It's hard to visualize, but McNabb is a Washington Redskin.
McNabb has led the Eagles to countless victories. He's led the fans to emotional highs and lows that rival that of any football player or team in NFL history. I never wanted to see this era of Eagles' football end, especially without a Super Bowl championship to show for it, but the time is undeniably upon us now for better or worse.
I'm going to miss McNabb for all of his greatness and all of his shortcomings. He has been a great Eagle, a legend and a franchise record holder in virtually every passing category.
He took this team from the deepest abyss to the precipice of true greatness.
He turned around seasons that appeared lost and charged into the playoffs. McNabb played like a warrior with herniations, broken bones, and in the face of ridiculous scrutiny.
I am looking forward to his return to Philadelphia already, even as a Redskin. He will undoubtedly receive a standing ovation and this city's love for him will be clearer now that the circus-type controversy has been put behind us.
I'm also certain that Philadelphia's reaction will be misconstrued by the media.
So where do we go from here?
McNabb will surely raise the level of the Redskins' formerly inept offense, but how far he can take them will remain an unanswered question until 2010 concludes.
As for the trade's value on the whole, it's pretty good for the Eagles as well. They acquire nearly a first-round pick in 2010, and an additional 2011 third or fourth-round pick.
I also don't think too much of the fact (however taboo it may be) that McNabb was dealt to the Redskins. Sure, he knows the Eagles system, but it will be a bit different with Kolb under center anyway. The Eagles know McNabb as well (now a rival Redskin), so the advantage is a wash as I see it.
To me, the big deal is this new era.
It's a bit nerve-rattling in that the entirety of the Eagles' iconic 2004 championship team (that we had all grown accustomed to) has been shipped-off. That former team gave us nothing less than exciting football of which we, the fans, should all be proud.
It's sad that all of the old-guard legacy players are gone. Not just McNabb, but Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook, and the entire clan is now Eagles' history.
But today, I am excited to see these young Eagles take flight.
There will be a significant influx of starters from this defensive rookie class. The 2010 defensive lineup will look much different with five strong picks in the first three rounds (mostly defensive I would assume).
We're talking about a defensive draft that will now feature either Kyle Wilson, Karim Jackson, or Devin McCourty at cornerback. Earl Thomas or Nate Allen will be at safety, and there is a list of prospective defensive linemen and linebackers that is nothing short of tremendous.
The Eagles will be loaded with youth on both sides of the ball.
The offense is going to be explosive again, too, only younger and built for the long-haul. We may find it to be more consistent as well. It's not something that I like to admit, but Kolb has a touch that allows receivers an opportunity to adjust and make plays on the ball.
It's not that McNabb wasn't an excellent player, he's just different.
Kolb will need to show that he can handle and improve his quick decision making, but he is going to have a hard time fouling-it-up with all of the offensive weaponry at his disposal.
As excited as I am to see this new team going forward, I can't help but be saddened by my nostalgic recollections of the great times and games we shared with McNabb and Co.
I can't help but regret not having been able to share the joy of that elusive Super Bowl victory and a Broad Street parade with McNabb, Westbrook, Dawkins and the rest of that worthy and capable team.
It's something that will take some time for me to get over.
There's no doubt that we will miss McNabb. We'll miss his ability to stretch the play and pull off the impossible with exciting and breath-taking style.
So cheers to McNabb, and thank you for what you have done for this team.
And congratulations to Kevin Kolb, who has been rewarded for patiently waiting for this opportunity. He now steps into this role to command a complete and high powered offense that is built for staying power.
It's time for Eagles' fans to get excited about Kolb and the future. It's a future that will hopefully come quickly and manifest itself into a 2010 championship (long-shot as it may be).
If it does not provide such instant gratification (which is to be expected), we still have an Eagles team full of promise for many years to come.
This is a team that is built to carry the torch of perennial contention and hopefully bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia for the first time. This team will challenge the league for the better part of this decade.
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