Andy Reid announced today that quarterback Donovan McNabb will return to Philadelphia for the 2010 season and the final year of his contract. This statement follows McNabb’s declaration prior to the Cowboys game that “win or lose” he would be back next year, and for “many years to come.”
Andy Reid was much too hasty in his decision to bring Donovan back, and it was the wrong decision. Let me start by analyzing Donovan’s performance over the past few years. Donovan has been a good regular season quarterback and a good early postseason quarterback, but has never been able to win the big game for the Eagles. He has taken the team to 5 NFC Championship Games, but has lost 4 of those games. In addition, the Eagles were favorites in 3 of the 4 NFC Championship Games that they lost. In these games he has been extremely inconsistent, has been inaccurate, and has been unable to lead any type of game winning drive. Yes, against Arizona, I realize that he led a drive to give the Eagles the lead in the 4th quarter, but after a Cardinals touchdown, the Eagles had good field position, and Donovan underthrew or threw behind receivers three consecutive times, and as a result was unable to produce a clutch drive down the stretch.
Donovan McNabb also lacks the leadership to be able to take this team to the Super Bowl. McNabb has been unable to take any criticism from the fans of Philadelphia, and has let it affect his play. One need not even mention how Donovan still holds a vendetta for when he was booed in New York after being drafted by the Eagles. He often refers back to that when he discusses the “injustices” he has faced during his time in Philly. Get over it! The fans weren’t even booing you, Donovan. They were booing the Eagles organization because they wanted Ricky Williams, not your performance or you personally. Donovan has continued this trend of acting like a baby, as he has criticized anyone but himself. There are many examples of how Donovan has acted childish, but in the interest of brevity, I will give one recent example. Just last week, Donovan McNabb blamed everyone but himself for the Week 17 game against Dallas. He said, “We showed our youth today” by not being able to make big plays in big spots. Really, Donovan? Only the youth didn’t perform? Was it the youth that threw the ball behind Maclin, which, on target, would have been a touchdown. Was it the youth that miss open receivers low the entire game? Was it the youth that overshot Desean Jackson when he was open? No it wasn’t. It was you, and a majority of the blame should be upon you for your performance against the ‘Boys. Then, after being called out by reporters for his comments, he retorted, “I would never throw someone under the bus…That’s just not me.” That comment may anger me more than the original comment. That comment shows that Donovan is a 33 year old baby who simply refuses to claim responsibility for his words and actions, and thereby is not fit to lead a football team. These comments represent a microcosm of Donovan’s entire career in Philadelphia.
Although McNabb has done nothing to convince the fans that he is capable of winning a Super Bowl, the decision to get rid of McNabb is not solely based upon McNabb’s performance. The Eagles have a very young base of talented weapons, including Pro Bowl WR Desean Jackson, rookie WR Jeremy Maclin, rookie RB Lesean “Shady” McCoy, and newly contract extended hybrid FB Leanard Weaver. Part of that young base, but hiding in the background, is quarterback Kevin Kolb. He was drafted out of Houston in 2007 and has sat in waiting for three seasons. Let’s analyze the impact of this draft pick. The Eagles traded down from pick 26 to pick 36, and then drafted Kevin Kolb. This pick certainly sends a message that the Eagles organization does not have full confidence in Donovan McNabb. Think of it this way. The Eagles desperately needed a wide receiver at the time, and WRs Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith (Giants), and Sidney Rice. Therefore, if the Eagles weren’t seriously considering replacing Donovan in the near future, the organization would not have drafted a quarterback with its first pick in the draft when it had so many other needs at the time.
To that same end, Kolb’s contract expires after next season, as McNabb’s does. One must ask the question: Will the Eagles extend McNabb’s contract after next year? It would be difficult. McNabb will be 34 years old. Kolb will be 26. Kolb will most likely not want to resign with the team if he does not get any playing time next year, as he will be likely to find a starting job somewhere else. Therefore, the decision of who will be the starter next year will have many repercussions down the road. If McNabb starts, that means Kolb will become a free agent without any playing time with the Eagles, and thereby will feel no loyalty to the organization. He will be very likely to sign somewhere else, and the Eagles will have effectively lost a top draft pick and the team’s future starter. If McNabb breaks down in a year of two, which may happen soon with McNabb’s age, the Eagles will have to start from scratch in terms of finding a new quarterback.
However, if the Eagles start Kolb, the team will have a quarterback who has been learning for three years by sitting behind McNabb. The team will have a quarterback who will be much more likely to sign a long term deal after his contract expires. The team will have a quarterback who will be able to grow with this young base of talent for many years. Starting McNabb next year will foil this scenario, and Kevin Kolb will move on with his career. Therefore, Kevin Kolb is the right decision for the Eagles starting quarterback position in 2010.
The point is, Donovan is not a quarterback that will be able to win the Eagles a Super Bowl. He lacks the leadership, accuracy, and overall ability to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl, which from my knowledge is all Eagles fans care about right now. The Eagles fans have had enough of the NFC Championship Games. As a Bills fan, I get it. As fulfilling as it was to be in the playoffs every year and make the Super Bowl, I wanted a Super Bowl after being so close, and really didn’t care about anything less. Similarly, the Eagles have been in the playoffs 8 of the last 11 years, and as a result the Eagles fans want much more than just a playoff appearance. They want a Lombardi Trophy. Therefore, with Donovan McNabb’s lack of leadership, his lack of accuracy and consistency, and Kevin Kolb’s presence in the backup role and the impact of his expiring contract after next year, it would be in the interest of the Eagles to rid themselves of Donovan McNabb and give Kolb the keys to the offense.