Philadelphia Eagles fans were rocked on Easter weekend when Andy Reid traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins. Reid was immediately criticized by NFL analysts and sports writers, “You don’t trade in your division.” Seven months later it is safe to say that Andy Reid is owed a lot of apologies.
I may be an Eagles fan but I am far from an Andy Reid apologist. I think Andy Reid’s days as an elite NFL head coach are long gone but if there is one thing that I can say about him, he knows his talent and he knows when it is time to let his talent go. As much as people blasted Reid for trading McNabb, something in me told me that this could be a brilliant move. Andy Reid isn’t stupid and he didn’t trade his former franchise quarterback in the division by accident.
The Washington Redskins are 4-4 and undefeated in the division but not thanks to Donovan McNabb, but in spite of Donovan McNabb. While the national media praised McNabb for a decade, Philly fans had grown tired of the passes in the ground, overthrown balls, and McNabb’s terrible decision making in clutch. Eight weeks in and Washington Redskins fans find themselves regrettably agreeing with their hated rivals. Andy Reid knew exactly what he was giving the Redskins and Mike Shanahan was the only idiot in the NFL dumb enough to trade a second round draft pick for him.
Have the Philadelphia Eagles fallen apart after trading their “franchise quarterback in the division?” The Eagles have exactly the same number of wins as the Redskins. Unlike the Redskins who are carried by their defense, the Eagles have been carried by their offense. Ironically the strongest position on the team since the trade has been quarterback. Not only have the Eagles not missed a beat on offense without McNabb, Michael Vick has played the position much better than McNabb has in recent years. Yes, the Eagles actually improved at the position since trading Donovan McNabb.
Mike Shanahan is getting a lot of heat for pulling McNabb against the Lions in the final minutes. The real yellow elephant in the room here is that nobody wants to admit that Andy Reid was right. McNabb has been borderline horrendous at times this season. He has missed open receivers, taken sacks, and has not been able to pull out wins in the clutch against Houston, Indianapolis, Green Bay, and Detroit all of which were winnable games. McNabb’s inability to complete a pass in the second half against the Eagles almost cost the Redskins the game.
McNabb will give you those big numbers, but overall he is playing worse football in 2010 than the quarterback he replaced, Jason Campbell. McNabb has a QB rating of 76.0 with only 7 touchdowns through eight weeks and 8 interceptions. Campbell trails McNabb with 6 touchdowns, but has a QB rating of 82.5 with only 4 interceptions. Which quarterback is surrounded by more talent? Which quarterback has the better head coach? It can be argued by looking at the data that the Redskins would have been better off keeping Campbell, although you can’t say the same thing about the Eagles and McNabb.
It continues to amaze me that people are still making excuses for McNabb. NFL analysts and journalists were crying the blues this week about McNabb’s benching. Instead of taking a look at the numbers and the play, McNabb’s defenders in the NFL media are blaming the coach. Yes, the same coach they anointed as the King of Coaching 8 months ago has now suddenly lost his mind. Now both Andy Reid and Mike Shanahan don’t want Donovan McNabb playing on their team and yet McNabb continues to remain unscathed towards criticism.
This free ride that McNabb continues to get from the media is annoying. Throughout this entire process McNabb has been regularly referred to as “classy.” Is classy throwing your defense and young players under the bus after a loss? Is classy crying to Andy Reid and demanding an apology after the Baltimore benching? Is classy running Jeff Garcia out of town a year after he took the team to an NFL divisional playoff game? Is classy being classified as a lazy practice player? If so, stay classy Donovan…somewhere else.
Andy Reid made the right move, yet not one of those same analysts have praised him for it. I agreed with the big guy and once again he is right on his former player. Chris Cooley can call it a “bonehead move” all he wants, but the bottom line here is that Andy Reid is owed a big apology from the NFL media. Unfortunately I don’t see it coming anytime soon.
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