As the McNabb train rolls out of town -- and really, even if progress is hard to gauge, the wheels are in motion -- I'm laying down a few ground rules. This is for two reasons:
- I'm not really interested in reading people's yammering about "demeanor," "leadership" or "worm burners." Plenty of other forums around for that. Knock yourself out elsewhere.
- If this thing drags on for a few more weeks, I don't want people exhausting themselves before we even get to the dénouement. Pace yourselves.
On to the points:
1) Donovan McNabb is not the reason the Eagles haven't won a Super Bowl under Andy Reid. I've never seen an athlete in this city face the same sort of expectations McNabb has during his career. When he has a bad game, people slam him for not playing well. When he's good, they jack him for not being great.
And when he's great, well, he should have been perfect.
McNabb has never been remotely the biggest problem on this team. And yet people consistently hand wave away the limitations of a roster with guys like Todd Pinkston, Levon Kirkland, Darwin No-Gap Walker and Jeremiah Trotter (v3.0) playing prominent roles, expecting McNabb to somehow just demeanership his way past those issues like some sort of god.
Whatever. If you're one of those people who can't see past one position on the roster, I can't really help you. But I do want to post this chart:
That's a year-by-year comparison of McNabb's stats to the stats of the QB who won the Super Bowl. McNabb v1.0 was more runner than passer, so you can see the early years don't favor him. But since 2004, when McNabb really hit his stride throwing the ball, look at those numbers. In three seasons -- 2004, 2007 and 2008 -- McNabb had better numbers than the guy who won it all. To believe that McNabb wasn't good enough to win a Super Bowl when he was better than the guys who, in fact, did, requires such tremendous mental contortions that it's no wonder critics settle on things like "well, he just smiles too much is all."
Smiles / minute is about the only stat they have left.
2) With that said, it's pointless to keep arguing over whether or not trading McNabb is the right choice. We've all had our say, nothing's changing, still it moves, etc. Time to move on to the next round of arguments.
3) The switch to Kevin Kolb isn't about a couple of games. I've seen a few people say they can't believe the Eagles would do something like this based on a couple of good games by Kolb against bad defenses. I understand the specific point about being careful about our extrapolations, but things have been moving in this direction for quite some time now.
Two offseasons ago, I talked about my grand unified theory of Donovan: "1) Heck of a player. 2) Good guy. 3) Pretty much down to his last shot in this town."
Last March I said the following, "I think the chance of McNabb being the starter at the beginning of the 2010 season is below 50 percent. He's going to have to force their hand with a great, healthy season for that to happen."
... and no one disagreed with me.
Finally, there was McNabb's incredibly confusing extension last year, which many people took at the time to mean he was locked in for two years, but which even then we were saying could just as easily be a foundation for trading him (enjoy early, unplugged "shlynch" in that link).
The spreadsheets say it's time. The spreadsheets always win.
4) I don't know how much longer I'll root for McNabb. It's nothing personal. Obviously I love the dude and I have every intention of caring about the rest of his career.
But I've learned over the years that it's hard to sustain individual rooting interests. Allen Iverson is -- hands down -- my favorite basketball player of all time. But once he left the Sixers, I could barely sustain any interest in how or what he was doing.
Ditto with Brian Dawkins. I'll never forget him as an Eagle, but he might as well be playing soccer now. I'm amazed by the people who could keep up with his every movement last year in Denver. How much time do you folks have?
I'll await McNabb's first game with great anticipation. It will absolutely be in the viewing rotation that first Sunday.
But if he's playing for some crummy, uninteresting team ... and if there's a better match-up over on CBS ... good luck, Donovan, hope that works out for you.
This is why great players should only play for one team and then retire.
5) It would be fascinating to see McNabb play for an entirely different kind of coach than Andy Reid. Wouldn't happen in St. Louis, since that coaching staff is basically Philadelphia Midwest, but I would have loved seeing him end up on one of those run-run-run-now make a play teams like Tennessee, Baltimore, New Jersey, etc. It would be like one of those alternate history novels in which the Germans won WWII.
6) On the flip side, we'll finally get to see Reid's offense with a quarterback who can complete a slant and might have a better sense of clock management than Reid and Marty do. Like an old friend with a new nose, things won't look exactly right at first.
7) Mike Vick's going to love backing up Kevin Kolb, isn't he? Dude just might choke a bitch, if you know what I mean.
8) If McNabb goes to the Rams, it's at least partly because Spags wants Suh. Defensive coach, needs that one unblockable guy, knows he may never get another shot at him.
As for the people who think the Rams can't really use McNabb, uh, take a look at the stats. Scraping the bottom of the league's Ten Best QBs list looks pretty darn good after that.
9) If McNabb goes to Buffalo, they should absolutely re-sign TO. I know everyone's "over" Owens and he's on the decline, etc., etc. All I know is that even playing in the place that football forgot, with no actual quarterback to speak of, Owens still averaged 15.1 yards per catch. With receivers, that's the key number. Dude's a physical freak, let the old guys play together.
10 Lastly, if McNabb goes to Oakland, he'll have every right to torch Andy's home and blame it on an angry dealer. There are some things you just don't do.