Monday, April 05, 2010

McNabb to the Skins

So many thoughts, I don't even know where to start.

First, the compensation was exactly right. Here's what I said it would take to get a McNabb deal done: I would gladly take two draft picks: a second-rounder to start along with a conditional pick...let's say it starts as a fourth and can move up to a second if he leads his new team to the playoffs. What did the Eagles get? A second- and a fourth-rounder that could become a third. So, pretty much dead on.

Second, trading McNabb to the Redskins speaks volumes about what the Eagles front office actually thinks about #5. You don't trade a Pro Bowl player to a division rival, unless you're absolutely sure he's in decline and you can beat him twice a year. Hypothetically, if McNabb and the Skins go 5-1 against the Eagles over the next three seasons, you can be sure that either Reid or Roseman will pay the price with his job. So in spite of all the accolades that they've heaped upon McNabb, they are not scared of playing against him at all.

Third, I've said numerous times before that McNabb's weaknesses were magnified by both Reid's system and his playcalling. He's not the kind of QB that excels at dropping back, scanning the defense, and making a quick, decisive, accurate throw. His strengths - mobility, cannon arm, a decent deep ball - will be accentuated by the system that Mike Shanahan is running in Washington. John Elway, Jake Plummer, and Jay Cutler all were much better QBs (both W-L and statistically) under Shanahan than without him. They were all strong-armed, mobile QBs like McNabb. And other than Elway, they couldn't read a defense or make accurate throws. Shanahan will pound the rock, and call that half-roll play-action off the run, and allow the QB to make one read over just half the field. It doesn't require exceptional accuracy or timing, both of which McNabb lack. He could have three more Pro Bowl seasons in Washington, and that will expose Reid for the stubborn and predictable offensive mind that he is.

Fourth, if Kolb is ready - and that's a big if - the Eagles are set for another decade of playoff participation. There's hardly an old guy remaining on the team, and the Eagles hold more 2010 draft picks in the first four rounds than any other team in the NFL. The Eagles can continue to restock a defense with young players in one of the deepest drafts in years.

The Eagles could have avoided all this by not drafting Kolb three years ago. Seemingly on the precipice of a championship, they traded out of the first round and passed on a number of players who could have helped the team right away. Instead, Andy's man-crush got the better of him, and they decided to draft for the post-McNabb future. Once Kolb played a little and looked decent, they were stuck...they couldn't sign both to long-term contracts, so they had to pick. In Reid's offense, I like Kolb better, so this is the right choice. But trading McNabb to Shanahan and the Redskins is a dangerous gamble. The Eagles are either going to cement their reputations as shrewd talent evaluators, or Big Red will be run out of town. It's a win-win for me, and I can't wait to see how it plays out.


At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When this was initially announced I thought the Eagles were nuts. As I've had time to take a broader look at the landscape it's clear that "the sooner the better" proposition clearly applies.

Will the McNabbed 'skins sting the Birds once or twice over the next few years? Sure they will. But the Eagles are in a much better long term position with Kolb at the helm. Battle seasoning is all Kolb needs right now, and that will come with time. Many an NFL QB would give their eye teeth to be throwing at the weapons Kolb has, so let Big Red shore up the right side of the offensive line and the rest should be history.

I was particularly surprised by a note in today's paper about how excited the Eagles locker room was with the prospect of Kolb at the helm after last year's win over KC, and that McNabb's return from injury sucked all the enthusiasm out of the team.

Perhaps there was less continuity in McNabb's locker room than many nostalgic McNabb apologists conceived? Oh well, that'll be the subject of a future math quiz....


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