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Eagles are healthy, now it’s time to win


As the Philadelphia Eagles  returned from their bye week so did three key pieces of their offense

Quarterback Donovan McNabb  (broken rib), running back Brian Westbrook  (knee) and wide receiver Kevin Curtis (knee) all returned to practice, Monday, after missing the team’s last game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Only left guard Todd Herremans, still recuperating from a stress fracture in his foot, was not on the practice field.

So the team is getting healthy as it comes back to face three relatively weak opponents in Tampa Bay, Oakland and Washington in the next three weeks before November comes and so do the Giants, Cowboys, Chargers and Bears.

Here are some Eagles to watch over the remainder of the season, and how they perform may determine just how good as the season this becomes.

McNabb – Who else would go first?

The veteran quarterback already missed two games with the broken rib bringing his durability into question yet again.

With Kevin Kolb  showing he could play in the two games he started and Michael Vick  still around watching and waiting, McNabb knows his time is now.

As stated before, the team did everything McNabb wanted them to do in the offseason. It’s up to him to come through for them during the season.

LeSean McCoy – This is tough to write, but the Brian Westbrook Era may be coming to a close sooner rather than later.

Westbrook’s knee and ankle problems have already cost him the entire preseason and now one regular-season game. There are probably more to come.

McCoy, the rookie out of Pitt, has looked good through the first three games of the season, and in his one starting appearance showed a lot in the win over Kansas City. We knew he could run, but he has also shown uncanny vision, excellent cut-back ability and good receiving skills.

Thought to be his weakness, McCoy has done a good job picking up the blitz so far as well.

Winston Justice – The Eagles will never say this, at least not out loud, but if Shawn Andrews and Todd Herremans were healthy and Stacy Andrews was further along in rehabbing his knee, Justice would not have made the team.

No matter what else you hear, the one-time second-round draft pick was destined to be on the waiver wire in the months leading up to camp.

Then the injuries started and the next thing you knew Justice was the starting right tackle.

He’s done fine so far in three games. There are 13 more to go, including two against the Giants and Osi Umenyiora. This is definitely a player to watch.

Andy Reid – Like McNabb, the head coach is under some pressure to win this year. There is no arguing that he’s won a lot of games and has been as successful as any Eagles head coach since Buck Shaw won the team’s last title in 1960.

There are also no Lombardi Trophies lying around, either.

Reid is coaching what his boss, team President Joe Banner called “the best roster in the league’’ and every move the team has made from trading a No. 1 pick for left tackle Jason Peters to signing Michael Vick has had a win-now stamp on it.

So that’s what he has to do.

Ted Daisher – In the Eagles lone loss so far special teams was atrocious leading to 24 points for New Orleans.

It was better against Kansas City, but still not good enough.

Daisher, a former assistant to John Harbaugh with the Eagles, had success in charge of special teams in both Cleveland and Oakland so you know he can coach.

The team also spent draft picks the past few years trying to bolster the special teams. Improvement is not only expected in the weeks after the bye, it might be mandatory.

Victor Abiamiri – After battling injuries, again, in the preseason Abiamiri is healthy and starting at right defensive end.

The 2007 second-round pick is one of the keys to the success of the defense over the long season. If he does what is expected of him and stops the run on early downs, it will give the team a chance to use its depth at the position – Juqua Parker, Chris Clemons – as pure pass rushers.

Abiamiri could also show some pass rush to take pressure off right end Trent Cole, who will see more and more double teams, and chipping as the season wears on the next 14 weeks.