Here we go again. It looks like it is time for the annual Philadelphia Eagles postmortem blog. For the fourth straight year I sit here in disgust and disappointment as a birds fan. The obvious two names up for discussion here are the head coach and the quarterback. Are we better off without one, the other or both? Unfortunately while a valid question it is one without much merit after the coach’s latest contract extension.
The last two weeks have been embarrassing and downright depressing for Eagles fans. Not only did the Eagles come up short in the two biggest games of the season, they were blown out, and even worse by the stinking Dallas Cowboys. Now I will give credit where credit is due. The Cowboys are hottest team in the postseason and by all rights, should be playing in the Super Bowl if they keep it up. Yet the loss is no easier to swallow if you are bleeding green.
However, racking up points against a decimated New York Giants defense and a rookie coached Tampa Bay Buccaneers means nothing to me after last night. In eight quarters of play in back-to-back weeks, against his rival, in the two most important games of the season, he managed one touchdown. Blame it on whoever you want, but his accuracy was abysmal for both games. In the first game specifically, he had plenty of chances to hit open receivers in stride and missed every time. This has become a common theme for McNabb in the big game over the last few years. Yes he will get you wins over a Tarvaris Jackson led Minnesota Vikings, but he won’t get you wins over a hot team and blitzing defense like the Arizona Cardinals last season or the Cowboys this season. We can argue all day long, not only has he not gotten it done, he was a big part of all of the losses.
As a person I don’t know Donovan McNabb but I hear mixed reviews on him from people who do know him and know people around him. A common criticism here in Philadelphia is that he just doesn’t have the passion or leadership needed by a veteran QB like him. It would be unfair for me to accuse him of this as I cannot get into his head. Yet there was a scene before the Cowboys game that really got me thinking. NBC showed McNabb leading the team through the tunnel with only Plexiglass separating him from the fans and playing air guitar. You know I thought to myself for a second and wondered if Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or even Philip Rivers (today) would lead his team like this? The answer is a resounding no. Whenever I see these guys some like Brees and Rivers are very emotional but not in such a comical way, while Manning and Brady are all business. The question I have is where the heck is this guy’s head before such a big game? I understand the idea of being loose, but there is loose and then there is the guy that is just being a goofball. To me, it didn’t look like a guy who was that focused on beating the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs nor did it look like a guy that will be losing any sleep on Sunday after the loss. Maybe I am just being nitpicky, but it really left a bad taste in my mouth.
On top of all of this, he has proven to be a pretty lousy leader over the last few years. Just last week he made a comment about the youth of the team being a problem in Dallas. While he may think that, what kind of leader goes out on national television and blasts his teammates? It would be no different than if T.O. was here blaming the quarterback, etc. I think it is funny that that an 11-year veteran who hasn’t done anything to put the team on his back over the last two weeks is blaming others for not stepping up and making a play. Last season following the Arizona Cardinals loss, he made a snide remark about the defense giving up the final game-winning drive to the Cards offense. Personally, the guy has worn out his welcome here and has turned into one of the most annoying athletes ever to come through Philadelphia.
Donovan McNabb has one more year left on his current contract. The big debate from McNabb supporters this season has been whether we are better with the devil you know or the devil you don’t? It is an interesting argument because you would think you were living in Cleveland listening to this. Since when did McNabb become so irreplaceable? Not only did Kevin Kolb do okay when McNabb didn’t play, Jeff Garcia led us into the playoffs a few years back. Additionally, as a franchise the Eagles have had a pretty good run on quarterbacks over my lifetime as a fan. Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham, and McNabb aren’t that bad. Yes, we had some clunkers but it isn’t like McNabb is the only quarterback to come into Philadelphia and win games for the franchise. It just boggles my mind how a guy that hasn’t beat a good team in the playoffs for several years has become so untouchable?
By saying that the Eagles need to keep McNabb, you are also putting no faith into the God of football, Andrew Reid. Andy Reid picked McNabb eleven years ago and traded with the Cowboys (brilliant!) to move up to draft Kevin Kolb a few years back. The next draft is not going to be a good draft for quarterbacks in my opinion, so the draft is out. I hate Notre Dame but Jimmy Clausen is the best prospect, yet I don’t think any of those guys are ready to step into a win-now situation here in Philadelphia. Keeping McNabb because the Eagles are afraid to move on just shows what little faith they have in Andy Reid making the correct personnel move. Rightfully so, but a poor excuse to keep a guy who has come up small in big games over the last several years with the Eagles.
The birds do have options here. For one, they could trade McNabb and if they aren’t going to re-sign him, they need to trade him and get something for him in the off season. I would love to see them work out a deal with the St. Louis Rams. Their head coach is a former coordinator here so there is a chance that he would give up more for McNabb than someone else. Why not trade McNabb for Steven Jackson and draft picks? Give Kevin Kolb a shot in his final contract year with this offense and Jackson. If not St. Louis, maybe Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert work out a deal with Reid that sends the birds Josh Cribbs and some of his eleven draft picks? Could there be value to Arizona with the talk of Kurt Warner retiring? Who knows whether or not Brett Favre will be back, because I am fairly certain Brad Childress would take McNabb in a heartbeat. There are options out there that could give them the chance to make the Eagles a better team without McNabb.
I know there are a lot of other problems in addition to Donovan McNabb. However, when the Eagles can only muster up 14 points with such a talented offense in two weeks, you need to look right at the quarterback. We had a good run here in Philadelphia, but to think that no other NFL quarterback can ever come to the Eagles and win as much as McNabb has is ridiculous. There are a lot of other quarterbacks that can come here, score seven points in two weeks, and never win a Super Bowl. So let’s start looking.
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