2010 NFL Free Agency Report: Are These Eagles Endangered?
With the news of the Donovan McNabb trade being covered more than DeSean Jackson trying to get free from Darelle Revis, I figured I should toss my two cents in as well.
In a previous article, I discussed free agency moves made in the NFC East and how it would help shape each team going into next season.
In that article, I discussed who would be the beast of the NFC East this upcoming season based off of those moves. I wasn't planning on doing anything else until after the draft, but since the Eagles felt it necessary to trade their best quarterback to a division rival, I felt obligated to revise my opinion of the NFC East.
To begin, let me just put it out in the open—the Redskins are A LOT better with McNabb under center.
On the other side of that coin, the Eagles are A LOT worse now that their only proven quarterback is gone.
The reasoning behind this is quite simple. For years, Jason Campbell has struggled in Washington.
Everyone is quick to defend him, saying that he had to learn 42 different offenses in only three seasons. (That number is exaggerated, by the way). In my opinion, if a player is truly great and a leader, they will make something happen regardless of the situation, so enough with those excuses.
Bringing McNabb in (or any veteran QB for that matter) was the correct move by the Redskins. He brings consistency, he brings excitement, and more importantly, he brings a winning attitude to Washington.
McNabb has always been one of those quarterbacks that makes things happen. If he can't go to the air, he will use his legs to beat you.
Of course, Campbell is a scrambler as well, but the distinction between the two is experience and decisiveness. McNabb trumps Campbell in this area, as he has been in the league longer, and due to his football knowledge and quick decision-making ability, he is able to make the proper call faster when deciding to leave the pocket.
So what are the Eagles left with?
Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick. A few years ago you would think that the Eagles would be fine with a name like Vick's on the roster, but after his K-9 killing spree and playing football with inferior players behind bars, Vick is not the player he once was.
Instead, this will fall solely on the shoulders of Kolb. How much experience does he have?
He's appeared in 12 NFL games and started in only two of them.
That's not much experience by any stretch of the imagination.
So in short, the Eagles have an inexperienced QB to take the reins or a rusty superstar trying to get the mud out of his cleats.
Lets take a quick look at these three players' stats from last season:
McNabb: 3,553 passing yards, 22 TD, 10 INT, 92.9 QB rating
Kolb: 741 passing yards, 4 TD, 3 INT, 88.9 QB rating
Campbell: 3,618 passing yards, 20 TD, 15 INT, 86.4 QB rating
While the numbers between McNabb and Campbell may seem close enough, it really is no contest, in my opinion. The starting job will go to McNabb, due to his leadership qualities and his winning tradition.
Also, keep in mind that McNabb is not in his prime and he still is putting up numbers that outweigh Campbell's.
The only downfall to using McNabb over Campbell is that there is a lot more wear and tear on his body. There is nothing that can replace youthful endurance.
Back to the Eagles' QB situation. Along that same line, the Eagles will get a fresh body under center that hasn't put a lot of mileage on yet. (Kolb is only 25, while McNabb is 33.)
I am not trying to bash Kolb (or Vick) by saying that they are incapable of leading this team to success, but the road is a lot bumpier with many more learning curves. In fact, this road to success may not even be paved.
Kolb must have potential to be great, otherwise the Eagles wouldn't rest their organization on his shoulders, would they?
The only problem with potential is that it is always thought of in the future tense and never in the present. If Kolb has potential to be great, it will take time to come to fruition.
Unfortuantely, the Eagles happen to play in a rowdy division that has contenders ready to win a Super Bowl in the present—not wishfully thinking their inexperienced QB will hoist the Lombardi Trophy come February.
The fact that this inexperienced person is the QB doesn't help matters either. If Kolb struggles, it won't matter how many positions DeSean Jackson gets elected to in the Pro Bowl. Receivers are dependant on their quarterback (excluding kick returns).
If Kolb struggles, the receivers will struggle, and in turn more pressure will be brought down in the box to pressure the running game. You see how this has a domino effect, right?
With this taken into consideration, I see the NFC East going to either the New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys. Due to this trade, the Redskins will leapfrog the Eagles for third.
Primary reason being that the Redskins improved their QB situation drastically, they added depth behind the injury-prone running back Clinton Portis (Larry Johnson and Willie Parker), and they still have the fourth overall pick in the draft.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have a shaky QB situation at best, an uncertainty as to how that will effect the rest of the offense, and a real lack of veteran leadership.
Gone are the days of Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb, and perhaps hopes of a Super Bowl bid anytime soon.
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