There has been a lot of talk about Donovan McNabb being traded, both in the local and national media. It’s amazing the disconnect between the two. And frankly, in this case, the national guys don’t really know what they’re talking about.

I’ve read too many stories talking about the disrespect McNabb is getting from Philadelphia, and from the Eagles. The only problem? The articles are combining the two concepts, which is completely unfair to both the fans and the organization.

You can’t blame the Eagles for wanting to get value for a quarterback they’re obviously not looking to re-sign to a long-term deal. Why play McNabb this year and let him walk for nothing, then give a contract to Kolb to be your starter in 2011 after another year on the bench? Actually, forget about Kolb for a second, and let’s ask why the Eagles shouldn’t try to get something back for McNabb if they don’t plan to keep him beyond this year? Isn’t that what smart football teams do with their players? Why is shopping a guy around for value a sign of disrespect? And how in the world is asking for a first or second round draft pick a sign of disrespect either?

If they took a fifth rounder for the guy, sure, THAT’S disrespect. But asking for top-round value for a guy who has been in the league for more than a decade? That’s actually a sign OF RESPECT, if you consider the fact that no team is willing to make the deal. The Eagles, based on the current market, have OVER-VALUED McNabb’s worth to the rest of the league. And if the rest of the league doesn’t see value in signing McNabb long-term – or at least trading away top picks to get him for a year with the chance to sign him long-term – why is it disrespectful of the Eagles to feel the same way? Because he’s played for them all this time? They should know the deterioration level of his skills more than anyone.

Second, to the point of the fans, yes a few idiots went to NYC to boo him when he got picked. I actually had one of them email me today to explain he’s not a bad guy and he does a lot of charity work and has apologized to McNabb in the past. That’s all great, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that the group of “fans” who went up to the draft to boo McNabb put a stain on the fanbase of this city for the last 12 years. Every time there’s a conversation about McNabb, writers go back to that day. So thanks for that, guys. Any rational assessment of McNabb’s skills, or any person who thinks that after this much time of not winning a title, a change of pace is better than status quo, is hit with “YOU BOOED THE GUY WHEN HE WAS DRAFTED.”

No we didn’t. A few fans who didn’t know what they were talking about did. And some of them realized they were wrong.

MJD in his (joking) post about disrespecting McNabb by sending him to Oakland. Mark Kriegel of Fox Sports actually wrote this as a reason for why McNabb is being unappreciated:

Consider his history in Philadelphia, which began with a round of boos from all those Eagles draft experts who had their hearts set on a stoner out of Texas, Ricky Williams. McNabb is coming off his sixth Pro Bowl season, and has won more games and thrown for more yards and touchdowns than any quarterback in Eagles history. Oh, and by the way, he’s led the team to five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl.

By all accounts, McNabb is a good husband and father. He’s never been arrested for slapping a woman or killing a dog, offenses that have inspired demonstrations of support for lesser men and much lesser quarterbacks.

What a curious case is McNabb: no gun possession, no DUI, no respect. From the right, he’s attacked by Rush Limbaugh, the noted expert on black quarterbacks. From the left, the president of Philadelphia’s NAACP chapter charges that McNabb “played the race card.” A distressingly high number of his teammates sided with Terrell Owens. In keeping with the prevalent locker-room metaphor, that’s like siding with cancer.

Now this.

So, Philly fans, don’t bother trying to use rational judgement of a guy’s skills on the field to determine if you want a player to be traded. He’s a good guy. He doesn’t have DUIs. Or dogfighting charges. Rush Limbaugh? We’re using what he said as a reason PHILLY FANS don’t appreciate McNabb? Now this? Come on, Mark.

Maybe a high number of his teammates sided with T.O. because McNabb wasn’t a very good leader. Maybe it was because they liked Owens more than McNabb and rather than keep the situation under control, like a leader would have tried to do, McNabb was just as much to blame for turning that into the circus it was. But national guys may not know that. It doesn’t excuse using any of those points to rationalize the team not trading him or the fanbase wanting a change. Were Atlanta fans who wanted the Falcons to trade Michael Vick and keep Matt Schaub wrong? Were they disrespecting Vick? Forget about all the fallout after that, Schaub has proven to be a better quarterback. And they let him go to keep Vick. Who’s to say it’s not the same situation with Kolb? Why is it disrespectful to McNabb to think that a second-round draft pick who knows the system and has performed well in short opportunities can do the job? At the very least, Kolb will demand far less money that the team could use to upgrade other areas.

Of course, the national guys wouldn’t care about any of that because it’s easy to swoop in and see the surface of this story: Borderline Hall of Fame quarterback may be traded. That’s the story they see. Unfortunately, our friendly-neighborhood general sports columnist Stephen A. Smith agrees with that sentiment.

It’s amazing to read a column by Stephen A. that’s about the NBA, then follow it up with a column about any other sport. He really knows his NBA stuff. He has a well-written, insightful column on Kevin Durant in yesterday’s Inqy. Two days earlier, he’s wildly ranting about how the notion of Kevin Kolb makes his nose hurt. Or something:

Think about it: You’re a quarterback who’s been around for 11 seasons, who’s gone to five conference championship games and one Super Bowl. You’ve done so without a bevy of offensive weapons, especially a running game, for most of those years. In the process, you’ve passed for 32,783 yards. You’re a six-time Pro Bowler, just 33 years old – and the Eagles are talking about letting you go.

So Kevin Kolb can start.

I’d laugh a lot longer if I could remove the stench from my nostrils.

Something smells, folks!

That’s a terrible line, and I respect the editors of the Inqy more and more every day I read lines like that and wonder how hard it must be to edit this kind of writing. Stephen A. talks about Brett Favre holding the Vikings hostage and that’s the reason McNabb won’t get traded there. In fact, the Vikings could make the trade if they wanted to, and tell Favre to shove off. Favre has nothing to do with the fact that the Vikings could or could not trade for McNabb. He’s not actually holding the team hostage. Second, there’s not mention of the Eagles trading McNabb to another NFC contender, which I would never do if I was in charge of the Birds. Never. I’d let him sit the bench before I’d set him up to beat you in the playoffs.

Third, and this is really where the crazy logic of Stephen A. begins, he’s once again arguing against his own point:

The St. Louis Rams supposedly have no interest. The same could be said for the Arizona Cardinals – because they have Matt Leinart. McNabb is said to be not worth a high draft pick in Buffalo, or a long-term investment. Why? Because Ryan Fitzpatrick or Trent Edwards will do just fine.

Then there are the Denver Broncos, who are evidently just peachy with Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. Alex Smith apparently has enough star potential in San Francisco, so McNabb isn’t worth the 49ers’ giving up one of their two first-round (13th and 16th) picks. And although bothCleveland and Seattle ultimately went out and grabbed Jake Delhomme (now I’m really laughing!) and Charlie Whitehurst, respectively, it was Kolb they were reportedly interested in, not McNabb.

Listening to all of this, true justice would entail McNabb’s staying in Philadelphia, forcing the Eagles to reveal their real intention, and owning up to it for a change.

That last line notwithstanding, Stephen A. chronicles, by my count, SEVEN TEAMS that would rather sign guys off the scrap heap than give up a draft choice for McNabb. Can they all be wrong? Maybe his value around the league isn’t as high as the media wants to believe. Sure, quarterbacks can play until they are 40, but is Brett Favre the rule, or the exception? Is Kurt Warner a coincidence, or a pattern? So if seven teams that need a quarterback haven’t yet been willing to trade for a guy in his mid-30s with a history of injuries, why should we assume the Eagles should just keep him and, theoretically, re-sign him to a longterm deal? If they aren’t going to re-sign him, why wouldn’t they try and get something back for him if they think Kolb has as good a chance to win as McNabb?

Last, to the point of a lack of a running game; yes, McNabb has had much success without a dominant ground attack. But media people, including SAS in this column, use the lack of a running game in the same breath as they use McNabb’s stats to define his value. If it wasn’t for the lack of a running game — and the propensity to pass so much — McNabb wouldn’t have near the same numbers he has, both in yards and in completion percentage. He’s a far more effective passer, statistically speaking, because of the dinks and dunks of the offense. If it weren’t for all the screen passes he gets to throw, there’s no way McNabb would have more than 30k yards or the mediocre completion percentage (59%) he has in his career. Football people, I’ll assume, know this.

And again, Stephen A. how does this have anything to do with Favre?

Thanks for listening. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Tags: , Mark Kriegel, MJD, Philadelphia Eagles,

4 Responses to “DL355: Enough With The Lack of Respect for Donovan McNabb Angle. Enough.”

  1. Dan Levy says:

    All apologies. That’s great.

  2. Tyler says:

    As a college kid I’m kind of insulted by your assesment of Stephen A’s writing. I’d never write that “something smells” line.

  3. Superweed says:

    Being born and raised in Philly but living in D.C., there seems to be a difference in fan, though I would place it more towards blind optimism (e.g., talking yourself into Jason Campbell yet again) and adherence to pundits’ version of team loyalty over anything else.

    Maybe it’s heartless to want to get value for a star player that consistently loses in the semifinals (the talking heads may be less poetic about appearing in 5 tournament semifinals than appearing in 5 “NFC championship” games). I believe, though, that many fans have come to the realization that most of the pieces are probably not there this year and it’s probably not the best move to depend on a guy in his mid-30s with a middling defense to win the title with high probability. The organization may not have been the best in getting high-value wide receivers while he was in his 20s, but that causes no obligation to keep him now.

    The Eagles could have avoided all this by shopping McNabb this year and have Reid coach for his job this season. They pulled the trigger too early on Reid, but they don’t need to compound the mistakes by sticking to Reid now.

  4. Don’t make Levy Hulk angry. You wouldn’t like Levy Hulk when he’s angry.

    On the side of the national media, you people did also attack Santa Claus and cheer an injury. All of you, very single one of you without exception.

    So it’s hard to believe you weren’t all booing McNabb a decade ago because I mean, look how crazy you people are!

    (That was all sarcasm. I don’t want Dan to Hulk Out again and direct his Green Fury at me this time!)