Mr. McNabb Comes to Washington!

Harold BellContributor IIIApril 5, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Sunday April 4, 2010 will longed be remembered in Washington, D. C. when new Redskins’ Coach Mike Shanahan called a trick play on the Philadelphia Eagles before the kick-off of the NFL season. 

Philadelphia Eagles’ Coach Andy Reid must have been on an Easter egg hunt when he gave up one of the league’s most talented and competitive quarterbacks. On Easter Sunday, the Eagles gave away Donovan McNabb, a 12 year NFL veteran, to the Washington Redskins.

The Eagles traded McNabb to the Redskins for a second round pick in this month’s draft.  The selection amounts to the 37th overall selection and a fourth round selection in the 2011 draft. 

If McNabb can stay healthy for the upcoming 2010 season, this will be the biggest heist since the automobile industry and the nation’s banks convinced the White House they needed a “Stimulus Plan.”

Mike Shanahan is laughing all the way to Redskins Park; his press release regarding the trade speaks volumes. He said: “Donavan is an accomplished quarterback who has been a proven winner in the National Football League. I have longed admired his competitiveness and feel he will be an outstanding addition to the Redskins and our community. He knows our division and the roadmap to success.”

Shanahan’s last sentence says it all: “He knows our division and the roadmap to success.” He understands he had just picked the pockets of the Eagles; he got two for one: an outstanding quarterback and coach all in-one.  

The NFC East is one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. The teams to beat year in and year out are the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Washington Redskins, not necessarily in that order. 

McNabb has studied the offensive and defensive schemes of every team in the division in his sleep. I know the Cowboys, Giants, and some Eagle fans are saying “what was Andy Reid thinking?”

Former Washington Redskin QB and Monday NFL Analyst Joe Theisman said it best,

“It really shocked me, to be perfectly honest with you, that Donovan would be traded in the division. And the way he was treated in Philadelphia from the day he got drafted people really didn’t want Donovan McNabb and nothing seemed to be good enough. You go to five NFC Championship Games, you go to a Super Bowl [in] large part because of his ability to play the position but yet nobody wanted to give him any kind of credit.”The 2009, Jim Zorn’s Redskins were just a bad call (coach and referee), a missed field goal, fumbled ball, and dropped pass from making last year’s play-offs.

“[McNabb] will find that Opening Day in Washington, when he steps on that football field in front of those 89-90,000 fans, it’ll be like nothing he’s ever felt. It’ll be a warmth that he hasn’t been able to find in Philadelphia.”

This is the year you get value for him. It’s the last year of a contract. It’s an uncapped year. There are teams that are looking. There are four young guys that’ll probably go [in the draft], three of them at least in the first round. There are a lot of football teams that could use QBs – Buffalo, Cleveland, Oakland, Washington was a question sort of on the ancillary part of it. It was a good time to get a good value for a guy. … You have to make a business decision and I think this was a good business decision by the Eagles.”  I disagree with Joe on it was a good business decision.  It would have been good if the Eagles had traded him as far away as Alaska.


The real loser here is Jayson Campbell. He had to be one of the most abused and sacked quarterbacks in the NFL last year. The offensive line that should have been protecting him was more like “Dead Beat Dads:” each one of them should have been sued for non-support. In 2009, Campbell was sacked 43 times; only two other quarterbacks in the league had been sacked more.

Campbell has been the “Whipping Boy” for the fans and a clueless news media for the past five years. They never looked beyond their noses and saw that he was playing behind an inept offensive line and a different head coach or offensive coordinator for the past five years. The last offensive coordinator they hired was found serving “Meals on Wheels.”

Campbell and McNabb have a lot in common, besides cannon-like throwing arms, quick feet, and hearts as big as the football fields they play on.

The fans of each city never liked them or appreciated their efforts on the playing field.  For example, when McNabb was chosen in 1999 as the second overall pick, the fans booed his selection and they have been booing ever since. I wonder why.

He has been in regular postseason play since he became the starting Eagles quarterback.  He led the Eagles to four straight division titles (2001-04), five conference championship games (2001-04 and 08), and one Super Bowl (XXXIX) appearance.

McNabb has thrown for over 3,200 passing yards and 200 touchdowns. These statistics make him the Eagles’ career leader in wins, pass attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns and they are still booing. Where is the beef?

My sources tell me that Andy Reid didn’t have much choice, it was either him or McNabb. The pressure came from within from die-hard Eagles fans.

When Donovan McNabb heard he was going to the Redskins it is rumored that there were tears in his eyes—tears of joy!  He was quoted saying “I am absolutely looking forward to this---absolutely.  I’m excited about it, no question.”  He probably went somewhere out of sight and got down on his knees and said “Free at last.”

The move to bring McNabb was a shrewd move by Shanahan.  The big question mark has always been the offensive line, now will the Redskins select an offensive lineman to help re-build a paper thin interior line? 

In addition to McNabb, All-Pro running backs Larry Johnson, Willie Parker and Redskins’ holdover Clinton Portis, give Shanahan the bargaining chips to trade for the linemen that they need.  There are definitely not enough footballs to go around for all of these egos.

Jayson Campbell has been a class-act during his stay here in the Nation’s Capitol, but I think it is time for him to move on and find his own niche; he deserves better.

 The city’s biggest sports’ fan is President Barack Obama. He has made a name for himself as a playground pick-up basketball player. His uncanny act of picking winners in the NCAA Basketball Tournament has raised a few eyebrows. 

There are many who are saying his second career could easily be a sportscaster. He was just seen on "60 Minutes" shooting hoops at the White House with CBS Basketball Analyst Clark Kellogg. He is scheduled to throw out the first ball on Opening Day for the Washington Nationals.

President Obama’s best pitch was his recent surprise visit to the troops in Kabul in Afghanistan. Our troops needed this visit to help pick up their spirits. In basketball circles, you would call this an assist.

If NFL Quarterbacks Jayson Campbell and Donovan McNabb think life is hard in the NFL, they should try being the President of the United States and calling the plays for America.  What they are doing is "Kid's Play."