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Sunday, November 23, 2008

McNabb Benched

The end came sooner than expected, or at least sooner than most expected. Of course, it may not actually be the end, and it may not even be the end that’s needed.

Donovan McNabb was benched at halftime of today’s loss to Baltimore. He wasn’t hurt, he was unequivocally benched for Kevin Kolb. After throwing 2 interceptions and gaining just 59 yards through the air in the first half, along with plenty of poor play this season, McNabb certainly deserved the benching. Although I’m not sure Kolb deserved to start his career against the Ravens followed by a short week.

While the “Guv” (Ed Rendell) and the idiots of ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown chose to be sanctimonious, separately admonishing Philadelphia before and after the game to essentially “be careful what you wish for,” the fact is this has been a long time coming. Their pathetic arguments, a weak attempt especially by the ESPN guys to curry favor with McNabb and other stars in the league, go something like: it might be years before Philadelphia ever sees another Pro Bowl quarterback.

The only problem with that argument is that we don’t have a Pro Bowl quarterback now. Moving forward from McNabb, although Andy Reid strangely hasn’t even guaranteed Kolb will start Thursday night, will only hasten the prospect of eventually seeing another Pro Bowl quarterback in Philadelphia.

I’ve criticized McNabb plenty on my blog, but now that he’s obviously near the end in Philadelphia I’m not going to pile on. He did some great things here. Hell, he’s one of two QBs to take the Eagles to a Super Bowl. I think he can go to another team and possibly do quite well. I also think if his stay in Philadelphia hadn’t been poisoned by the moronic antics of radio personality Angelo Cataldi, who orchestrated getting the guy booed the moment he was drafted, he at least would have had an easier time relating to fans.

But the bottom line may be that he was just never suited for this offense. McNabb’s not a precision passer. He doesn’t seem like a guy that quickly reads a defense and picks out the best route to throw to. Granted, he had a phenomenal season the one year he had an All Pro wide receiver. But even then, he excelled when they were jumping out in front and blowing teams out. He just never seemed like the “field general” this offense needs.

Unfortunately, his coach has given him less and less help. Not only was McNabb never provided with receivers needed to run this type of offense, Andy Reid has simply lost his mind when it comes to the way he calls plays. It has been discussed endlessly, but you simply can’t throw the ball as much as Reid does. That’s why I’m not sure this is the change that was needed. (Forgive me for channeling the just passed election; it’s apparently seeped into my brain.)

The man brought in Kolb for his first significant action in the NFL, and continued to constantly throw the ball. In fact, the Eagles were only down 3 points when they brought Kolb in, so it’s fair to ask why Reid did it now. It’s especially questionable to do it when the next game is on Thursday, and you’re playing a defense like Baltimore. Then, the one time Kolb drove the team down the field, a pass play was called on the goal line leading to a pick-off for a 108-yard touchdown for the Ravens.

That said, I’m glad Reid showed he still has a pulse and was willing to bench McNabb. But I don’t think it should be enough to save Reid’s job. The fact that he didn’t even tell McNabb he was being benched is symptomatic of the fact that Reid has just lost something, and he needs to go too.

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