tr1 Posted November 21, 2006 Share Posted November 21, 2006 http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/473377p-398268c.html The Eagles are right back where they were last year when Thanksgiving arrived. No Donovan McNabb, which is bad news; no T.O., which is good news; and no shot at the playoffs, which makes this another lost season in Philly. McNabb is one of the good guys, popular on his team and around the league, but his body has betrayed him again before he even turns 30 on Saturday. He can't stay healthy. The Eagles are used to life without McNabb, their leader on the field and conscience in the locker room. He has now suffered major injuries in three of the last five seasons, all of them in November: broken ankle, hernia, ripped-up knee. He was having one of his best seasons until he suffered a season-ending torn ACL in his right knee in the first minute of the second quarter in Sunday's loss to the Titans. He was throwing on the run and was no more than lightly bumped by Tennessee's Kyle Vanden Bosch as he went out of bounds. McNabb fell down and was soon seated on the dreaded cart, taking the Eagles' season with him. They are 5-5 and on the way to no better than 7-9 with the Colts, Panthers, Redskins, Giants, Cowboys and Falcons left to play in a difficult last six weeks. Andy Reid called it an eight-month-to-a-year injury, which means the Eagles will be fortunate if they have McNabb back for the start of the 2007 season. And to compound matters, McNabb yesterday visited orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., and learned that he'll have to wait at least 2-3 weeks to have surgery to allow swelling to reduce around the knee. McNabb is young enough to come back, of course, but it's too soon to say if he will ever be a dominant player again. He has been to one Super Bowl in the eight seasons since the Eagles made him the second overall pick in the 1999 draft, but now you must question if the Eagles ever will be good enough and McNabb ever will be healthy enough to win it. The Eagles don't need to panic and take a QB in the first round, but they must do better than Jeff Garcia and A.J. Feeley behind McNabb. Reid has not said who will start Sunday night against the Colts, but who cares? Philly is not winning many games with either of them. Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder, asked yesterday about McNabb's career prognosis, said, "The track record with other athletes that have played the position and have had ACL tears, they've done okay." Cincinnati's Carson Palmer tore his left ACL in January and started this year's season opener. Daunte Culpepper tore three right knee ligaments, including the ACL, last October when he was with Minnesota, then started the Dolphins' opener this season but clearly was not ready. He had no mobility and was benched after four games. So much of McNabb's game is based on his ability to move around. He is one of the league's most dynamic players when healthy. "I don't see a bright future," one GM said yesterday. "I don't think he ever realized his true potential. Now it will be difficult to do. He was putting up a lot of numbers this year, but wasn't leading them to victory. I don't doubt he will be back. I think he will be less, not more." So the NFC East, which was supposed to be the best division in the NFL, has been reduced to a two-team race between the Giants and the Cowboys. Their Dec. 3 rematch in the Meadowlands will provide the same drama as last year. when they met in a first-place showdown. The Giants won it and went on to win the division. The Cowboys, after ending the Colts' undefeated season Sunday, play the lowly Bucs in two days on Thanksgiving, and then will have 10 days to get ready for the Giants. The Cowboys have been energized by Tony Romo sits to pee, who outplayed Peyton Manning on Sunday. "I think Dallas is going to take the Giants," the GM said. "Dallas is going to win the division." Last year, coming off a Super Bowl, McNabb missed the last seven games with a hernia injury that required surgery. The Eagles were 4-5 - T.O. already had been put in storage by Reid - when McNabb was hurt, and they won just two of their last seven without him. He missed the final six games of the 2002 season with the broken ankle. The Eagles won five of them, McNabb returned for the playoffs, beat Atlanta then lost to the Bucs in the NFC title game. Whether Reid promotes Garcia or hopes Feeley can recreate his magic from 2002 when he went 4-1 after McNabb was injured, the Eagles still are done. Garcia is 36 with little left. He was 1-4 in his starts for Detroit last year. Feeley had a chance to be the man when he was traded to Miami in 2004, but was 3-5 and couldn't hold off Jay Fiedler the first year, and then the next year was Gus Frerotte's backup. That says a lot. He hasn't played a down in 23 months. McNabb went into the Titans game with a 96.6 rating, sixth in the league, with 17 TDs and five INTs. But the Eagles, who got off to a 4-1 start, have since lost four out of five, three times on the final play of the game. "I don't see it going anywhere positive," the GM said. The Redskins dropped out of the NFC East race weeks ago. The Eagles have joined them. It's down to the Giants and Cowboys, as expected, just earlier than anticipated. :doh: Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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