Monday, April 5, 2010

The Eagles Are Effing Crazy!

When the news came across the wire last night that the Eagles had traded their franchise quarterback, Donovan McNabb, to their division rivals, the Washington Redskins, I felt sure it was a late April Fools prank. Surely the Eagles organization couldn't have been so brazen as to jettison a guy who had been so critical to their success over the last decade, to a team right up the road from them.....could they?

Well it turns out they could and they did.

After having a night to think on it I believe its time for me to throw around all the reasons I think this moves shows that the Eagles are effing crazy.

1. This move strengthens a division foe: There is no way you can deny that having Donovan McNabb on the roster immediately improves the Redskins' offense. Considering that over the last few years some commentators, not me however, have said that the only thing holding the Skins back was the erratic play of their quarterback Jason Campbell, those same pundits would now have to consider that hole filled.

Not only that but with new head coach Mike Shanahan running the show, you know Donovan will have something he never really had in Philly, a game plan that emphasises running the ball and takes the pressure off of him, literally as well as figuratively. I know some folks question the Skins signing Larry Johnson and Willie Parker to go along with incumbent Clinton Portis, but I would remind those people that Shanahan has historically done more with guys who were a lot less talented. As for the folks who will point to the offensive line as a weakness, I would remind them that

A) The Redskins didn't even have to send the Eagles their first round pick for McNabb so they are still picking #4 in a few weeks and will probably select a big time left tackle with that selection. And

B) The zone blocking scheme that Shanahan prefers doesn't require a bunch of Pro Bowlers to be successful. I asked a question last night for anybody to name the other 4 offensive lineman other than March Schlereth who blocked for Terrell Davis in Denver when he ran for 2000 yards. Several people answered but collectively they only came up with one other name, Tony Jones. Trust me, there's a reason for that and I believe Shanahan will be able to duplicate some of the things he has done in the past in DC this year.

Don't forget the impact that McNabb tends to have on wide receivers too. This is a guy who went to the Superbowl throwing to Freddie Mitchell and Todd Pinkston. Imagine how he might be able to reenergize Santana Moss's career and the connection he might have with Devin Thomas. And that isn't even to speak of Chris Cooley who is already a damned good tight end in his own right. That talent combined with Shanahan's offensive scheme could be a deadly combination.

Oh and as a reminder, the Redskins defense is VERY talented so if they get an offense that can actually score points.....

2. Because the Eagles traded him inside the division, this decision will be scrutinized heavily at least twice a year for as long as he remains in Washington: See its one thing to feel like its time to move on as a franchise, its another to have that decision on full display during the season. If the Eagles had traded McNabb to the Raiders then even if he had a great year it would have been pretty easy to not even notice what with Oakland being all the way cross country and not even being in the same conference. But with trading him to the Skins, fans will get to decide if the Eagles brass were geniuses or dumbasses twice a year. And don't think for a second that McNabb isn't going to try to make a statement in those games. After years of never being fully embraced in Philly even with all of the accomplishments and accolades he garnered, this will be his time to show that team and those fans EXACTLY what they are missing.

Simply put, if the Eagles lose twice to the Skins next year and McNabb decisively outplays his likely replacement in Kevin Kolb both games, is there a way that somebody in the front office doesn't get fired?

I don't think so.

One last note, by trading McNabb in the division then he gets the added benefit of seeing the same defenses and defenders he has seen over the course of his career, along with the defenders and defenses he has played against every week in practice.

3. I said likely starter Kevin Kolb a minute ago because there is one other issue that this trade created that a lot of people aren't focusing on, a quarterback controversy: Now it was pretty apparent last year that Michael Vick was itching to play more. But out of respect for McNabb and the fact that he helped get him the job in Philly Vick kept mum for the most part. But now, with McNabb gone, I can't see a scenario where Vick is happy being a backup to Kolb. Better yet, I can't see a scenario where Vick is quiet about being unhappy being a backup to Kolb. Out of all of the quarterbacks the Eagles could have traded, they got rid of the one guy who might leave a void that creates a divided locker room.

Understand this, there are already guys in the Eagles locker room who feel like either Vick should be the starter or it should be an open competition. Andy Reid coming out and naming Kolb the starter without him having earned it probably will rub some of them the wrong way. So what do you think will happen if training camp starts and Vick out plays Kolb? Even if its only for a few days or for a few big plays. And remember, because starters get limited reps in the preseason it will be relatively easy for Vick to outshine Kolb numbers wise. Will the Eagles then hand the reigns over to Vick potentially pissing off they guy who they believe is their long term answer at quarterback? Or will they stick with Kolb come hell or high water and have the locker room imploding?

Whatever the outcome somebody won't be happy and with two guys who are starting caliber that is pretty much just asking for fireworks.

Now maybe the Eagles are in full rebuilding mode. You can certainly make the case that they are considering how many starters they have lost either by trading them away or releasing them since the season ended. But the timing seems to be off on this one. At the point where they finally get the offensive weapons that McNabb has always coveted is the time when they decide to just give up and start over? And in the process help a division rival get better?

Nothing about this trade makes any rational sense but of course with football you have to let it all play itself out on the field. Still I gotta say that on paper right now, considering how much worse the Eagles look versus how much better the Redskins look, I gotta say the Eagles are effing crazy for trading McNabb.

It is what it is.


  1. I think you're partially right in what you say (though I don't think Vick showed he was a capable starter last year at all, and Kolb did do that), but you're also not talking about the one important thing here: the value the Eagles could get out of McNabb.

    I think it's clear that the Eagles were going to go with Kolb as the QB of the future, and that means that they had to figure out what to do with McNabb. McNabb had only one year left on his contract, so the issue was basically choosing between dealing him now and getting some picks for him or trying to get one more year of play out of him while they let Kolb wait even longer and know they're going to let McNabb go. From a value perspective, if they do have faith in Kolb, then dealing him now is much better than keeping him.

    You know much more about the locker room issues in the NFL than I ever can, obviously, but I would think that if Kolb does play well, everyone will get behind him pretty quickly. And it's still far from certain that Vick will be there next year, too, as it's certainly possible the Eagles will try to trade him too.

  2. Steve, the one scenario I can see playing out is: Washington beats Phili twice, wins their division, makes it to the Superbowl, and loses to the Colts or Pats, as usual for Donovan. There has to be some heartburn in Phili about making it so far in the playoffs and never winning the Big Game. I agree with your reasons more than the opposition, but at least it isn't our problem...yet. Andy Reid truly put his friend Donovan's needs before the needs of the Eagles.

  3. I left out the Titans. Look out for the Tennessee Titans this year. My old Oiler team, may finally get rolling. I like Jeff Fisher, Young is maturing and these guys should be a serious force to reckon with. I know they lost Vande but they can replace him in the draft. Just a hunch in 2010'.