Making the case: The final verdict at QBby Eric Schwartz
Over the past few days phillysportsblogs has made a case for Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb to be named the starter in 2010 for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Now it’s time to get serious.
Before I unveil the rightful choice for the job, it is time to look at one of the major factors in the decision that not yet been discused.
The last two weeks have been hard on Eagles fans young and old. Entering the final week of the season the Eagles had hopes of a NFC East title, No. 2 seed and first round bye in the playoffs. Instead they were presented with two tail-whippings at the hands of the rival Dallas Cowboys.
Over the course of those two games it became impossible for even the most stubborn Eagles fan to deny that the Cowboys have surpassed the Eagles in terms of talent and production.
Before the start of the season Eagles’ President and CEO Joe Banner announced to the media that his team was the most talented in the NFL.
Mr. Banner, you were wrong. Dead wrong.
While there is uncertainty for the future in Minnesota and Arizona due to possible retirements at the quarterback position, Dallas and New Orleans look set for the several years to come. Each team has a multi-layered running attack, a proven quarterback (Yes, it’s time to award Tony Romo that status) and tons of weapons at the tight end and receiver positions. The Cowboys are also stacked on defense, while the Saints have shown drastic improvement on that side of the ball from a year ago.
These teams aren’t going away so the only way for the Eagles to return to the Super Bowl — and maybe actually win it — is to improve to or above their competitions level.
With a solid draft — and health — the Eagles should be able to see improvements on both sides of the ball. Stewart Bradley will be back at the MLB position and DeSeasn Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek will each be a year wiser.
Is that enough?
And that’s where the decision making comes to light.
Everyone has seen what McNabb can — and cannot — do leading the offense. It is true that if McNabb has three or four years of success at his current rate he will surpass the 40,000 yards passing mark and with that likely secure a ticket to the Hall of Fame. If he is elected to the Hall he will go in as an Eagle.
But even with that in mind, it is time for a change.
There are anywhere from 8-12 teams that will be looking for a new starting quarterback in the offseason and there isn’t a whole lot out there. There are not 8-12 quality quarterback out there. In fact there might not be two.
The market is led by Kyle Orton, Jason Campbell, Chad Pennington, Tavaris Jackson, and Kellen Clemens. Yhat’s it folks.
I mention this because if made available McNabb jumps to the top of that list. He could even bring back a late first rounder, or a combination of a second and a third. This would help the Eagles fill a couple of holes on the lines in a hurry.
So who then is the man to lead the offense in 2010?
If not now then it will be never for Kolb and the Eagles. He is a free agent to be next offseason and if the Birds do not commit to him next season there will be no reason for him to re-sign.
There is no guarantee that simply placing Kolb in the starting lineup will vault the Eagles into contention with the Saints and Cowboys next year and beyond, but it is almost certain that is the Eagles return with McNabb they will not.
As the saying goes “you are what you are.” The Eagles with McNabb at the helm have been a very, very good football team over the last decade. Yet at the end of the day the franchise has earned the same amount of Super Bowl rings as teams that are very, very bad.
What McNabb has done for this city and team should not soon be forgotten. He brought the team to heights it had not been since the early 80’s and turned Philadelphia back into a football town.
For that he should be thanked, and above all, appreciated. But the time has come to part ways.
McNabb is still very good.
It’s long past time for the Eagles to be great.
Kevin Kolb, the time is yours.