The business of football continues this off-season with the latest blockbuster trade of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins. It was bound to happen sooner or later, any player that hangs around long enough will either be cut or traded, but to send a QB to a divisional opponent, who has sported a 65% winning percentage over his career and plenty of football left in him seems puzzling. Much has been made of the talent of Kevin Kolb, with two great performances in two starts it’s now time for the heir apparent to assume control of the reins. The question remains, is Kolb ready, two fill in games does not a career make. There’s no denying his talent, but rarely do you see a young QB have a great year in their first year as a starter. You can watch from the sidelines and learn by watching but nothing beats experience. He will see a multitude of coverages and blitzes, and until you see them all enough to know how a defense will attack you, there will be a learning curve. How long will it take before the game slows down for him, something that comes only from seeing defenses enough to understand how they will play you. The big question is, was this a move made because of Donovan’s salary, the belief that he has taken the Eagles as far as he can or do they honestly believe that Kevin Kolb gives them the best chance to win going forward.
I believe that this ushers in a time of rebuilding for the Philadelphia Eagles. Although they are loaded with offensive talent, defensively they are not even close, letting Brian Dawkins leave last season and the passing of defensive guru Jim Johnson leaves many question marks when you look at the Eagle defense. They can’t rush the passer, their linebackers are average at best and at both safety positions they need playmakers. That being said, the Eagle organization will never come out and say they are in rebuilding mode, but looking at their youth and inexperience it will be a hard sell that they can compete this year for a Super Bowl, let alone a NFC East championship, considering the talent of the Giants, Cowboys and now the upgraded Redskins with Mike Shanahan and McNabb.
There’s much to be said of Andy Reid considering Donovan’s desire to play for a team of his choice, but I believe he will live to regret sending him to a divisional opponent that he’ll have to face twice a year. Donovan will be motivated and will invariably motivate his teammates to help him show the Eagle brass what a huge mistake they made. Donovan did a lot for the Eagles organization and won a lot of games for them. I believe the same things that plagued Randall Cunningham’s career in Philly was a huge reason for Donovan’s failure to bring a championship to the city of brotherly love. He never had a running game to alleviate the pressure of quarterbacking a balanced attack. Peyton Manning is the only QB I’ve seen to win a Super Bowl solely on his arm. All of the pressure was on his shoulders to carry the Eagles and putting the ball in the air 40 plus times a game will ultimately bring about your undoing. This was evident the last two games of the season against the Cowboys. They showed no regard for the run, and the Cowboys pinned their ears back on every down and came after McNabb, rendering the Eagle offense ineffective.
Donovan can look forward to having for the first time in his career a rushing attack and realizing his true potential. With Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, Mike Shanahan has always been known for implementing a dynamic running attack and that will bode well for McNabb. This will bring alive true play action passing, as well as sprint outs and roll outs to utilize McNabb’s ability to run and make plays out of the pocket. With a solid defense and the new additions, the Redskins could be a force to be reckoned with. The Eagles fans and media pushed for this change, and although sometimes change is necessary to get better, I don’t see this move for the Eagles being a good one in the long run. Sometimes you should be careful what you wish for, you may get it and sometimes the grass isn’t always greener.