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Friday, May 1, 2009

The Philadelphia Eagles: Sticking With McNabb?

The Philadelphia Eagles are consistently moving forward, or at least that is what they’d like us to believe. Last weekend’s draft may have been an indication that they are doing just that, but not in the way that would make Philly fans particularly happy. It could be very well possible that the Eagles are gearing up for the post-McNabb era by drafting young players that will be well ingrained in the system when they turn the reigns over to Kevin Kolb. Or maybe the Eagles are willing to let McNabb remain in control and are simply surrounding him with more offensive options. In either case, one of the two QBs will probably be on another roster come the 2010 season.

Let’s first look briefly at what they have done this offseason. They replaced the two offensive tackles on the offensive line. They added a much needed fullback. They picked up a safety to replace a local legend. They added a wideout, a running back, and potentially a decent tight end through the draft in addition to picking up an established cornerback through a trade. One might say that the Eagles addressed their needs, but didn’t go all out to go for it all. This is a valid point considering that they could have had Tony Gonzalez and/or Anquan Boldin on the squad for a couple draft picks. The fact that they didn’t leads fans to believe that the team is getting ready to move on without McNabb.

But are the Eagles really ready to give up on winning with McNabb and give the ball to a guy who has played virtually the same amount of NFL football as my grandmother? That would be one of the biggest leaps of faith any franchise could take. It’s not even clear if it’s worked out in Packerland with Aaron Rodgers. So if the Eagles are looking to go that direction, 2010 ain’t lookin’ so good. First of all, Kolb’s contract is going to be up and they’ll have to give him a new deal, with starter’s money. He won’t get the 100 million dollar contract, but either way, he may not be worth whatever salary they’ll pay him.
The additions of Maclin & McCoy surely points to a youth movement, but I think they will end up with McNabb as their guy in the end. The Eagles need the experience and the skill to put up as many W’s as possible, and Kolb can’t do that for them. So the Birds add to what may be a more defined running game, the throw in a guy that can only enhance the receiving corps and at the same time take some pressure off the team’s new star in DeSean Jackson, and they address the issues that possibly held them back last year. Should it happen again, they probably won’t have Quintin Demps trying to cover Larry Fitzgerald.

This isn’t rocket science, or brain surgery. It’s even easier than trying to manage the salary cap. This is all simple common sense. The Eagles want to at least compete and maybe, just maybe, even win. They’re not going to blow things up, even though at some point they should. Instead they want to transition. They want to go from Westbrook to McCoy (right), McNabb to Kolb, just like they’ve done with the linebackers and defensive backs in the past. The problem with the current plan though is that McNabb and B-West might still be too good to transition away from. So what do you do in the meantime? Do you resign Kolb and let him sit or do you let him go and draft a replacement later on? McCoy we know will at least get some playing time and Brian knows that it is his job to keep LeSean off the field.

Regardless what the Eagles’ plans are, it won’t change much this year. McNabb and Westbrook will both be the starters and McCoy and Maclin (left) will play their roles, whatever they might be. Kolb, though will be lucky if he gets any meaningful snaps and might be looking to find a job he can really compete for. But should he stick around we might end up having a Philly style Montana-out-Young-in, albeit a poor man’s version.

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