Donovan McNabb is hungry for a Super Bowl title.
At least that’s what he wrote on his blog at Yardbarker.com.
"I was inspired by the way the Phillies won the World Series and how they were treated by the City and their fans," McNabb said in his post-Draft commentary. "I want to experience that myself in the worst way,”
The Eagles were a win away from their second Super Bowl berth in McNabb’s 10 seasons in Philadelphia. It was their fifth NFC Championship game during his tenure and fourth that ended in a loss. Let’s not forget their late season run and postseason success in 2008 came after McNabb was “inspired” by the Phillies. So, it’s going to take more than just inspiration for “Five and Co.” to get over the hump.
It’s no surprise that it was reported that McNabb asked for more weapons following their bittersweet NFC Championship loss to the Arizona Cardinals. With McNabb on the sidelines as Kurt Warner sliced and diced their impressive but young defense with Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal and dashed his Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes, it’s easy to see why McNabb made the request.
The Eagles responded to McNabb’s request in the off-season by signing offensive tackle Stacy Andrews and former Seattle Seahawks fullback Leonard Weaver. They also traded for two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters.
In the Draft, the Eagles moved up two spots to grab who they thought was the best wide receiver, in Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri. In the second round, they replenished their backfield with Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy.
There’s a good chance McNabb is smiling now.
He might even be willing to discuss that extension he wanted to wait on until after he saw how the team addressed their needs. With more protection for McNabb, a supposedly 100% Brian Westbrook, a strong third option at wideout in Maclin and Westbrook’s heir apparent in McCoy, it’s hard to argue that the Eagles have not improved on an offense that was ranked ninth in 2008.
The Eagles not only upgraded their receivers with the addition of Maclin, they expect rookie sensation DeSean Jackson to duplicate his successful debut campaign, without hitting the late-season wall many rookies do, and are optimistic that veteran wideout Kevin Curtis can return to full speed after missing half of last season with a sports hernia that required a second surgical procedure in the off-season.
The Eagles weren’t completely successful in the off-season in bolstering their offense. They reached out to the Cardinals about their other offensive weapon, Anquan Boldin, but the price was too high.
Boldin’s big talent comes with an equally large ego, something that has altered Philadelphia’s team chemistry before; enough to wipe out an entire season.
Even with the improvements, the Eagles are likely to begin their 2009 season without a Top 20 wide receiver for the ninth time in McNabb’s 11 years. He’s done more with less but they have yet to win the “Big One” and only won the stepping stone to the “Big One” once in five tries.
McNabb is satisfied with the upgrades and for once, the fans are on the same page.
Head coach Andy Reid also thinks this group could be his best in his 11 years as the team’s coach. There are still concerns on offense; this team was one loss away from sitting out of the NFL Playoffs, two big pieces of their offense need to recover fully from off-season surgery plus two unproven rookies and two off-season acquisitions are expected to step in seamlessly to fill some pretty big shoes.
Then there’s always the unknown of injuries that every NFL team faces. There is also that benching of McNabb back in Baltimore last November that every reporter is ready to mention, if Donovan should get off to a slow start with his freshly loaded arsenal.
But now’s not the time to think about that. It’s the off-season, a time for optimism. Let’s wait for the first tweaked hamstring or pulled groin of training camp for that.