Wade Phillips is a nice dude. Last year, however, offenses had figured out what he was doing on defense. It wasn’t that complicated, as he lined up Demarcus Ware at the same position every play. I remember after the 45-7 Green Bay blowout, how my Cowboys fan friend hoped that Phillips would get fired, but was skeptical. I let him know that Jerry Jones was too prideful to let this go on – they had also just given up 41 and 35 to non-playoff teams, the Giants and Jaguars – and that the fan base was too loud not to show them the front ofice were making an attempt to stop the suffering. Most of all, I figured Jerry Jones just wanted to keep a nice dude like Wade Phillips from enduring any more embarrassment.
Donovan McNabb is a nice dude when he’s not being a diva. He will likely be a Hall of Famer and will be known for making the Eagles one of the two best teams in the NFC five different times and playing well enough to win in his only Super Bowl appearance.
McNabb’s legacy has been tarnished. But, continuing to put him out there on an offense he can’t guide is making his reputation worse. The only thing that will change people’s minds about the end of McNabb’s career will be if he goes somewhere that isn’t going to ask him to do much. Defenses have figured him out and he hasn’t put in the work to adapt his game as he’s gotten older. Matt Cassel and Donovan McNabb are tied for 25th with 10 completions of 20 yards or more. All of the quarterbacks beneath them have either started fewer career games – Freeman, Bradford, Tarvaris Jackson -, fewer games this season – Collins -, or both, like Blaine Gabbert.
After Kolb’s injury, McNabb ultimately was replaced as the Eagles’ starting quarterback by a 30 year-old that no other team was willing to start in Michael Vick. Vick has gone 9-6 in the regular season and 0-1 in the playoffs since. He was traded within the division to work under a known quarterback guru where he was then replaced as the Redskins’ starting quarterback by a 30 year-old that no other team was willing to start in Rex Grossman. Grossman has gone 4-3 since.
McNabb hasn’t won a game, in regulation, in his last ten starts. 1-9, his only win an overtime game vs. the Titans. That’s a bad slump.
The running game has been working, but – when defenses adjust – it can’t get going in the second halves because McNabb can’t hit receivers in stride, and sometimes can’t even hit them.
After four weeks of him failing to spark the offense, it’s obvious McNabb looks like the same player that Shanahan traded for not doing the little things, for not wearing the wristband, for not being conditioned for the 2-minute drill. He played pretty good last week, but still not good enough to carry this team.
If they get behind by two scores against Big Red and a McNabb bad throw has ended their drive on Sunday, they must start being realistic about this year.
The 0-4 1992 Chargers who made the playoffs didn’t have two 4-0 teams in their division (particularly one as scary as the Packers and one that already beat them in the Lions). With five teams in that division, the division stabilized more with the extra conference games. The 2011 Falcons, Bucs, Giants, Cowboys who do have a tough schedule, and Bears all have – at minimum – two game leads on the Vikings for the Wild Card.
Leslie Frazier keeps starting McNabb, I guess, out of fear that they might hurt McNabb’s feelings if they benched him and that having a positively-engaged McNabb will be important to getting A WIN this year. Perhaps he thinks that if he benches McNabb and Ponder fails for four weeks, that McNabb would be disinterested and too scorned to be able to start again and take a shot at preventing 0-16.
It’s time for Christian Ponder.He’s young, he’s earned two degrees, he’s shown chemistry with the young weapons, and there’s nothing to lose. You need to show the fans you are trying everything to win, and you gotta see if he’s better in his first year than McNabb is in his 13th (with 5329 fewer attempts). I think winning against the Packers with the franchise quarterback, especially if that’s the Pack’s only regular season loss, would be something to build on for next season.
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