For the second straight week, the Eagles will face one of their franchise's greats in his first game as an opponent. Brian Westbrook was released by the Eagles at the end of last season and ended up signing with the 49ers during the preseason this year.
There were a few teams we knew had interest in Westbrook, most notably the Redskins, but he chose to sign a one-year deal with 49ers. Whether it was because he thought they had a chance to win, because he had a chance to play, or they just offered him the most money (he’s only making $1.25 mil) wasn’t clear. If the first two were his reasons, things obviously haven’t worked out like he expected.
The 49ers are off to an 0-4 start and Brian Westbrook has barely gotten off the bench. Westbrook has carried the ball exactly once this year for zero yards and has caught two passes for six yards. Certainly part of this is because he’s backing up one of the better backs in the game, Frank Gore, and therefore isn’t going to be featured or have as many opportunities as he did year. Still, his production hasn’t just slowed down… it’s flatlined.
I asked our 49ers blog Niners Nation why they think Westbrook has been such a non factor this season.
I’d imagine it has something to do with his age and something to do with the team’s total trust in Frank Gore. I was expecting a lot more two back sets with Gore and Westbrook but it really hasn’t happened. From listening to press conferences it seems like the team has some concern about his ability to be blended in but in reality, nobody has really said anything of substance about it.
Last week he was on the field for a play and Alex Smith had to wave him into a different spot on the field. He was never seen again after that. It’s really hard to tell what exactly is going on with this at this point.
That Westbrook wouldn’t be the player he once was is no surprise to anyone that’s watched him over the past year or two. He’s clearly lost a step or two and all the injuries he’s accumulated over the years really had begun to catch up with him. That said, who could have expected him to manage just six total yards over the first games of the season?
If he does eventually break out this season, let’s just hope it’s not this weekend.