Tuesday, March 30, 2010

McNabb Fits With Raiders

Time to take a quick break from the NCAA tournament to talk about football. We could spend the time breakind down Chad Ochocinco’s performance on Dancing With the Stars, but let’s not kid ourselves. If we’re going to talk about Dancing, we’re going to put our focus on Erin Andrews who has held her own very well through the first couple weeks. Then again, I could not tell the difference between a foxtrot, a waltz, the cabbage patch or the soulja boy.

Anyway, the Eagles are going to trade Donovan McNabb before training camp, the worse-kept secret since Ricky Martin being gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The toothpaste is completely out of the tube, and there is no way to push it back in and bring Donovan to camp. They have their heir apparent in Kevin Kolb and they have their multi-faceted back-up in Michael Vick. They’ve ridden the McNabb train for a long time and it’s taken them to good seasons with no chance of winning it all because he chokes in every big game. Now that they’ve made it known that they are allowing teams to shop for him, the leading contender to get him: The Oakland Raiders. And it is a GREAT fit for both teams and for Donovan himself.


The Eagles are hoping for an Aaron Rodgers situation with Kevin Kolb. They believe they have their next quarterback for the next decade. They have a young nucleus of talent at the skill positions with LeSean McCoy at running back, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin at wide receiver, and Brent Celek at tight end. This will give them a young quarterback to hopefully set them up at the skill positions for a long time to grow together. In addition, they get compensation that is too high for a quarterback that is on the downside of his career and that has a history of not being able to come up big in the biggest moments. Yet the Raiders are desperate to change the direction of their franchise and will pay more than anyone else for a famous name. If you have a show that has been on the air for 10 years starring Courtney Cox, you know she still has talent but she was never good enough to win awards. Now someone offers you a healthy ransom for Cox and you have Leighton Meester sitting on the bench, it really is a no brainer decision.


The Raiders franchise has been a huge mess since they lost Jon Gruden. They have blown draft picks like JaMarcus Russell, and they have made awful free agent signings like DeAngelo Hall. They have had continual problems with their coaching staff and they are run by a crazy old man. So what better way to lend some legitimacy to a messed up organization than to bring in a solid name to be the face of the franchise. McNabb is a solid, yet moody, professional and would lend some respect to the franchise and bring a leader into the Raider locker room. The Raiders also have some talented players and their biggest problem the past few years was a quarterback who couldn’t throw, and when he did he threw it to the other team. Having McNabb would finally put an end to the Fat Albert experience at quarterback in Oakland.


As for Donovan himself, at first blush he is going to throw a fit about going from a perrenial playoff team to a dumpster fire in Oakland. However, if he were to stay in Philly, the pressure would be turned up even more than it already is. Philly fans are the most ridiculous fans in terms of their expectations and beliefs about their teams – they really believe they are the favorites in every sport at the beginning of every season and can’t be convinced otherwise. Then when the teams fail to meet those ridiculous expectations, the fans turn on their hometown heroes and act like complete jag-offs. (You didn’t really think I was going to have a post about a Philly team/player without taking at least one shot at the idiots in Philly, did you?) In addition, McNabb’s biggest weakness, other than his intestinal fortitude, has been his accuracy. In the Raider offense which will be run by Hue Jackson, it is not the west coast dink and dunk that relies more on quick slants and short accurate passes where McNabb has not excelled. Jackson will utilize the deep pass (like he had with Joe Flacco) which McNabb has had success with (look at the number of deep touchdowns he threw to DeSean Jackson last season). He could be very successful with Louis Murphy, possibly Darius Heyward-Bey and Darren McFadden playing the role of Brian Westbrook.

Donovan has taken the Eagles as far as he possibly could and he needs to understand his ceiling. He is a solid quarterback that can keep a team in contention but cannot carry them to the ultimate prize. When he had the all-pro WR and RB around him (T.O & Westbrook), he threw up under the pressure – literally. So going to Oakland, he has the potential to turn around a franchise and just bringing the Raiders to the playoffs again would be seen as a huge success. He would become a legend in Raider Nation just by bringing them to respectability – he doesn’t need to win a title. Can McNabb get his head around this concept? Probably not, so he would want to get out when his contract expires after the season.

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