Donovan McNabb leaving the Eagles at age 34 was a shock to me. The old timer led his team to an NFL wild card berth and also was named to the Pro Bowl. McNabb was without a doubt the face of Philadelphia sports and even took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2005, their first since 1980. But if Brett Favre can leave the Packers, any player is expendable. Here's an early look at players on the Eagles' roster, rookies, and one long in the tooth free agent who could replace McNabb as Captain Philadelphia.
ESPN analyst Adam Schefter has this former Houston Cougar as Philly's starting QB for 2010. In 2009, Kolb showed little signs of living up to his potential as a second round pick hurling two interceptions. Work with new quarterbacks coach James Urban primed Kolb to eclipse 300 yards in his first two NFL starts. He threw three picks and lost to the Saints, but next game he destroyed the inferior Chiefs defense. Kevin has yet to show promise against a first rate NFL defense, but he threw for over 12,000 yards at Houston and hopefully he picked up some nuggets from McNabb. Time will tell if Kevin Kolb is Aaron Rodgers or Kyle Boller.
According to team reports, Kolb's role as Eagle's starting quarterback is set in stone...for now. Michael Vick showed rust from his prison stay in the preseason, but in the postseason he really came on, throwing a 76-yard missile to Jeremy Maclin. Vick hit a couple touchdowns of 30+ yards during the regular seasons and showed glimpses of his old quickness by rushing for a touchdown against his old team, the Falcons and breaking a 34-yard carry versus the Bears. If Kolb stumbles, the three-time Pro Bowler, who has definitely reformed his ways, could take hold of the starting job.
The Eagles own the No. 24 pick in the draft, and many mock drafts have Tim Tebow going in the late first round because of his inexperience running a pro offense. I was impressed with his new Peyton Manningesque delivery at Florida's and pro day, and think Tebow would be a great fit as a mobile quarterback in Philly's systems. If not the Eagles could trade Vick, and Tebow could take his place as Wildcat quarterback and be a huge help on third and short because Brian Westbrook has never been a pile mover. Tebow is a winner (two national championships at Florida), and he could definitely be a positive influence on and off the field for Philly.
If the Iggles don't want to play it safe and pick Tebow, they could swing for the fences and trade up to get JC. CBS Sports projects Clausen as a Top 15, so the Eagles would have to surrender one of their second rounders and a later pick or trade chip/ Wildcat QB/comeback kid Michael Vick to get his rights. Clausen is a prototype pocket passer who can make all the throws including the long ball. His bombs to Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson could bring back his fade throws to Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. If Clausen has a good supporting cast around him, which he would have in Philly, he could the best Notre Dame QB in the NFL since Joe Montana and Steve Beuerlein. I really think with his great arm and pocket sense, he could beat out Kolb after at least one season in Andy Reid's system.
Alright, Philly would have to be desperate to get this guy. However, if the Eagles keep Vick and don't pick up a QB with one of their extra picks in the draft, they'd need a third string passer. Garcia played a couple weeks for the Eagles when Vick was hurt, so the front office still likes the 40-year-old. During his last three seasons (2006, 2007, 2008) played with Tampa and Philadelphia, Garcia had a passer rating of at least 90 and led the Eagles to the playoffs in McNabb's absence. Garcia also isn't your average 40-year-old quarterback; he's only been in the league since 1999. Jeff won't start for the Eagles this year, but if they don't get a young QB, he'd be a great alternative to overpriced passers like Marc Bulger.