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Philly.com: 'Nothing is Guaranteed'


tr1

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Frankly, McNabb isn't the problem...it's the quality of WRs he's playing with. And, though he's having a bit of a problem escaping the rush, when his knee is completely healed, he'll be just as elusive.

Philly would be foolish to let him go.

By Ray Parrillo

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20071106_Nothing_is_Guaranteed.html

Inquirer Staff Writer

Andy Reid realizes the notion is bouncing around like a loose football. It's a notion debated by Eagles fans everywhere, more strenuously by some than others, and even by the most devout Donovan McNabb loyalists, whose number is dwindling.

And it's a notion that intensified in Sunday night's season-crushing 38-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Is the franchise quarterback in decline?

As expected, the Eagles' head coach defended McNabb at yesterday's postmortem news conference, saying that the sluggishness of the Eagles' offense was not the fault of one player and that he did not believe a change at quarterback was necessary.

At least not yet.

But when asked if he could say with absolute certainty that, barring injury, McNabb would be his quarterback for the remainder of the season, Reid left a slight opening.

"Yeah, that's where I'm looking at things," he said. "Again, nothing is guaranteed in things. That's how I'm looking at it, yes."

Just as it's easy to forget what a mess the Eagles were at quarterback before Reid selected McNabb second overall in the 1999 draft, it's easy to understand the theory that his best years are behind him.

In the last 23 regular-season games McNabb has started, the Eagles are 9-14. Take away the four touchdown passes he threw in the win over Detroit, and McNabb has only five touchdown passes in seven games this season. He ranks ninth in the NFC in completion percentage, ninth in third-down passing, and 11th in fourth-quarter passing.

Although McNabb may eventually regain his explosive running ability, it hasn't been there since he returned from last season's major knee injury. Too often, McNabb seems indecisive in the pocket and reluctant to throw downfield. Too often, he holds the ball too long.

"It's easy to point fingers at one guy, but I don't think that's where we're at right now," Reid said.

Reid added that dropped balls and defensive pressure had factored into McNabb's struggle, and he credited the Cowboys' defense for taking away plays designed to go downfield.

"So there are other things involved, too," he said. "I'm not saying there aren't plays that Donovan would like to have back. I think everybody's got a little piece of the pie."

If the Cowboys' convincing win signaled a changing of the guard in the NFC East, where the Eagles have finished first in five of the last six seasons, it also made a statement that Tony Romo sits to pee had replaced McNabb as the division's ruling quarterback. Romo sits to pee was nearly flawless, completing 20 of 25 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns. His passer rating was a gaudy 141.7. He was more mobile in the pocket than McNabb and more in command of his offense, which clearly had more weapons than the Eagles'.

"He played like a top-rated quarterback," Eagles defensive end Trent Cole said.

McNabb had two killer turnovers in the first half, which resulted in two Dallas touchdowns - a fumble on a sack that the Cowboys recovered on the Eagles' 37-yard line on the game's first play from scrimmage, and a game-turning interception by free safety Ken Hamlin that was returned to the Eagles' 14 just before halftime. McNabb's passer rating for the game was a grim 64.0.

"It was a coverage sack," McNabb said of the fumble. "I just tried to find an open lane to run. I didn't see [the Cowboys' Marcus Spears] behind me. He did an excellent job of tomahawking it and knocking it out of my hand."

Reid said McNabb's turnovers couldn't be blamed on his knee injury.

"The fumble, obviously you've got to keep two hands on the ball when you're in the pocket, and if you can get rid of it, get rid of it," Reid said. "If not, you take off and go. The primary thing there was keeping two hands on the ball. I don't think that has anything to do with the injury. And then the interception, he tried to squeeze one in there, and he had a couple guys on him. I don't think that has anything to do with the injury."

The bottom line is that the offense revolves around McNabb. If he hasn't been the problem, then he hasn't been the solution, either.

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He'll never run like he used to.. too many leg injuries for that. It's pretty evident that he's still hurting when you look at him, and when you factor in that his injury typically takes a year to heal it's pretty obvious where his main problems lie.

It is my hope that Eagle fans get what a lot of them are wishing for... McNabb traded and Reid gone.

Opening 2008 with the Morninwheg / Kolb combination is the dream of every fan of the Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants.

~Bang

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He'll never run like he used to.. too many leg injuries for that. It's pretty evident that he's still hurting when you look at him, and when you factor in that his injury typically takes a year to heal it's pretty obvious where his main problems lie.

It is my hope that Eagle fans get what a lot of them are wishing for... McNabb traded and Reid gone.

Opening 2008 with the Morninwheg / Kolb combination is the dream of every fan of the Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants.

~Bang

:applause: :applause: :applause:

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He'll never run like he used to.. too many leg injuries for that. It's pretty evident that he's still hurting when you look at him, and when you factor in that his injury typically takes a year to heal it's pretty obvious where his main problems lie.

It is my hope that Eagle fans get what a lot of them are wishing for... McNabb traded and Reid gone.

Opening 2008 with the Morninwheg / Kolb combination is the dream of every fan of the Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants.

~Bang

I disagree with the "never run like he used to" - I think he can/will. He's suffering from his knee being nowhere near where it needs to be, as well as an extreme lack of confidence (at least that's what it looks like to me).

I'm also one of the fans who don't wish McNabb/Reid gone. CHange in philosophy? Yes. A REAL gm picking players? Yes. But not getting rid of Reid. As to McNabb, given a true #1, with Brown being a #2 and Curtis in the slot, and a true running game, I think he could be successful. He's only 30 and honestly should have a few years left. Franchise QBs are just too hard to find/develop.

God, Morninwheg as head coach. That would be awful. Simply awful.

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Just curious, but did he rush back to training camp too early? I mean why didn't he sit out longer? Was he afraid for his job so he came back earlier than he should have? I just don't get the whole thing about not being 100% still given that he came back for all the training camps.

Edit: I know it takes a long time to heal from those injuries, but I'm just curious why he didnt skip training camp or take it lighter. Play a small amount of the first two preseason games and then play more the next two. It just seems like he could have used those weeks of rest. But then again I guess he had to work it out, get back in shape, etc too.

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