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‘Schism’ Brewing in Philly … Or Just in McNabb’s Head?

Donovan McNabb was commended for personally recommending the Eagles pursue Michael Vick and give him a chance in the NFL. There was talk that the two were friends from the days McNabb hosted Vick as a recruit at Syracuse and that the two have stayed in touch ever since. While McNabb did a pretty selfless act, it appears as if the move has either backfired or that he may be regretting things. Well, that is unless the Eagles change things around. During the first half of the Eagles’ preseason game on Thursday night, McNabb complained on the sidelines that he couldn’t get in a rhythm because the team kept shuffling its offensive personnel around:

I know what we were trying to do [with Vick] and we were able to get that done. And I thought it was time for us to kind of get our offense going. After the first play when I tried to go deep to DeSean [Jackson] and threw it out of bounds a little, we started to get positive plays. We got the drive going and I think that’s very important in a game, whether it’s in the regular season or the preseason, to get that rhythm going. If you’re going to show different looks make sure it’s the right time. That’s the what the preseason’s for to make sure you know when that time is, and we’ll get that time together. I thought it was important at that time to get out and run our offense.”

There’s a couple of ways to go when you think about this. You could say that this is the beginning of McNabb getting defensive. After all, Donovan got supremely pissed when he was benched last year and had his feelings hurt; he’s very protective about his starting job. You could also say that this was a learning experience for Philly and that they’re trying to figure out when and where to work Vick in. That’s what Donovan was suggesting with that comment and also what Andy Reid wants to convey. But let me tell you, there will be at least one point this season where people are calling for Vick to be the starter for the Eagles. And judging by Donovan’s past, that will be perfect to light a fire under his ass — he always plays his best when the world is against him.

Donovan McNabb Blames Defense for Playoff Loss to Cardinals

The enlightened and rational fan understands that the Eagles defense gave up 32 points to the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game, allowing 24 first-half points to leave them buried in a hole. The irrational fan screams that Donovan McNabb can’t win the big game and blames him for the team’s failure to make it to the Super Bowl. McNabb is so conscious of the irrational fan that he goes out of his way to defend himself for their sake, at the expense of his teammates. He did so in an interview with WIP in Philly, according to the Inquirer via Ben Maller:

“We were up, 25-24,” McNabb said. Then, in case people missed it the first time, he repeated it for good measure. “We were up, 25-24. [The Cardinals] drove down 72 yards by running the ball – probably, what, eight times? And it reminded me so much of [the NFC championship game in] St. Louis where, coming back in that second half, they ran the ball nine times with Marshall Faulk to keep our offense off the field. Because they were terrified of us going back out and scoring more points.”

375 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 25 points of offense usually is enough to get it done for a team, particularly one with a strong defense. No doubt the defense let the team down in that game. However, let’s not forget how critical the defense was to the team’s success the last month of the season, holding opponents to 12.5 points per game. Maybe Donovan should have recalled the wins over the Giants, Vikings, and Cowboys before implying the defense blew it. Let’s also not forget that despite the defense’s lack of performance in the game, the Eagles offense still had chance to tie things up with a successful final drive. Then again, swap Kevin Curtis for Boldin or Fitzgerald and you’re talking touchdown, but that’s another discussion for a different day.

Donovan McNabb Didn’t Know There Were Ties, Cost His Team?

One of the more embarrassing games in the NFL this year occurred on Sunday in Cincinnati where the Bengals and Eagles played to a 13-13 tie. Neither team was able to score in the overtime period, resulting in the game being called as a tie — the first in the NFL since 2002. Last month I thought the Raiders/Jets game was heading to a tie until Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 57-yarder with his donkey boot. Perhaps Sunday’s game between the Eagles and Bengals would have ended differently had a certain key player on a certain team actually been aware of the NFL regular season rules. Let’s let Donovan McNabb share his thoughts after the game:

“I’ve never been a part of a tie,” McNabb said. “I never even knew that was in the rule book. It’s part of the rules and we have to go with it. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But, unfortunately, with the rules, we settled with a tie.”

“In college, there are multiple overtimes, and in high school and Pop Warner. I never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way. I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and the playoffs.”

And in case you’re wondering whether or not McNabb was being facetious, you can catch a glimpse of the video to see how matter-of-fact he was when he made that statement. Have they not seen the end of the season when teams are fighting for playoff spots and they say “A win plus a ___ loss or tie would send them to the playoffs?” That’s how I knew ties occurred. Plus, a tie last occurred in 2002 when McNabb was in the league. Maybe someone from the Eagles coaching staff should have made them realize that there wasn’t going to be a second overtime. Perhaps they would have tried slightly harder to make something happen if they knew it was a “now or never” situation. That knowledge might have helped. Just guessing.

Donovan McNabb Responds on his Blog

I haven’t had the chance to dive into the Donovan McNabb situation just yet, so I’ll take the opportunity to do so briefly.  First of all, I think Donovan is a fantastic quarterback, one whose play on the field I highly enjoy and respect.  In short, I’m a huge fan of his.  Part of it is because I didn’t think he was much coming out of college, and now he’s proved me wrong.  Well Donovan responded to the criticism he’s received from saying black quarterbacks get criticized more on his blog:

First, the interview took place in August before the season started so for
those who think I “played the race card” because we are 0-2 are dead wrong.

Black quarterbacks have to deal with different things than white
quarterbacks. If you don’t think that’s true than you are naive.

I would love to live in a world where race is not an issue. But it is.

OK, now for my response.  I really wish race didn’t even have to be brought up as an issue, just as Donovan said.  Furthermore, just because I and many other people I know judge (and criticize) all quarterbacks and athletes equally doesn’t mean there isn’t a vast portion of our population who don’t.  The reality is that there are a great deal of people out there who still have racist mentalities.  So just because I don’t judge quarterbacks differently based on race, doesn’t mean there aren’t other people who do, therefore I’m not disappointed in what Donovan said.  I’m just disappointed it had to be said.

Tommie Harris Speaks the Truth About Grossman and McNabb

So Tommie Harris is at Donovan McNabb’s golf tournament and makes some comments that he’d love to have McNabb as the Bears quarterback, and that they’d win the Super Bowl with McNabb as QB. I’ll say this much, he’s absolutely right. We’re in the off-season for a team coming off a Super Bowl season where their quarterback was the glaring weakness of the squad. McNabb is a perennial Pro Bowler, one of the absolute best quarterbacks in the game. Harris speaks the truth.

If Grossman’s feelings are hurt, then too bad. He should spend more time working on his game and less time making New Years Eve plans. Grossman says the two are cool, but there’s no way he’s not bothered by the comments. He takes enough heat from the media, now he’s getting some indirect grief from a teammate. Let this serve as a wake up call for Grossman to get his act together, because what Harris says is accurate.

(Photo courtesy Jim Prisching, Tribune)

Did Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb Kiss and Make Up?

The Eagles franchise made a statement on Saturday when they selected Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb in the second round of the draft. Their message was clear — Donovan’s future with the club is uncertain. And to be sure, it’s not because of a lack of talent. Rather, it’s an issue of health and age. They have a responsibility to best protect the interests of the organization. At the same time, they have hurt McNabb’s feelings no doubt — insulting him by using their first selection on a player to back him up (and eventually replace him).

McNabb has been avoiding the media recently in order to concentrate on his rehab — makes sense. But there’s no doubt McNabb is not happy, and the Eagles have put themselves in a compromising position by offending their starting (and possibly no longer franchise) quarterback. Check this quote out from Reid:

On Saturday evening, Reid said he had tried to speak with McNabb and had left a message telling him not to worry, that the selection did not herald the beginning of the end for the 30-year-old player Reid selected with his first Eagles draft pick, second overall, in 1999.

Actually, that’s exactly what it means. McNabb probably has two years tops remaining with Philly unfortunately — that’s just my guess. The two also apparently met on Tuesday, but there’s no report regarding the topic of their conversation. I can answer that — Reid has a lot of ass-kissing to do if he wants his starting quarterback to be happy next year.