Now he’s got one year remaining on his contract and a young quarterback behind him in Kolb that the franchise likes and believes is the future. Never mind that Kolb went 10-for-23 in subbing for McNabb and threw two interceptions. The coaching staff will give the kid a mulligan with his trial by fire coming against Baltimore. McNabb won’t get that same benefit of the doubt in the long run.
Instead, you can bet the Eagles will work the phones hard after the season ends, hoping to find a team that has seen the success of so many other 30-something quarterbacks and thinks McNabb can put them over the top (Hello, Minnesota Vikings). And if they can’t deal him, they’ll likely release him – which is what McNabb would want, anyway.
Mark it down. Five games are left in Philadelphia’s season and McNabb’s time in an Eagles uniform.
"It kind of threw me off a little bit," Jackson said. "It's a tough situation for McNabb and for us as a team. He's been our quarterback. That's all we know. It kind of caught me off-guard … No matter who is out there, that's who we have to play with. As a team, we're doing everything we need to do to win a football game. It's nothing against Donovan, things just were going the way we expected. I feel like Coach (Andy) Reid or whoever makes the decision just wanted us to try to start fresh and let Kolb get in there and get a chance to makes some plays."
"It's a decision you have to live with," Runyan said. "You're not going to win many games giving the ball to the other team. You have to make a change and try to make something happen."
"As a receiver, you love both of those guys. We would go to war with either one of those guys," Avant said. "It was an opportunity for Kevin. We just rolled with it. It's nothing that you can prepare for. It just happened. We go through hard rimes. It seems like at times the things that we love the most can hurt us the most. (McNabb's) a fighter and I have all the confidence in the world that he'll come back."
Can he still play? Maybe. Probably. But there's no guarantee he can ever be the same McNabb who played well (well, not consistently great) for eight years. If you think enough of a prospect to draft him as high as the Eagles picked Kolb (36th overall), you've got to give him a chance before he leaves in free-agency. If McNabb continued to play at a B to B-plus level, I'd say fine -- let Kolb go when he hits the market. But McNabb's been a C-minus quarterback this year, with an F the last three weeks.
As my colleague Don "Donnie Brasco" Banks points out so succinctly, "the Eagles owe No. 5 a cool $19.2 million over the next two years, and that's not veteran backup money." I'm hopeful McNabb will be allowed to ply his trade somewhere else in 2009. For now, as soon as the Eagles lose their seventh game, Kolb should be the quarterback for the rest of the season. It's time.
"They've been throwing the ball 40-plus or 50-plus times a game. You throw the ball like that, eventually, you know, something's got to give," Reed said. "Either you're going to have an awesome offense and everybody's going to be talking about you, which rarely happens when you're throwing the ball 50 times because you have no running game."
"It's not just one guy. It's not just McNabb," Reed continued. "Your offensive line might be struggling a little bit. You're not running the ball as much. You've got to help your quarterback in this league. You can't just drop back and throw the ball the whole time. We knew that coming into this game. When you become that predictable, it's going to happen. Especially against a good defense."
Raven's QB Samari Rolle
"I think it was unfair to bench Donovan. I was glad. Donovan's an All-Pro quarterback," said Samari Rolle. "I'd never heard of Kevin Kolb."
"I support him, he supports me," Kolb said of McNabb. Asked about Reid's decision, Kolb said: "I think Andy understands we have to win now . . . that's all he was trying to do, was win a football game."
"No," McNabb said, when asked if he would have benched himself, had he been the coach, against the backdrop of seven McNabb turnovers in a seven-quarter span, including the OT period at Cincinnati. "But I guess that's my competitive nature. I always think we can get things going and make some plays. But that's why I'm not the coach."
McNabb said he got the news in the locker room at halftime from quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur. Reid confirmed that he did not talk to his five-time Pro Bowl QB about the switch until after the game, which seemed to somehow typify the communications skills that have marked Reid's regime.
McNabb said his first reaction was "Wow," which, if memory serves, was also his reaction in April 2007 when the Eagles traded out of the first round and then drafted Kolb in the second.