Redskins fans have watched Donovan McNabb go from McFabulous to McNasty in about two seconds many times over the course of the season thus far.
In personal conversations with Eagles fans, they have pretty much told me that there isn't anything that has changed except the jersey.
I was approached with the idea of writing an article about why Donovan McNabb should hang up his cleats at the end of the season and thought it would be an awesome project to sink my teeth into.
There was once a time in Donovan McNabb's storied career that he could scramble from a blitz for over 14 seconds then launch a bomb halfway down the field to a receiver on the run.
The Eagles offensive line was shaky from time to time but during his entire career, setting aside his rookie season where he only started six games, there has only been one season (2006) that McNabb's completion percentage has been lower. He only started 10 games that season.
Donovan McNabb was wearing wings on the side of his helmet from 1999 and during his entire career he played for one head coach, Andy Reid.
McNabb has only known one system his entire career.
There has been obvious timing and learning curve issues all season with the Redskins in his first year out of Philadelphia. Numerous passes this season have been just at the fingertips of Washington receivers all season.
There are not many quarterbacks in NFL history that can say they have thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in every season that they have played.
Donovan McNabb can say that.
Until this season. As of now, he has thrown seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Donovan McNabb and the shaky Redskins offensive line have combined to put him on pace for the highest sack yardage total of his career.
He is also on pace to have one of the top three seasons for total sacks in his career.
All of the sacks and damages done to his aging body will take a toll on him quicker than usual.
A future Hall of Fame passer, Donovan McNabb has been doing something right for his career that works well for him.
His passing motion is very tight and he relies a lot on his upper body strength to make passes happen.
Since coming to Washington, the brighter idea of the Shanahan and Shanahan show has decided that now is the time to try and change his throwing motion and make him stretch his front leg out further during his release.
Times can change.
People can change.
Teams can change.
But muscle memory of a decade's worth of Pro Bowl playing is going to be hard to break.
The older Donovan McNabb gets, the more he likes to try and become Brett Favre and force it in there.
He is becoming a "gunslinger" style quarterback. When this type of quarterback emerges it becomes a feast or famine result.
A lot of what McNabb has done this season is exactly that.
He can seem so brilliant like a sparkling diamond during a beautifully polished drive when he extends plays with his feet and gets the ball down field with his arm.
Two plays later he throws into triple coverage and gets intercepted.
The other problem McNabb is facing is his ability to lead receivers. In the loss to the Lions just before the bye week, Anthony Armstrong had the coverage beat but McNabb under threw him and he had to stop, literally stop, to make the catch. Instead of a pitch-and-catch touchdown, it was a big gain which eventually led to a touchdown.
The quality of NFL receivers is all about hitting your man in stride. The fingertips of Redskins receivers are certainly getting sore this year.
This slide really does not need much elaboration.
At 33, McNabb's best years are behind him.
At this point in most quarterback's careers they begin to slip and see a drop in production.
It doesn't matter if they are an elite quarterback, average quarterback or just hoping to get a start quarterback the production begins to slip once you enter your mid-30s.
Redskins fans can surely remember the abilities of Mark Brunell slipping down the drain—or Brad Johnson.
There have been plenty of times that a quarterback can convince a team that they have something left in the tank, only to prove that they are better at making promises and convincing the people who sign contracts than they are at actually playing.
Donovan McNabb is in his 12th season.
There are only four seasons that he has started all 16 games.
So, Redskins fans have a 33 percent chance of having their starting quarterback playing out the entire season.
Those odds are never good. But as you get older those odds, statistically, decrease.
Let us take a look at the NFL's current starting quarterbacks:
49ers: Alex Smith
Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck
Cardinals: Derek Anderson
Rams: Sam Bradford
Redskins: Donovan McNabb
Giants: Eli Manning
Eagles: Michael Vick
Cowboys: Jon Kitna (Until Tony Romo returns from injury)
Bears: Jay Cutler
Packers: Aaron Rodgers
Vikings: Brett Favre
Lions: Matthew Stafford
Bucs: Josh Freeman
Panthers: Matt Moore
Falcons: Matt Ryan
Saints: Drew Brees
Chargers: Philip Rivers
Raiders: Bruce Gradkowski
Chiefs: Matt Cassel
Broncos: Kyle Orton
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger
Ravens: Joe Flacco
Bengals: Carson Palmer
Browns: Colt McCoy
Patriots: Tom Brady
Miami: Chad Henne
Jets: Mark Sanchez
Bills: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Indianapolis: Peyton Manning
Texans: Matt Schaub
Titans: Vince Young
Jaguars: David Garrard
What does all this mean for Donovan McNabb?
If he does not stay with the Redskins, then there are four teams who could be looking for his services next season. The Bills, Cardinals, Jaguars and Vikings.
What else does that mean? It means he'll be learning another system next year and going through the same transitional struggles he is already experiencing in Washington.
The four teams who could be vying for Donovan McNabb's services in 2011 have some of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
McNabb has already gotten hot feet during his time in Washington because of inconsistent line play.
The Bills line has not been able to protect well enough to allow them to win a game yet this season.
The Jaguars offensive line has only allowed Maurice Jones-Drew to rush for one touchdown this season. Yeah, MJD only has one rushing touchdown. That's bad.
The Vikings have the best offensive line of the four on this list but they are getting older just like McNabb. But the good news? They already have experience protecting a less than mobile quarterback that is used to playing through frustrating nagging injuries. So not much change at all.
McNabb is a competitor. He will probably play a few more seasons and continue to try and play at a high level even though his body is telling him not to. A player of his caliber takes quite a bit of convincing to retire and I do not see it happening in the next year or two.
The NFL will probably continue to see DM5 scrambling and attempting off balance passes for years to come. I would be willing to say that a personality like McNabb's would be a great addition to a team as a mentor, quarterbacks coach or adviser.