greater burden was put on McNabb, resulting in him being benched for the only time in his 10-year career. Point fingers anywhere you want, but it all came down to a lack of production out of the running game. The signing of Leonard Weaver means the Eagles are as tired of it as the fans are.
       The Eagles are making a few statements with Weaver joining the green and white. First and foremost, they’re solving the short yardage problem they had last year; a few games were lost by a yard or less [Bears game, first Giants matchup…], and our team remembers that. Leonard Weaver [6-0 ft, 240 lbs] is exactly the type of back that the Eagles needed in 1-2 yard situations last year. The fact that the Eagles are taking this issue seriously is a great comfort to me.
       Another statement the Eagles are making is that they plan to use a fullback. This means that they plan to run the ball more, something Eagles fans have been requesting for years. A blocker to pick up linebackers is a tremendous help, but Weaver can also be more than that. He is also an excellent receiver, and is another threat opposing defenses will have to account for. With Westbrook, Jackson, Curtis, Celek and Weaver all on the field, McNabb is going to be happy with all of his options.
       That brings me to my last point: McNabb. His job just got a whole lot easier. When teams are able to run the ball with success, it takes such a burden off of the quarterback, something that no wide receiver can do. The less pressure McNabb feels, the better the offense runs as a unit.
       Leonard Weaver is the best free agent the Eagles could have gotten this offseason. He’ll help Westbrook pick up more yards, McNabb pass the ball easier, and the entire offense move up and down the field better. Despite the defense highlighting the 2008 season, I’m most excited for the offense in 2009.

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