Monday, April 5, 2010

More on the Move


Let's start for a minute with McNabb.  This move wasn't done to get rid of a guy who couldn't play anymore.  The Eagles made this move because they felt the time was right to play Kevin Kolb.  Donovan put up solid numbers in 2009.  He had some terrific moments.  He's still a good starting QB.  All the man does is win games.  His only losing season as a full-time starter is 2005, the year TO went TO on us.  Every other year he was .500 or better.  Yes, he had good players to work with.  Yes, he had a good OL.  Yes, he had a good defense.  You don't win like he did without being a big part of that.  Donovan didn't make big mistakes and he made enough plays to move the chains and score points.  When he was on, the team looked invincible.  We never saw that in the postseason, but few QBs are able to pull that off.

I would love to get to talk to McNabb for 20 or 30 minutes.  I hope he understands what he meant to the city of Philadelphia.  Some younger fans don't realize this, but we were St. Louis, Buffalo, or Oakland following the 1998 season.  We had some talent on hand, but were considered a highly dysfunctional organization that needed lots of help.  Ray Rhodes won 10, 10, 6, and 3 games in his tenure.  Even when we won in 1995 and '96 things felt shaky.  Do you realize that Ray signed Daniel Stubbs off the street?  He was out of the league in 1994.  Ronnie Dixon was driving a concrete truck when we called him.  Kevin Johnson was unpacking boxes at his parents liquor store when we called him.

Ray led us to a pair of good years, but the duct tape roster finally caught up to us.  You can only go with Barry Wilburn, Harry Boatswain, and Nate Singleton so long.  We tried to sign big time free agents in 1997 and '98.  Guys were using us.  We got Steve Everitt in '97.  In '98 both John Randle and Dana Stubblefield talked about visiting here, only to sign deals elsewhere before ever coming to Philly.  Our impact DT that year was Bill Johnson.  He was a nice player, but we needed a heck of a lot more than him.  You don't bring a knife to a gun fight, as the old joke goes.

All of this changed in 1999.  We hired Andy Reid and he drafted McNabb.  We became a respectable franchise again.  We suddenly were able to win games and actually get the free agents we wanted.  As Donovan won games and became a star the Eagles actually became media darlings.  Imagine that.  Donovan gave us a certain kind of credibility.  Think about all the success that Tampa had.  There was no face for the organization.  How many guys ever said "I can't wait to go to Tampa so I can play with John Lynch"?  McNabb would go to the Pro Bowl and other stars would gravitate to him.  That's how the whole TO relationship started, if you remember.

Donovan helped lead us out of the depths of despair and into the world of Chunky Soup ads and NFC title game losses.  All joking aside, he was a great player for us.  We've been spoiled with winning and good QB play during his 11 years here.  I hope he wins 4 games a year in DC (Dallas and the Giants).  I hope he does well personally, but of course I don't want him to ever get back to the playoffs.  That has nothing to do with him, but everything to do with his new uniform.  Thanks for the memories, #5.  Good luck.

Now to Kolb.  I like where his head is at.  You can read some of the quotes from his press conference here.

Kevin understands this is his team and his time.  He also understands that he's not Donovan McNabb.  He has no track record to lean on.  Donovan could train in Arizona if he wanted.  He could do things his own way to a certain extent.  Kevin will be in Philly, at the NovaCare complex.  He is focused on being the leader of the team and winning games.  He has a tremendous desire to prove himself, both to his teammates and to the outside world.  Kevin knows that 2 starts last year don't mean squat.  He'll be judged on 2010.

I think he has the right mentality.  I think he has enough talent around him to win.  Donovan was asked to put the franchise on his shoulders in 2000 and carry the team.  He did.  Donnie was throwing to Charles Johnson, Torrance Small, and Na Brown.  He was handing the ball to Darnell Autry.  McNabb finished 2nd in the MVP balloting that year because he played so well and we won games.  Kevin steps into a whole different situation.  He simply has to run the offense and be the leader.  Kevin won't try to be Superman.  He will just play QB and do his job.  That's fine for us.

I don't have the time right now to talk at length about how the offense might change.  I'll mention the two areas that stand out.  First, RAC yards.  We've always done well in this category, but most of that was due to screen passes.  Kevin will be an upgrade at hitting receivers on the move so that our guys can use their speed and elusiveness to make plays.  Slant passes could be more common now.  Second, Red Zone offense should be improved.  One of Donovan's main weaknesses is that he didn't anticipate plays.  He waited for a player to come open and then threw him the ball.  That wasn't effective in the Red Zone.  And it really showed the last few years.  Kolb should be better in this regard.  People love to point out his 2 Red Zone picks, but think about those for a moment.  Kevin was picked off by Ed Reed and Darren Sharper, a couple of the best ball hawks in the history of the NFL.  The Reed pick was a dumb pass by a QB in his first extended game action.  The Sharper pick came late in a game when we trailed 41-22 and Kevin was trying to make something happen.  That was also Kevin's first NFL start.  I think he'll do a good job in the Red Zone due to his accuracy and ability to anticipate routes.  He learned the hard way that DBs can also anticipate.  That's a lesson you can only really learn on the field.  Thankfully, neither mistake cost us a game.

My expectations for 2010 are to have a winning season and challenge for a playoff spot.  I don't see us winning 12 or 13 games and being great.  Kevin will have some hiccups.  No one expects him to be perfect or a major star right away.  At the same time, this notion that he's a scrub or some idiot rookie and we'll only win a couple of games seems ludicrous to me.  Big Red hand-picked Kevin to be McNabb's successor.  This isn't an accident.

Again, and I can't stress this enough, the organization is behind Kevin.  I'm not talking about Joe Banner and some PR interns.  Most of the Personnel Dept, coaching staff, and team is for the move.  Donovan only had a year left on his deal.  People knew he was gone this year or the next.  Kevin has won a ton of people over with how he's quietly prepared for this time.  He never went to the media and griped.  He never  tried to cause a rift in the locker room.  He just sat and waited, focusing on being ready when his name finally did get called.

I understand that not every fan, analyst, and media member will embrace Kevin.  That's okay.  There is nothing wrong with being a Doubting Thomas.  I think you should at least keep an open mind.  I think Kevin will surprise some people with how well he plays and how well he handles being the Eagles starting QB.  Give the man a chance.

We now have an opening for a QB.  I think we'll probably add a QB in the draft and stick with Mike Vick as the primary backup.  We could call Jeff Garcia or someone like that, but I doubt it.  I don't see us going for Marc Bulger or any recently released players.


OG Rob Sims finally was dealt.  He is now a Lion.  There were multiple rumors linking him to us and none of them made sense to me.  I'm glad he's gone.  We've got Todd Herremans at LG and Stacy Andrews at RG.  I think the team is fine with both.


Arno said...

What are your thoughts about the compensation for McNabb? You mentioned the 8th pick from Oakland.

Did they do McNabb a huge favour not sending him to Oakland or did he threatened to retire as suggested?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I heard a ton of rumors that involved the Raiders. Honestly, you don't know what to believe. Even Raiders employees weren't sure what was going on in regard to McNabb.

I'd hate to find out we did turn down pick 8, but you never know.

Pitmanite said...


I didn't meant to make it sound like we have a dreadful offense. Nor did I mean that our plays are not sophisticated. By predictable, I mean that we often skew significantly toward the pass. Especially, in the majority of games w/ big implications against good teams, Andy skews toward the pass even more (it's his panic button). When you make your team 1 dimensional it helps the defense. That is what Brookings was talking about and a player on the Bengals after our tie 2 seasons ago.

I'm really proud that we're setting records each year on offense, but I'd rather win big games. In a 16 game schedule you play a lot of average teams. I care about what we do against the good teams. You look at the Eagles record last year and it looks really nice at 11-5. Then look at their record against playoff teams, and it doesn't look so nice. We were 0-5 against playoff teams.

I think Andy is a good coach, but I think he's more of the reason we haven't gotten over the hump than Donnie. I think a lot of it has to do with his infatuation with throwing the ball, especially with a QB whose strength is not accuracy.

A while back, I put together an analysis showing the number of times we threw the ball 45 times or more in a game from 1999-2004 versus 2005-2009. The total was like 5 times for the first five years of Donnie's career, and it tripled to 15 times for these last 5 years. Our record when we throw it 45 times are more is atrocious. It was like 4-11. Most of those games were close games, so it wasn't like we were throwing to play catch up (our average margin of defeat was like 8 points). Andy is in love with throwing it, even when the record shows it's not in our best interest. If Donovan was the problem like a lot of people love to say, then we'll find out now that he's gone.

Cliff said...

It's ok to be a Doubting Thomas, but not a Negative Nancy. True colors are finally starting to show; guys who loved to piss on Donny are already doing the same to KK.

Soooo ready for Training Camp to be here.

One last thing... Na Brown... Hahahahahhahahahaha

Myron said...

Does anyone else see the Elway comparisons in this current situation? Shanahan loves mobile QBs with a big arm who can execute bootlegs and play-action and all that good stuff.

Donovan never had a good coach who could commit to the run and allow him to throw bombs off of play-action with regularity. Do any of you think he will succeed in a big way doing this in Washington if Shanahan installs a good running game?

What if McNabb wins a Super Bowl with Shanahan? I wouldn't consider it an impossibility.

eagles nut said...

Tommy, It's possible that the Raiders were offering something crazy because it's Al Davis but from a realistic point of view I don't see how the Eagles could have done better.

If McNair at age 32 only nets a 4th round pick and Favre at age 38 gets a conditional 4th that gets upgraded to a 3rd, then why should anyone expect the Eagles to get a 1st round pick for a 33 year old McNabb.

We essentially got what the Packers got for Favre plus a 2nd round pick. That's very good compensation.

Cliff said...

Great points, eagles nut.

People have been asking me all day about the McNabb trade and I keep trying to relate this to Favre, but I forgot about McNair's departure from the Titans. Good example.

eagles nut said...

Also some people have pointed out that the Patriots got a 1st for Bledsoe but there were other factors there.

First, Bledsoe was only 30 at the time of the trade. Second they did that trade on the second day of the draft for a 1st round pick in the next year's draft. In terms of trade value a pick in the next year's draft is considered worth a pick one round lower in the current draft.

Prem Prakash said...

My father in-law and his son live in Colorado and are huge Broncos fans, so I remember Elway's career well. The McNabb-Elway comparison has been on my mind for the past season. Donovan and Shanahan could end up pulling off a championship. I don't think the Skins have the team this year, but in a year or two they could be powerful. I wish Donnie all the best, but for him to get his ring he has to do the one thing I can't handle, beat the Eagles.

As an Eagles fan, this is the 2nd time during Reid's tenure that I don't agree with his decision on qb. I hate to admit it but I wanted Ricky Williams (though I did not boo the McNabb choice). I agree the problem has been with the offense playcalling way more than the qb. Reid may well feel that his career, or at least his reputation, are hanging with the decision to move on to Kolb. I hope this will put a gun to his back and force him to develope an offense that uses Kevin's skills well(and of course has a more balanced run:pass ratio). Regardless of my opinion, Kolb is the new qb and I'll be cheering for him. I hope Reid proves me wrong again. What else can you do?

Ben said...

I would have taken the better deal. This is where Reid's jobs conflict. As the coach, he did the right thing taking care of his player. As the personnel guy, he should get us the best deal possible.

The value we got was not bad, so now all we can do is talk about what this pick means in terms of draft preparation.

1) We could go big. We could trade up for a coveted player such as maybe Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Joe Haden, or someone else who may be on our radar.

2) We can get a lot, because this draft is deep. We could take Pouncey at 24, McCourty or a Nate Allen type safety where the skins pick, and then we'd have a lot of room to be open with our "real" 2nd round pick.

I'm kind of in favor for trading up for a player who we think can make a dynamic impact, not just a very good starter. For a few years I've felt that we need more difference makers on the field. We have the ammo now to make that happen.

Tommy- Seems like you may need to do a new 2 round mock draft, but what (in your opinion) should our approach be on draft day and what players would you target in the early 2nd?

bthackra said...

If you want to reminisce on McNabb, NFL Network replaying Eagles vs Pats Super Bowl right now. We were really close to winning it all. Makes you wonder if today would still have happened if he had brought a championship to Philly. My gut says probably.

Steven said...

I think the Redskins can be successful, but it sucks that they don't have a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick this year. I'm sorry Tommy but if the Eagles don't win the Superbowl this year I want the Redskins to. Only to shut up the McNabb bashers in this city.

Also who is the better FS prospect, Morgan Burnett or Nate Allen?

Baloophi said...

Is there any truth to the rumor that McNabb threatened to retire if a trade was worked out with a crappy team?

I've been trying to wrap my head around how Reid would turn down a better offer just to "do the right thing" for McNabb. It doesn't hold water for me - here's why. This is the same man who wouldn't shell out the dough to "do the right thing" for Dawkins. Would he suddenly change his philosophy for McNabb? Also, I thought re-structuring his contract last year was doing the right thing for McNabb. It seems to me like a cover story.

McNabb threatening to retire in order to sabotage a trade to a wasteland team makes the pieces fit for me. Whether it was a negotiation ploy or not, it would really force the Eagles to either trade him to where he wants to go or get no value for him. Had we put a trade together with Buffalo, St. Louis, or Oakland, McNabb would have the option of retiring, or "retiring" after a year and signing wherever he wanted under the Favre plan. As soon as Seattle and Sanny Franny dropped out the leverage switched over to McNabb.

Given all of that, I think choosing to get two picks even at the expense of shipping him to DC is far superior than having Kolb sit another year and then getting no value for McNabb at the end of it.

Netherman said...


Guess we will have to wait for the McNabb uncencored autobiography to find out.

One question I am curious of...why is it so bad to trade within the division? I realize that we made the Redskins potentially better, but we all know McNabb also has his warts, and who knows better how to defend him than a staff that has coached him for over a decade. Does that not offer any advantage?

Pitmanite said...

To touch on Tommy's point about some of he players Donnie had when he first came up, it leaves me dumbfounded as to how some people don't appreciate McNabb's career.

Look at all of the really good QBs people see today (i.e. P. Manning, D. Brees, Big Ben, B. Favre, P. Rivers, A. Rodgers, etc) and compare the weapons they had to begin their careers, and into their prime, to what Donnie had. I mean C. Johnson, T. Small, J. Thrash, N. Brown, T. Pinkston, F. Mitchell, and G. Lewis were his weapons. Every QB above had at least 1 stud WR and/or a stud TE to help them grow. Even the young guys you see like M. Ryan, J. Flacco and M. Sanchez have teams trying to surround them with weapons to compliment their talent. Andy spent so much of Donnie's first 5 years telling us that "he liked his WRs," even though they were atrocious. Could you imagine if Donnie stepped into the weapons that Kolb is about to step into?! I'm just bringing this up because people a lot of people say it was Donnie who couldn't get us over the hump but for the first 5 years of his career he had garbage, then in the middle there he had some injuries, and as he started to hit the backside of his career Andy turned into a passing mad man more and more after 2004, which didn't suit McNabb's talents

Anyway, I myself have complained about Donnie's flaws over the years, but I guess I'm just getting emotional as I realize he's really gone and feel the need to defend him. I'm putting myself on probation from posting for at least a few days because I've been on a tear the last day and a half...even for me. I'm really high on Kolb so for the time being I'm going to sit back and hope for the best as the draft unfolds.

arby said...

@Pitmanite - I agree - very good points.

@Cliff - Training camp?! Don't you want to enjoy the draft first?

@Tommy - I'm much more conscious of the craziness of the whirlwind of trade rumors having been deluded into thinking Vick was worth WAY more than he apparently is. But I would expect that you would be far more discerning about the validity of a rumor given your position as a writer on the team's website, your history of following the draft, etc. In retrospect, do you ever think you have been 'played' by various interests to disseminate a rumor via your site here? Or is it something you just accept as a given that everyone is always playing the media to manipulate perceptions? You really seemed convinced we were getting a high 1st rounder for McNabb.

Cliff said...

@ arby

Enjoy the draft? How? Doesn't matter who we select, the media and fans will crucify Reid and Roseman, and label ________ a bust before the 1st mini-camp.

There's a debate over whether or not Reid's offense is predictable and if his play calling is at fault.... FORGET that.... the fans and media are what's predictable. I'll go out on a limb here and say "Vick, QB controversy" is the #1 storylinr heading in to Camp. It never ends.

Dan said...

Hey Tommy, guess it's time for some new pics at the top of the blog, eh?

Also, check this sweet Gang Green shirt:

OtherWhiteMatt said...

While I wanted McNabb back, and I'm not really sure that Kolb will be any good, make no mistake I'm now his biggest fan. He's an Eagle and that's all that matters.

I really think the FO doesn't think they have much of a chance to compete this year, because they are so young and they need a year to gel and learn. So they are okay with McNabb in the division. And especially for the very good value they got for him.

Regardless, this season should be interested.

Stephen said...

I'm not pleased with our compensation. I had my heart set on a high first rounder and Eric Berry.

Seriously if Reid took a lesser deal just to help out Mcnabb... I appreciate the gesture but how fair is that to the other players on the roster?

Dan said...

If it's true that McNabb essentially refused trades to BUF or OAK, maybe those other deals weren't really available.

I think the compensation is okay, but the final analysis will depend on who we draft with that pick.

I also think the Eagles bungled this whole thing by playing coy and waiting to show their hand. I wonder if we could have started a bidding war if we put McNabb up for auction earlier in the offseason and got more teams involved.

Baloophi said...


That's my hunch - the Eagles slow-played this and once S.F. and SEA jumped ship, McNabb used the "retire" veto to force a trade to the best interested team... Redskins.

We'll never really know what was offered (if anything) but let's keep in mind that the 37th plus a 3rd or 4th next year isn't chump change... it's just not what we were really hoping for.

Kevin said...

I'm really not concerned about McNabb winning a ring in DC.

Shanahan calls out players and has NEVER coddled his QBs. How do you think Shanny is going to react when McNabb is on one of his cold streaks and can't hit the side of a barn. His run game doesn't work without being able to hit those simple 3 yard hitches that Donnie struggles with. Shanahan also had Gary Zimmerman and Tom Nalen in Denver with Alex Gibbs coaching. Washington will have gutted this year's draft assuming they get that elite LT so they won't be some powerhouse in 2-3 years either.

Honestly, we should think about how good/bad Kolb will be, not Donovan.

Joe said...

I think the value was fine...not great...but fine. In effect, McNabb sorta had a no-trade clause with this being a contract year. We needed to have McNabb's cooperation because no trade partner was going to do this w/out Donovan's blessing.
That being said, I don't buy the comparison's to Favre's trade since the drama of Favre v Rodgers was far more problematic than McNabb v Kolb. Also, McNair was a much lesser QB at 32 than McNabb is now.

Kevin said...

Also keep in mind, McNabb has only had two full seasons since 2001

2002= Broken Ankle
2003= Thumb to start the year, broken rip
2004= Concussion in Super Bowl
2005= Hernia
2006= Torn ACL
2007= Recovery from torn ACL + 2 missed games
2009= Broken Ribs

That's behind what has to be considered a solid Eagles o-line. Yes Washington will run more, but Donovan is going to get hit. Just ask Jason Campbell.

Stephen said...

I think the change of scenary is going to do Donovan good. I think he'll play well in Washington.

Jason said...

Hey Tommy,
Any idea what is involved in the conditional pick. I have read a few times it is based on playing time, but that's from the EMB, so I have no idea if it is true or not. Either way, any idea on what specifically would be required to get the 3rd?

Edward said...

McNabb looked absolutely gutted and depressed during his redskins press conference. You can tell he 100% did not want to leave. Felt kind of sorry for him :(

bp said...

hey Tommy, one of the more interesting points I thought you raised in your initial offseason state of the quarterback piece was the extent to which we might have called pass plays specifically designed to get Donovan into a rhythm. If trying to run a WCO with an inconsistent short-range passer meant we needed to throw the ball even more early on to build up his timing (theoretically at least), it should be interesting to see what our take on the WCO looks like in its more 'natural' form. If Kolb's accuracy can be taken comparatively as something of a given, not needing to be built up in-game, do you think this will have much of an affect on our first half play calling? I've got memories of Steve Young and Jerry Rice running the most basic little slants patterns up and down the field and the wonder (the simple threat of) those timing routes could prove for our running game.

Myron said...


I dunno, I thought McNabb looked kind of hopeful and refreshed in that press conference.

If I were McNabb, I would honestly be excisted to play for a coach like Mike Shanahan whose system perfectly fits McNabb's skillset.

And Washington is a much-needed change of scenery for him, also. They'll be throwing roses at his feet if he even gets them into the playoff discussion.

Netherman said...

One thing I expected and see already...the constant baiting by media to get McNabb to bash the Eagles organization. That will drive me crazy. You know the inevitable Dion interview is on the horizon. I had to turn off NFL network when they got to McNabb cam...Rich Eisen was positively disgusting in his transparent attempts to get McNabb to flame the Eagles...people can say what they want, but Reid and McNabb owe a lot to each other...I hope it stays civil.

So Cal EaglesFan said...


With the Eagles bringing in 3 big backs the last couple of weeks which one would you prefer of Gerhart, Dwyer, and Charles Scott?

Netherman said...

Was just glancing at the list of people in for visits and a little disturbed at the lack of LB's on the list. You got me really excited about Sean Lee. Do the Eagles typically bring guys in for visits if they plan to take them high, or do the visits usually solidify who they want mid to late rounds?