As we continue to sift through the rubble of Sunday night's debacle in New Jersey, I feel like there's a few more points that need to be made.
McNabb is not back. It certainly seemed against the Lions that McNabb was back to 100% and looking like his old self, but last night proved that he clearly is not. The signs more subtle than they were against the Redskins, but they were certainly there.
First, the elusiveness is not there. McNabb was never a guy to force throws or put himself in a position to throw picks, he could always avoid the pressure and throw the ball away if need be. That's what he wasn't doing last night. He doesn't have the speed or agility to avoid the rush, at least not like he used to.. Not yet.
He also is not getting rid of the ball and taking more sacks than he used to. There were a few times last night where he had a chance to throw the ball away but chose to take the sack instead. That's huge. That's the difference between 3rd and 18 or 3rd and 8. There was a time in his career where he'd make that decision. To his credit, I don't think he looks scared. He'll take a hit if he needs to in order to make a throw... but I think some of his decision making could be better.
All that said, it's not all his fault. His coach is not exactly putting him in a position to be successful. Against the Giants, he was getting bombarded from his blindside and his coach did nothing to help him. His coach gave him receivers that are struggling to get open and his coach is forcing him to drop back to pass 40 - 50 times a game. You would think that most coaches if they had a running game that is working as well as the Eagles' is and a franchise QB trying to get back to 100% healthy... would help that QB out by lessening his load. Andy Reid has not done that. It's funny, one reader said something in the game thread that made me laugh. "I have a theory... Andy is trying to get McNabb killed so that he can start the Kolb era." What other reason could there be?
Finally, a word about special teams. In a game such as this one, where the team isn't playing well but the other team really isn't either. The Giants certainly played great on defense, but only managed to score 10 points on offense all game... This is the exact type of game where a big play on special teams could steal you a win or spark your team out of a funk. That won't happen with this Eagles team. There are only 5 teams in the NFL with a lower kick return average than the Eagles. Same for punt return average, where they are averaging 4.5 yards a return(5th worst in football). In fact, our "savior" on punt returns(Reno Mahe) coughed the ball up against the Giants. The Eagles recovered it, but it just further underscored how sorry that unit is. We actually feel the need to stand up and applaud the fact that Reno Mahe can signal for a fair catch and then not drop a punt. That's embarrassing, there's teams around this league that would be upset if the best they got out of their punt return unit was a fair catch or a 3 yard return. For the Eagles, hey.. it's problem solved! I really find it baffling that Reid and co don't seem to care about special teams.