Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was on the sidelines — just like this ’07 training camp picture — as the Birds went with Kevin Kolb in a 36-7 loss to the Ravens
(Philadelphia, Pa) — The second half of Philadelphia Eagles-Baltimore Ravens game started with the Birds down 10-7 to the Ravens, but the big news was that starting quarterback Donovan McNabb was on the bench. Granted McNabb had a horrible first half where he completed 8 of 18 passes for 59 yards, 2 INTs and a bad lost fumble. But how with your season on the line in hostile territory could Andy Reid go to 2nd year “green” quarterback Kevin Kolb.
To all of the emailers and callers that I have talked to over the years that are “Anti-McNabb” and clamored for someone else…Well you got your wish as Kolb got the nod to turn around the Eagles’ fortunes. What did the young quarterback do with the opportunity, not much to answer the question. As I stated a million times before Kolb was not ready to play in a regular season game and it showed. You could see the smiles on the faces of Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense as Kolb came into the game.
Kolb proved to add “Zero” spark to the Birds offense as he threw for numbers: 10 of 23 for 73 yards and two interceptions including a goal line pick that was returned by safety Ed Reed for an NFL record 108 yards. In Kolb’s defense the scoreboard read 36-7 in favor of the Ravens, but the Eagles biggest problems don’t lie with him or McNabb.
Week in and week out the biggest problems for the Eagles are inability to run the football (86 yards with 19 yards by the quarterbacks), a lack of quality players at key positions (bad drafting and free agent moves coming home to “bite” them), penalties (7 for 64 yards) and a defense that cannot stop the run (110 yards by the Ravens). All these problems point directly to the architect of this team and that is Andy Reid.
Reid clearly panicked against the Ravens at one of the worst moment going to Kolb. As bad as the Eagles had played in the first half, thanks to a Quintin Demps 100-yd kickoff return they were right in the battle. Reid should have given the notoriously slow starting McNabb the opportunity to rally his team. That is the least he could have done, but Big Red had made up his stubborn mind that #5 was the problem. It was later learned in the Eagles post game press conference that Reid didn’t even give his franchise quarterback of 10-years the dignity of telling him he was getting the hook at halftime, leaving the task to someone else.
Apparently after five Pro Bowls, a franchise record 28,115 passing yards and 185 touchdowns, McNabb learned from someone other than his former biggest supporter that he officially has earned the label “2008 Philadelphia Eagles’ Scapegoat”. I never thought Reid would make the decision to remove McNabb — always stuck by him from Russ Limbaugh to Numerous Injuries to HBO-gate to Not Knowing about ties in the NFL. I always thought on the remote chance that a benching to McNabb would come that is would happen after the Eagles lost seven games (ending their playoff hopes) with Big 5 moving in a quiet off-season trade. But the future of this Eagles team is now and Reid decided to point the finger at McNabb. Thus hitching his flickering playoff hopes to a quarterback that has zero career starts instead of the guy that handed him the majority of his 101 career regular wins.
The fun part is that the Eagles have a very short week as they prepare to play the Arizona Cardinals on Thanksgiving night in Philadelphia. I am not sure if the beleaguered and confused Reid will go with Kolb or McNabb — my guess is that he goes back to McNabb one last time, only Andy knows what Andy is going to do and he sure isn’t going to tell us.
But the 2008 Philadelphia Eagles season has reached “Critical Mass” and it is only going to get worse. And you thought tying the Bengals the worst thing that could happen to this team.
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)