I’m still shocked. As you know, Donovan McNabb has been traded to the Redskins for a 2nd round pick, and a 3rd or 4th, depending on performance. When I saw the news break, I thought it was some belated April Fool’s joke. Did not see this coming at all. St. Louis, maybe. Oakland, maybe. San Francisco, maybe. But not Washington. Before I get into how this affects the NFC East, here a couple thoughts on the trade:
I don’t like this trade for the Eagles. Give up a great quarterback, to a division rival. You don’t know what you get with Kevin Kolb. I also thinks this means that the Eagles really think highly of Mike Vick. He has to be ready to step in at a moment’s notice if Kolb falters.
For the Redskins, it makes them instantly better. McNabb and Shanahan go together very well. Obviously, there are still missing pieces, but they are a better team.
Onto the NFC East. I really believe this hurt the Eagles chances. They lost McNabb. Lost Westbrook. Their run game will suffer. I like LeSean McCoy, but he’s not a feature back, in my mind. Great complimentary back, not a feature back. This will all fall on Kolb. If he can deliver, and if he can be successful, the Eagles will be successful. Their defense is still good. They have great wideouts. Can Kolb get it to them? That’s the biggest question. I like Kolb. The Eagles obviously love him. I just don’t think he’s McNabb. I could easily see the Eagles finishing last in the division. I think they took a huge step backwards.
Of course, this helps the Redskins. McNabb is such an upgrade over Campbell. But, there are still issues. I don’t like the run game. Maybe in 2006, but not now. Their offensive line is very shaky (you can bet the house that they will draft an offensive lineman, probably Russell Okung, in the first round). Their defense is not bad, but they need help in the secondary. McNabb helps them, a lot. Playoffs? Close, but I don’t think they will make it. They’ll finish 7-9, 8-8, just miss the playoffs. It’s a big move.
The real impact of this trade will be towards the Giants and Cowboys. Because, theoretically, they will be fighting it out for the NFC East title. The loser probably is a wild card team. The Cowboys, at least right now, are the best team in the division. They were better than the Giants last year (even though we beat them twice). The Giants were too inconsistent, as we know. I think the Giants could finish first. I do. But, they will have to beat the Cowboys to do it. I think the Eagles are going to be out of it–unless Kevin Kolb hits the ground running, and unless their running game really improves. You have to think they will try and trade up for CJ Spiller, to improve the ground game. I still can’t fathom why they traded McNabb. I know they wanted a return for him before he left in free agency. But, they could win now! They are built to win now, and they traded away their most important part. The Eagles, in my mind, are a 5-11, 6-10 team. If Kolb is great, maybe 8-8. There are still a lot of holes. Trading McNabb didn’t help.
It’s really set for the Giants to make the playoffs. They’ll battle Dallas for the division, and the loser will probably be the wild card team. The Giants got better this offseason, and they still have the draft. They just have to be consistent on defense. Consistent pressure, consistent effort, consistent tackling. I think they can do it. They’ve been given a golden opportunity. Got to take advantage of it.