Saturday, February 27, 2010

McNabb Under-appreciated?

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Westy went on a Chicago radio show and made the comment that Donovan McNabb is under-appreciated.  We've heard this from quite a few people recently.  Let's talk about it. 

I think most Eagles fans do appreciate Donovan McNabb.  There is a lot of frustration with him right now because of the end of the 2009 season.  Getting shut out in the season finale and then leading us to a TD in garbage time in the playoff game is not the way to endear yourself to fans.  Do that against the Cowboys and your reputation hits rock bottom. 

This doesn't mean that Eagles fans don't love McNabb for what he's done.  We're upset with him.  Can't you get mad at a relative or friend?  Just because I threaten to turn my nephews over to the Childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang doesn't mean I hate them.  Okay, maybe that's a bad example. 

I think anybody who's followed the Eagles for a long time knows that McNabb is the best QB in team history.  He has been a winner for us.  He's been a good face for the organization.  Donovan hasn't had any off-field issues.  He's the kind of athlete you can be proud of playing for your team.  I absolutely get frustrated with McNabb at times, but I definitely appreciate how good he is.  I would have given anything to see Donnie, Dawk, Westy, Tra, Runyan, and Big Red all together with the Lombardi Trophy.  Now Donovan is the only player from that group that is still around. 

There are some fans out there who have never liked McNabb.  I'm certainly aware of that.  They think he's cost us some Super Bowl titles or that he isn't a vocal enough leader or that he's not dedicated to the game.  Whatever.  Those are the kind of people that have an agenda.  They don't like a guy and don't care what the facts are.  The unfortunate thing is that these people are very vocal.  They get far too much attention and that leads some people to think maybe a lot of people feel this way.  Remember Shoulder-Pad Shawn and the Dirty Thirty?  That group of nutso vocal fans booed McNabb on draft day.  Somehow that has morphed into the fact that Donovan wasn't wanted in Philly.  Wrong.  Plenty of fans were ecstatic when McNabb was picked and have loved him being our QB for more than a decade. 

Things do get tricky when talking about McNabb's status and future.  Some people say "how can you even consider trading him?  Would you deal Manning or Brady?"  Those guys are first ballot HOF selections and SB winners.  McNabb isn't on their level.  He's a notch below.  That isn't an insult.  It is just reality.  People are too eager to hate or love.  Guess what.  There is ground between HOF player and "he sucks".  Donovan may play his way to the HOF level, but barring a crazy run in the next few years he won't be a first ballot guy.  Those players are the best of the best. 

I think smart fans understand all of this and love McNabb for what he's done.  Whether his last year was 2009 or some time in the future, I'm sure as heck thankful for all Donovan did for the Eagles and city of Philadelphia. 

What is his future?  I think it really depends on the other teams in the league.  My guess is that the Eagles will trade him for the right offer, but will not give him away.  Would a 1st round pick get the deal done?  Would a pick and star player be enough?  We'll have to wait and see. 

I'll post some Eagles related Combine notes on Sunday. 
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17 comments:

Myron said...

McNabb, to me, is like an inferior Ben Rothlisberger without the game-winning drives and the two Super Bowl rings.

Both quarterbacks are great at what they do: escaping the pocket and extending plays, and throwing bombs downfield with superior arm strength. Neither one is a top-flight technical passer (Brees) or a master of the intricacies of the position (Manning), but both are talented enough physically to be effective.

Both have had the opportunity to playing alongside championship-caliber defenses in the past. The 2004-2008 Steelers had elite defenses. The Eagles had had varying degrees of elite defenses throughout this past decade. The difference between the two, in my mind, is that Big Ben has not wilted in big moments quite as much as McNabb has in the past, and has been able to take advantage of each year with an elite defense to ride the wave to the top twice. McNabb could easily have done the same in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008. But he didn't, and he doesn't have the pure mastery of the position that someone like Dan Marino or Drew Brees does, and that makes him simply an inferior Ben Rothlisberger.

Does this mean that McNabb is underappreciated if we question his resume? I don't think it does. I think he is adequately appreciated for what he is: an above-average (not elite) quarterback who failed to take advantage of some excellent teams he was lucky to be a part of. Had Big Ben not rode the wave to those two Super Bowls, people in Pittsburgh would be critical of him in the same way: all of the physical talent in the world, and the regular season wins, but he just can't get it together when it counts, even when he's on a team with a great defense that constantly keeps him in the game. Had McNabb had the same level of success with mediocre teams and bad defenses, we'd have a Drew Brees situation prior to 2009, or a Dan Marino situation. But Brees showed that he is a superior quarterback despite his lack of good teams when finally, in 2009, they backed him up with a solid defense and he did all of the right things to win a Championship. McNabb has not done this, and deserves all of the scorn he gets.

That's my 0.02, anyway.

Cliff said...

I relate this situation to Brett Favre's last years in Green Bay. Some fans are diehard, loyal to Favre. Some fans were frustrated with the bonehead, gunslinger stuff that cost them playoff games and were ready for the Aaron Rodgers era.

The only difference is that Favre really forced himself out of GB. He kept holding the organization hostage with his "should I retire" routine. We should feel fortunate that McNabb hasn't made a peep about being traded or released. In my opinion, he's being very professional considering the circumstances (media heat and a young player waiting in the wings).

Cliff said...

Great news! Leonard Weaver says contract negotiations are "close." Yessss!

Dollar Brand said...

Just turned on the TV to watch the combine a bit and got to see our very own Juan Castillo giving instructions to the OL prospects for the "Rabbit" drill as he called it. Really neat stuff on how to keep the elbows in and shoulders back and not to hop but rather keep a foot on the ground at all times.

Even to the untrained eye you could see where some of the guys really struggled with the lateral movement and arm placement. But Juan just kept encouraging them and coaching them up. Hopefully some of that teaching will take with the C for 2010.

Netherman said...

I am baffled that Tebow and Lefevour are not competing. Even more baffling is seeing Tebow interviewed and saying he is there to compete. I see now he did not bench either. What is he going to compete in? The medical exam? I realize the bench is hardly a valuable measure for a QB, but one would think that would be an area he would be better than average in with his size. I had no real interest in him, but it sure feels like guys are getting some questionable advice from their advisors.

Ben said...

Shannon Sharpe was listed at 6'2, 228.

I know he's probably an exception as a future possible hall of famer, but people think Dorin Dickerson is too small too. How do they compare? Not necessarily because of similarities, but just because there aren't any other NFL tight ends of that size to compare him to really.

Jason said...

I do think there are a lot of rational fans out there that do appreciate McNabb for what he has done. That being said, I also think it's too easy just to say that there is a vocal minority who have always had an agenda against McNabb. The reality is, every season since 2003 there have been tons of fans who wanted to run McNabb out of town. For a guy that should be recognized as the best QB the Eagles ever had, a guy who you can possibly talk about as a HOF, it seems to me that he has been under-appreciated considering for the majority of his career at this point he has had to win the fans back over every season, if not twice a season.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Philly fans are brutally tough on all teams and players. No one truly gets a free ride. I don't consider that anti-McNabb so much as just the way things are in Philly. Maybe you guys disagree...

Jacob said...

Well it all depends on what type of people you listen to when it comes to McNabb. Every now and then I turn on the local sports radio and it seems that 90% of the callers really don't appreciate McNabb. For some reason they see him as an incompetent athlete who lucked into success becuase of his offensive line and defense. I know that these people who call into these radio stations do not represent the majority of Eagles fans, but where else can someone get a general sense of what Eagles fans think? McNabb has his flaws and everyone knows that, he is not perfect, and is not even a top 7 QB in this league. But to say that he doesnt have what it takes to win a superbowl is not only a very false but also very disrepectful. I respect the opinions of those who say that Kolb may end up being a better QB than McNabb, and keeping him and trading McNabb is the most logical choice in the long run. But I don't respect those who belittle his accomplishments and assume that what he has done can be replicated by anyone off the street. I know that you aren't one of these people, but listen to philly sports radio for a half an hour and you will understand what I am talking about.

Myron said...

Ask yourself this. Should Patriots fans, in the early part of 2001, have been satisfied with all that Drew Bledsoe did for their franchise? Should he have been "appreciated" for what he did? After all, he took them to a Super Bowl in 1996. His competent quarterbacking kept them a competitive franchise for years. He was a talented former first round quarterback who had spent years racking up stats. People were suggesting eventual inclusion in the Hall of Fame for Drew.

Patriots fans back then knew they had a backup sitting on the bench who was an unknown quantity at the time. Drew Bledsoe, for all of his talents and his faults, was the known quantity. Not a spectacular quantity, but the known, reliable quantity. Maybe some fans wanted to see what the backup was capable of, and maybe others wanted to ride the Bledsoe wagon into the sunset. Injury took care of the decision for them, however. Our franchise hasn't been so lucky to have a clean break from the known quantity.

Maybe Brady comes in and runs the team into the ground. Maybe he doesn't. But if that injury never occurs, and they keep putting Bledsoe in the game, I will bet money they never win those Super Bowls. They probably advance to the playoffs at some point in the future, but Bledsoe's fundamental flaws (lack of leadership skills, questionable decision making, low completion %) would always have held them back from being the elite franchise they became. Similarly, with McNabb and his Bledsoe-like fundamental flaws, we can keep starting the known quantity which may lead to some playoff appearances and some winning seasons, and some average teams, but unless you start the unknown quantity, you will never know if you could have had greatness or not.

Cliff said...

The "vocal minority" will always be louder than the majority. It's just easier to voice an opinion against something. You don't really need facts or reason to do that - "I don't like McNabb because he's not fiery enough." Well, how the hell am I supposed to respond to that? I can say, "Yes he is." But that obviously doesn't refute the argument.

T_S_O_P said...

Any reference to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is never bad, and that said I've always thought that AR and Baron Bomburst can not be too far from related in terms of look.

And on that that, having just taken my son to see it on stage for his 4th birthday while wearing his 5 jersey (also a birthday gift of his asking), he now asks me why number 36 isn't an Eagle any more.

Anyway, more Chitty whenever you can. RIP Lionel Jefferies

arby said...

I agree with what Jacob and Cliff just said about vocal minorities. Sometimes when I'm in the market to buy something, I'll go online to read buyer reviews. Even though something is highly rated, there are always people bad-mouthing the very same product. People who are disappointed are more motivated to express their opinion than someone who has a relatively good experience. At least that's my perspective on it.

Also, Philly fans are uniformly tough on players and teams as you say Tommy.

We can understand Brian's comments as a little residual bitterness. That's OK and understandable - he'll be fine when he signs with his next team and then we'll only hear good things about his time in Philly.

Cliff said...

Jeremy Williams, WR from Tulane, who Tommy had us taking in his most recent mock draft ran a 4.63 and 4.57 40-yard dash just now.

His lower body looks powerfully built, i.e. he has a big ass and thighs. He was also slow coming off the line during his 40 (to my eyes), but recovered to get a decent time, as opposed to some other WR's who are real quick out the gate and finish with poorer times (which I'm seeing a lot of).

Cliff said...

Still watching Combine coverage...

Toby Gerhart ran his 40, got a good time too, but the camera cut to Andy Reid who couldn't have looked more excited about Gerhart.

Hmmm...

Stephen said...

Mcnabb has been all downhill since that season ender in '06, I don't think he's been the same since then. I think he really peaked in '04/05/06, remember before the injury he was on an MVP pace in '06, it was really the defense that was letting us down that year.

I just dont see things getting any better with Mcnabb, he comes up small in too many situations, throws too many ugly balls for a decade plus vet in this league, and really is behind the curve when it comes to the "elite" quarterbacks this day in age. I don't even think he's a top 10 guy anymore. I'd trade him strait up for Eric Berry. Turn things over to Kolb, get that star safety, and get this thing moving.

Myron said...

Brandon Graham did 31 reps on the bench-press. That's one less than Brian Orakpo last year and Ndamakung Suh this year, and more than many offensive linemen. If he runs a sub 4.6 40, I'm going to soil my shorts.

I'm torn as to whether I want the Eagles to go after Kampmann / Peppers in free agency or to draft this guy @ #24, if he's even still there. I have a feeling that Graham is a lock to post double-digit sacks in his rookie season.