|ESPN.com: NFC East||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Andy Reid has declared wide receiver Kevin Curtis the starter for Sunday's game against the Falcons. It's hard to tell how effective Curtis will be after missing the past two months because of sports hernia surgery. In retrospect, tight end L.J. Smith probably came back too quickly from a similar injury last season and didn't make much of an impact.
But if Curtis is close to full strength, the Eagles now have a couple of big-play wide receivers in the starting lineup. And more importantly, Curtis is a player who Donovan McNabb has a lot of faith in.
"I've been proud of the guys who have stepped in," Curtis said. "The way they've played, we've had some success there. But it's always good to get the other guys back; getting them in there and letting them cut loose a little bit, too."
Curtis will provide McNabb with the veteran receiver he's been missing. Hank Baskett and DeSean Jackson have both played well, but Curtis brings more consistency. If McNabb has time in the pocket, he knows that Curtis will eventually come open. And it looks like the Eagles' bye week came at the best possible time.
This offense is mediocre when running back Brian Westbrook (ribs) doesn't play, although Correll Buckhalter filled in nicely against the 49ers. It will be important for Reid to make sure that Westbrook gets some rest. This is a huge game for the Eagles, but it's not the time to push Westbrook and risk further injury.