So this is what has become of Donovan McNabb? After more then a decade full of accomplishments in the NFL, he has been relegated to the role of a third-string quarterback behind Rex Grossman and some guy named John Beck. The second overall pick in the 1999 draft, McNabb has six Pro Bowl selections, five NFC Championship games, and one Super Bowl appearance—a resume that very few starters in the league can compete with. Yet the 34-year old McNabb will be sitting on the bench tomorrow against a Dallas team that he won his first game in a Redskins uniform against.
Despite being a good citizen and a class act throughout his time in the NFL, McNabb has an unusual knack for having controversy follow him around. Some of these controversies are self-inflicted and some of them have no business being around such a good guy. But, as any Eagles fan can tell you, drama is just a part of everyday life in Philadelphia and McNabb was a magnet for drawing that drama towards himself for one reason or another. Despite his departure, it seems that you can take the man out of Philadelphia, but you can’t take the drama out of the man.
Credit should be given where credit is due. For much of Andy Reid’s tenure in Philadelphia he has been constantly criticized despite leading the Eagles to the most victories in the NFC during the past decade. The fans and the media are constantly on the big guy for many things: Poor time management in games, questionable play-calling and his refusal to say much if anything during his press conferences.
Most importantly, though, fans have been on Reid’s case because despite his success he has never been able to land them the one thing that Eagles fans want the most, a Super Bowl win. Even through his playoff failures Reid stuck with McNabb, a player that Reid himself drafted and groomed into one of the league’s best. However, three consecutive losses to the Dallas Cowboys, the final of which caused the Eagles to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year, signaled the end to Reid of any Super Bowl aspirations with McNabb as his starting quarterback.
Thus, McNabb was shipped off to Washington for a pair of draft picks, one of which has become rookie starter, Nate Allen. People were upset at the time and thought that Reid had gone off his knocker. Surely there was no way that McNabb had fallen so far and there was no way this move wouldn’t come back to bite the Eagles in the butt.
Well, it seems that McNabb had fallen that far, and that the move hasn’t bit the Eagles in the butt. And while even Reid hadn’t envisioned the events that have taken place thus far in the 2010 season, there is no way he regrets letting McNabb go this past spring.
Not Entirely His Fault
While McNabb is no longer able to play the game like he did during the days of his prime, a veteran presence like his can still offer a winning chance to a team with some talent on their roster. The Redskins can question his cardiovascular endurance, his understanding of their system, or his work ethic, but there is no denying that he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with.
While in the past McNabb could compensate for his lack of weapons by using his legs, the mobility that he entered the league with is no longer present in the body of a 34-year old quarterback that has taken his fair share of hits and injuries in his pro-career. And while he still has a cannon for an arm, the accuracy issues that have plagued Donovan his entire career have been magnified by career-low numbers and little team success, the likes of which McNabb hasn’t seen since his rookie year.
Add to that a shabby offensive line, a horrendous defense, and special teams that can’t make key plays, and you have the perfect storm. To pin on McNabb what has been a poor team effort all-around doesn’t begin to justify the disaster that is the Washington Redskins. Ownership, management, coaches and Washington players all need to look in the mirror and see that they are as much to blame as McNabb for their subpar season.
The outlook for McNabb in Washington is uncertain at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Redskins keep McNabb in the future because they never seem to do anything logical. However if I were a betting man, I doubt that we will see a reunion between the two sides in the 2011 season.
Donovan McNabb has too much pride and too much of a reputation to continue to be treated the way he has been this year, and the Redskins most likely see that bringing an aging, injury-prone quarterback was a mistake in the first place for an organization that is trying to rebuild what they once were in the past.
You don’t carry around all the success that McNabb has had in the past and not have an opportunity to play in the NFL. Heck, if Jake Delhomme can be signed to a new contract after coming off the seasons that he did in North Carolina, then there is still plenty of hope for a guy like Donovan.
While I thought all along that eventually McNabb would end up in Minnesota because of his past relationship with his former offensive coordinator Brad Childress, Arizona now seems to be the front-runner for McNabb’s services, with Childress’ dismissal in Minnesota. Although the Cardinals have publicly denied interest in McNabb the past couple of seasons, I’d be very surprised if they don’t make a run at him this offseason (if he gets released from the Redskins).
Donovan lives in the state of Arizona, he would have a big weapon in Larry Fitzgerald that would amplify what he does best (which is getting the ball down the field), he would play in perhaps the worst division in football where a .500 record can possibly land you a playoff berth, and most importantly, he has to be better than Derek Anderson, right?
Still, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL and maybe this is the beginning of the end for Donovan McNabb. Maybe he will resurrect his career in the future or maybe he will be muddled in mediocrity for the rest of his playing days. With McNabb, you just never know what you will get, and that is something you can be certain of.