I'll be honest. I'm an emotional guy who flies off the handle, screaming at the television set every Sunday to players and coaches alike. I do it for teams I could care less about.
And I have done it for my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Done it. But not recently. Not within the last four years or so. So use to their failure at the most crucial moments in a game or season, I have grown numb and indifferent to the franchise's bi-monthly letdowns.
Whether it's blowing a 24-7 second half lead to the New York Giants a few years ago or the 14-0 advantage that they had early on yesterday to another divisional rival in Washington, the theme is the same. They underachieve.
Now sure, any Detroit Lions fan out there reading this is rolling their eyes, silently cursing me, and thinking I am ungrateful for the last 10 years that the Eagles have given me. And I understand that. But right now, I don't care.
Donovan McNabb and his Eagles are just 2-3 this year. Last year, he guided them to only an 8-8 record. He was 5-5 the year before that in a season that ended prematurely for him. And he was 4-6 in 2005 in a similarly injury-plagued year. That's a 19-22 record over the last three plus seasons for the oft-criticized quarterback.
Sure, the man was one of the driving forces in helping the Eagles roll off four straight NFC Championship games and culminating in a Super Bowl appearance in 2004. But they also did so when the NFC was at its weakest, perhaps ever since the AFL-NFL merger.
They did so when the Cowboys man under center was Chad Hutchinson. Or Quincy Carter. Or, well, you get the point. They did so when Steve Spurrier was running and gunning and punting for the Washington Redskins. They did so when the Giants were drafting high enough to swap Philip Rivers and picks for the number one overall selection Eli Manning.
But since the conference has restored their power and image, McNabb and his Eagles have been mediocre. Not slightly above average. Mediocre. Since the 2004 season when they went to the Super Bowl, the Pheagles have managed a sub .500 record and just one playoff appearance. One by the way that took place only because of a late season surge powered by Jeff Garcia and a revived defense led by Brian Dawkins.
So what am I saying? I am saying...what now? Where do they go from here? Most of the Eagles woes, aside from some injuries, have been due to highly questionable play-calling from the staff, poor offensive (no pun intended) red zone play which is a by-product of that terrible playcalling, below average wide receivers, and a defense that performs one week like they are the best unit in the league and another like they are the worst.
But McNabb and Andy Reid are the main problem. Reid grew an ego through the success he had early in his career there and thought he could run things his way with his guys when the fact is the NFC was a joke early in this decade.
Let's face it. Na Brown, Charles Johnson, and Freddie Mitchell are no longer in the league, let alone helping his offense move the chains. And Mr. Reid has been so stubborn over the years, insisting his wideouts are a strong core, that it's hindered the team's progress and overall development. In fact, it's prevented a possible dynasty. And it's gotten to the point now where they're at a point of no return with him.
Reid continues to sit up at his post-game press conferences muttering the same all too obvious, "I need to do a better job," to the media while Joe Banner and Jeffrey Lurie turn a blind eye to it all, and continue to watch his ho-hum personality turn a once flourishing franchise into a stale one. So what do they do? Fire the man? Trade McNabb? I say yes to both.
Now hear me out. Reid is a good coach. But his time has passed here. And now it's time for Marty-ball! No, not Marty Mornhinweg. Marty Schottenheimer. In 21 years as a head coach, Marty-ball has put out just two losing seasons, one being with the abysmal squad he had to throw on the field in San Diego his first year there. The man is a winner. And he's fiery. And that's what Philly needs.
They need a man who will get the players going, restore some faith in Eagles fans, and most of all lead them, instead of sitting back, spewing out rhetoric, and assuming the position. And Marty is the perfect fit. He can get the job done and he also embodies what is Philadelphia. He, like the City of Brotherly Love, is a tormented soul, one who's had the taste of victory ripped from his mouth too many times. And perhaps, now, it's the perfect timing for fates to intertwine, rise up, and win the big one together. What do they have to lose? Another 8-8 year?
Now, ridding the Birds of McNabb is a tougher sell. Even to me. I mean, the guy has a strong lifetime quarterback rating of 86.1 And that's in spite of having some of the worst starting wide receivers in the league and a ton of dropped balls to back that up during his tenure there. Take away his first two years in the league and that number jumps a few points higher. The man rarely throws a pick. And he's a known quantity. But ask yourself this.
Do you honestly see him as the leader of the team? Five years ago I would have said yes. He, along with a Jimmy Johnson led defense, consistently led the team to victories, and McNabb would smile his way on and off the field. Especially during his best year, in 2004, when he and Terrell Owens helped guide the Eagles to the Super Bowl, even if the latter didn't play in Philly's first two playoff games. But what has taken place since?
McNabb was publicly emasculated by that same wide receiver shortly after the big game, and for whatever reason doesn't seem the same man. There aren't stats or media examples to really back that up. But the fact that he did not fire back at Terrell, and the fact that it seems like he always tries to be the corporate, say the right thing, guy has worn old and in my opinion, is what's wrong with him.
Like Carson Palmer in Cincinnati with his teammates and their rap sheets, Donovan McNabb was politically correct and appeared he always wanted to keep things in-house and bite his tongue to avoid some bigger issue from arising. But in both situations, the inmates have seemed to have run the asylum and dictate what was going to take place when, with gun in hand to the head of the quarterback. Then look at a different situation.
Take Jay Cutler in Denver. This past summer, when Brandon Marshall got into trouble again, the young gun slinger didn't stay tight-lipped. He publicly ripped Marshall a new one, speaking only the truth. The fact that Jay, Brandon and the boys are off to a 4-1 start may be what makes his flogging appear to have worked.
But to me, it's more than that. There's no question after that, and seeing Mr. Cutler's body language and production on the field this season, who the leader of the Mile High squad is. There is no question how much the young Vandy product is respected by his teammates and throughout the league. But with Donovan, that's just not the case anymore. For me, he's reached the point of no return.
That is not his locker room in Philly and he doesn't do anything consistently enough to back up the fact that it is with his play on the field. When he's on it that is. No, Philly needs to move on. They need to trade him while he's playing so well to get the maximum return possible.
Say to the aforementioned Detroit.
Have you been watching any clips of that Motown bunch this season? They could use number five in a Donovan and Reggie Brown to Detroit for Roy Williams (in a sign and trade) who is being shopped anyway and the Lions 2009 1st rounder. The Lions would get something for Williams who is leaving after this year anyway (trust me, he is), and legitimize their franchise for the first time since Barry Sanders took the field.
The Eagles would acquire a true number one wide receiver to go alongside speedsters Desean Jackson and Kevin Curtis, and more importantly make it much easier for second year man and the new qb, Kevin Kolb, to succeed.
In addition, the Eagles, would pick up their third first rounder for the coming draft, where they could continue to build around an already very young squad that currently has eight rookies on the team, two others on IR, and one more on the practice squad. That move, along with a swap of Andy Reid for Marty Schottenheimer, and both Philly and Detroit have a complete makeover.
Don't get me wrong. The move is a huge, calculated risk for the Eagles. Reid has seemed the rock over his 10 years there. And McNabb has been their franchise player. But their time has passed. And there's no turning back. It's time to move forward with Kevin Kolb who has looked tremendous in his second year in both the preseason, albeit, and some limited regular season snaps he's seen as well.
The team needs to make a fresh start and reinvigorate the players in that locker room and the fans. And if Philly pulls the trigger here, they will have made the first necessary steps. No great power was ever made without some casualities.