Very interesting story via Redskins Insider. As reader(s) are no doubt aware, our own Byron Westbrook (practice squad cornerback) is the brother of Eagles super star running back slash whatever they ask him to do Brian Westbrook:
Redskins cornerback Byron Westbrook said he would be very surprised if his brother Brian played for the Eagles this weekend. Byron Westbrook said he speaks to his brother, whose presence completely changes the effectiveness and productivity of the Philly offense, nearly every day.
"I don't think he'll play," Byron Westbrook said. "The ankle injury is more serious than what the Eagles put out. You know how Andy Reid is about injuries and giving out information. Just watching him on the sidelines after he turned his ankle [against Pittsburgh two weeks ago], it didn't look good.
I have equal doubts about the following two propositions: 1) Andy Reid does not mind that the brother of one of his players is potentially giving away information he has carefully moderated for, ostensibly, the reasonable team-oriented purpose of preventing your next opponent from maximizing their game-prep due to guess work over the roster they will eventually face, 2) Andy Reid can dictate to Brian Westbrook that he not talk with his brother.
The situation presents an interesting dilemna. Teams, through their coaches, have an interest and a limited power to regulate the communications made by the players. The power to do so does not extend infinitely, though, and if ever there was a line to be drawn it would be the point at which a team tries to tell brothers to stop being brothers.
This isn't cynicism, just commentary, but doesn't this non-trivially increase the value of having Byron Westbrook on the practice squad? I think he's there because he earned a spot on the team, but isn't he all the better to have around if he can provide inside information on one of the most valuable players of a division rival? Practice squad players cost the team pennies (so to speak), so the financial value attached to them is relatively tiny. Doesn't this make Byron Westbrook one of the most valuable practice squadders we have?
Imagine what discussions this spawns between the brothers? Is Brian going to call up Byron and tell him to shut up? Do you always do what your brother tells you?
Whatever interest the betting public may have in Brian Westbrook's presence on the field this Sunday, it hasn't affected their decisions: Line has now moved from -5 to -5.5 or -6, depending who you ask. Philly gets better as Westbrook's certainty to play decreases? That's odd.
Of course, maybe Byron just hasn't kept up with current events:
Byron said he last spoke to Brian on Sunday... Good news for Eagles fans is that had Byron spoken with Brian today, he'd know that Westbrook returned to practice, albeit in a limited capacity.