Writer way too high on Redskins

(Grinding My Gears writer Eric Schwartz will be getting married on October 9th and because of this he will be forced to smile much more than he would like to. The only way for this to be plausible  is for him to unleash on all that is wrong in the World of Sports over the next 10 days. This is Part 2 of 10 straight days of Grinding My Gears.)

You may have heard that Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick have been in the headlines this week. If you haven’t, well then you are not reading this because you are clearly in a coma.

At times the media can get too obsessed with a story and play it to a point where even the most die hard fans are sent diving into the cushions of their couch to block out the chatter.

With so much attention going to the McNabb-Eagles, Vick is back drama, some reporters will go to any lengths to prove they do not get stuck in the eye of the media’s hurricane. Sometimes this leads to new information, an interesting take, or a breath of fresh air.

Other times it leads to print that has no other purpose than to fill up a blank page. And that’s when the gears start grinding.

Take for example this piece of journalism courtesy of this piece from the Express-Times.

In the article the author gets completely lost talking about the Redskins. Try these few graphs for size.

“The Eagles’ defense, after all, will be the one confronting McNabb, not Vick. The Birds’ defense dominated Jacksonville last week but even Temple’s defense would have had a decent day against the inept David Garrard, the Jags’ overmatched line and an ordinary bunch of skill players.”

News flash, Temple isn’t a punching bag anymore. They took Penn State down to the wire and could be looking at a Bowl Game this year. Temple jokes are so 2007. However it gets worse folks.

McNabb brings some much more impressive friends with him than Garrard could. Wide receiver Santana Moss is one of the NFL’s best at getting open in the clutch, and his fellow receivers Joey Galloway, Anthony Armstrong and Roydell Williams may only have eight catches between them but they are averaging 22.4 yards a catch.

Tight end Chris Cooley, like Moss, is in the elite at his position and could torture the Eagles especially if the Philadelphia linebackers let him get off the line of scrimmage with momentum. Clinton Portis may be on the downside of his career but can still be an effective and efficient running back.

Someone please explain to me when Santana Moss was ever considered elite? Last season he was 29th in the league with 902 yards and caught a measly three touchdowns.  Last time I checked the word “elite” was saved for the best of the best.

And how about the Portis reference? Portis got one second-half carry last week and is in Mike Shanahan’s dog house. Yet he is one of these “impressive friends” that McNabb is bringing with him this week? How can you seriously say the Redskins are more dangerous at the skill positions than the Jaguars when it’s Portis running the ball for Washington and Maurice Jones Drew getting the ball for Jacksonville?
The article gets worse but I will spare you the details unless you wish to click the link yourself.

Listen, I’m glad someone wanted to look at a story other than McNabb and Vick, but doing a little research might help next time. Throwing slop like this down, doesn’t do anything to help a reader, much less the writer’s reputation.

Vick now the man for the Eagles – for a week at least

What should we expect from Michael Vick?

This has been a question asked by Eagles fans since Michael Vick was first acquired by the team last preseason. The question has had different values of significance placed during that time. Last year, fans wondered if Vick would, or should even see the field at all. With Donovan McNabb set as the starter and Kevin Kolb as the backup, fans didn’t have to expect much from Vick.

Now with McNabb in Washington and Kolb trying to get the cobwebs out of his head, it is Vick who will take the field for the first time as the starting quarterback since 2006.

Just like his place in the QB pecking order, the expectations have now been raised for Vick — largely due to his 18-for-24 175 yards passing, 103 yards rushing performance in a half of football against the Packers.

Many fans were quick to dismiss Vick’s performance, pointing to the notion that the Packers had not game planed for Vick and if they had the results would not have been close to the same.

That could be true. However assuming that is a slight to Vick, who does have three Pro Bowl appearances to his credit. Dog fighting ring aside, the man does know how to play the position, even if he does it unconventionally.

So what can be expected of Vick?

Personally I expect to see Vick perform well, if not eye-poping against the Lions. For all of the hype about   Detroit being a team on the rise the Lions are still a mess defensively — well outside of Big Ndamukong Suh. That man is simply a beast. The rest of the defense is bellow average and I think Vick will again be able to use both his arms and legs to move the chains.

My guess — 65 percent passing, 210 yards and another 75 on the ground in an Eagles win.

You don’t have to like or respect Vick, but as an Eagles fan who wants to see their team win, you do need to root for him — at least this week, because the ball will be in his hands.

Full Training Camp now underway

The veterans are all in. Eagles Training Camp has officially begun.

As the Birds usher in a new era with the likes of Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Sheldon Brown no longer on the roster, this camp has a feel unlike any other in the last decade. For the first time there is a bit of uncertainty as to what to expect from this team. Will the youth movement result in the Eagles taking a step forward or back? Is Kevin Kolb the real deal at QB? What can we expect from the Eagle’s defense in Sean McDermott’s second season?

Over the next few weeks phillysportsblogs.com will examine those questions and many more.

But for today, here is a look at some highlights from last season as football fans get pumped up for their favorite time of year.

Mixed Messages

The Philadelphia Eagles released a statement Saturday saying that they are not considering releasing quarterback Michael Vick at this time. The questions surrounded the star because he is in the midst of an investigation of a shooting. After signing with the Eagles following his two years in prison, Vick had seemingly stayed out of trouble, until June 25th.

On the eve of his 30th birthday, a former defendant on Vick’s dog fighting case was shot outside Vick’s restaurant, where he was out celebrating. Vick insists that he was long gone from the restaurant by the time of the shooing, but questions still remain.

This latest incident just adds to the controversy that surrounds Vick. The former Virginia Tech star, who was previously imprisoned for his famous involvement in a dog fighting ring, was given a second chance by the Eagles, but he does not seem to be making the best of his situation. While it is understandable that he can not have control over everything that goes on around him, it would be in his best interest to try to stay under the radar as much as possible.

It seems that Vick has put the Eagles in a difficult position. With the release of Donovan McNabb this off-season, the team showed they are committed to quarterback Kevin Kolb, with Vick backing him up. Now the team will have to decide whether Vick is worth the risk.

Joe Gibbs doesn’t understand

Remember when Joe Gibbs was retired from football and just stuck with his racing team?

Yea, those were the good days.

Gibbs threw in his two sense about the Eagles trading Donovan McNabb. Naturally the former Redskins coach can’t understand the move and think the Eagles are fools. Bellow is an except of his conversation with ESPN’s First Take courtesy of our friends at Profootballtalk.com:

“I didn’t quite understand that one,” Gibbs said when asked about the trade in an interview on ESPN First Take. “Because what you’re doing is you’re taking someone in the division and giving them a quarterback.”

Gibbs said that he has first-hand knowledge of McNabb’s abilities from coaching against him, and that the Eagles just gave the Redskins exactly the kind of quarterback they need.

“My problem with Donovan was when we played against them, he hurt us,” Gibbs said. “He’s a big man, he scrambles out of the pocket, he’s hard to get down, and when he gets out of the pocket, he makes big plays down the field.”

Added Gibbs of McNabb in a Redskins uniform, “I think Philly’s going to be holding their breath on this one.”

Well Gibbs, we here at PhillySportsBlogs think you’re old and should have been out of the game years ago. … Speaking of that, take it away Jim Carry.

McNabb Apologizes

Donovan McNabb apologized Friday, to the fans in Philadelphia for not bringing home a Super Bowl trohpy to the city. The former Eagles quarterback spent 11 seasons in the city of brotherly love, taking the team to the 2004 Super Bowl and 7 playoff appearances, but was unable to bring home the ultimate prize.

The quarterback, who was traded to NFC East rival Washington Redskins during the off-season, feels that he let the city down by not achieving his goal. While many fans had hoped the face of the franchise would bring a much needed championship to the city, the overall feel seems to be sad to see him depart, especially to a rival.

So the question is, do you think Donovan needed to apologize? Whether he needed to or not, I think his intentions are good. He feels he let down a great amount of people who supported him, through the good and the bad, down and by acknowledging his own disappointment, shows how much he cares and looks fondly on his time in Philly.

McNabb has certainly cemented a place in Eagles history, only time will tell if his successor will be able to deliver a Championship.

What do you think of McNabbs apology?

McNabb-Westbrook together again?

Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook might still be teammates after all.

Westbrook was in Washington for a visit with the Redskins/ If the Skins decide to take a chance on Westbrook, he will be paired with McNabb, who the team acquired earlier in the offseason.

Bellow is an excerpt from an Associated Press report:

The longtime Philadelphia Eagles standout visited the Redskins on Wednesday. General manager Bruce Allen called it “a good meeting” and that he will “probably have some meetings down the road” with the 30-year-old back.

The Redskins already have plenty of experienced star power at the position. In addition to 28-year-old incumbent Clinton Portis, they’ve added 30-year-old Larry Johnson and 29-year-old Willie Parker this offseason.

While I still think Westbrook can be a great third down back I don’t see Washington would bring him on considering their depth at the position. If they do sign him, expect Portis, Johnson or Parker to be cut in training camp — maybe even two of the three.

For the Eagles sake I hope this doesn’t happen. Having McNabb come to town in a different uniform will seem strange enough without Westbrook being beside him.

Eagles give Kevin Kolb extension

Not that there was any question that Kevin Kolb was the Eagles leading man after the team traded Donovan McNabb to Washington earlier this month, but Philadelphia reinforced the point today signing Kolb to a one-year contract extension.

The deal gives Kolb a guaranteed contract of $12.26 million over the next two years.

This was a move expected by many. When the team trades away a player like McNabb it has throw some dollars to the new QB and that’s exactly what they did. Another smart thing about this deal is that it doesn’t cripple the team should Kolb not pan out as planned.

Read the complete details on philly.com.

Looking at the best possible scenario

Why the Washington Redskins?

Why trade a Pro Bowl quarterback to a team that plays in the same division?

These types of things just don’t happen.

Actually it has. And Eagles fans can only hope that the result repeats itself.

On April 21, 2002 A Prowl Bowl quarterback was shipped out of his longtime home to a struggling team in the same division. That quarterback was Drew Bledsoe. The reason he was replaced was, of course, Tom Brady.

Brady had become the city’s Golden Boy overnight as he led the team to a Super Bowl after replacing the injured Bledsoe in Week 3 of that season. The Patriots had two valuable quarterbacks and one of them had to go.

People think of this move as a no-brainer because of what Brady has done over the last decade, but it was by no means an easy decision.

In 2001 the Patriots awarded Bledsoe the richest contract in NFL history – 10 years $103 million. In nine seasons with the Patriots, Bledsoe rewrote the team’s record books, setting the franchise’s career passing records with 4,518 attempts, 2,544 completions and 29,657 yards while starting 123 of 124 games. He also had 166 touchdowns. He was the reasons fans showed up to games.

But the team had to make a decision – and there was no way Brady was the one who was going to go.

While happy about the title their team had just won, Patriots fans were apprehensive about sending a quarterback with Bledsoe’s resume to a divisional rival. When the Bills whipped them by 30 points in the season opener, and Bledsoe became an MVP candidate at the seasons midway point, fans really started to wonder if their management had made a terrible mistake.

It didn’t take long for Patriots fans to settle down. Brady led New England to two more Super Bowl wins, while Bledsoe never got the Bills to the playoffs and later fizzled in his final years with the Cowboys. The decision was the right one on every level.

Eagles fans can only hope for similar results.

The stories are not exactly the same. Brady won a title prompting the need to make a move, while Kolb simply won a pair of games. But much of the story is similar. For a decade Bledsoe was the Patriots; For a decade McNabb was the Eagles. Most people believed that while getting older Bledsoe still had plenty left in the tank; People feel the way about McNabb. The thought of Patriots fans seeing Bledsoe in a Bills uniform twice a year was hard to swallow; McNabb wearing a Redskins jersey makes people around here sick.

All fans can do right now is hope that management made the right decision here.

And hope that somehow, someway, the Kolb-McNabb decision turns out like the Brady-Bledsoe choice did.

That’s not too much to ask is it?

Did Reid get best value for McNabb?

Andy Reid has never been one to put on an entertaining press conference – ever.

So it should come to no surprise that Reid gave few details in his post -Donovan McNabb trade press conference. One thing that jumped out Sunday night was his refusal to answer a question which is sure to be discussed in Philly from now until the two teams meet next season.

The question: Was the offer from the Redskins (Second round pick this year, No. 37, and a third or fourth next year) the best on the table?

Reid sidestepped the question twice, answering that he did what was best for the Philadelphia and that he felt that Washington was a great fit for McNabb.

Later on CSN he repeated that he wanted to do what is best for Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles.

So was there a better offer from a team like the Raiders that wouldn’t have made McNabb happy? Did Reid turn down a better offer from Buffalo because McNabb didn’t want to be there? Did Reid’s personal relationship with McNabb have an impact on his business decision?

In a perfect world both McNabb and the Eagles could get got the best possible deal out of this. This isn’t a perfect world, though.

This is a question that will be debated often. It’s one of about 100 questions that have popped up since the deal went down.

For the first time since 1999 the Eagles will have a leader under center not wearing No. 5

The post-McNabb era has officially begun.

Donovan McNabb traded to Redskins

This time it’s not an April’s Fools joke.

According to espn.com, the Eagles have reached a deal to trade quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Redskins. That’s right, he’s staying in the NFC East.

Bellow is an excerpt:

The Philadelphia Eagles have reached agreement on a blockbuster intra-division trade that will send perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins according to multiple sources close to the situation.

The two sides still must finalize language, but McNabb is now headed to Washington. Sources said the deal involved the Redskins’ second-round pick in the 2010 draft and either a third- or fourth-round pick next year, depending on several factors.

The move means the Redskins now have a new starting quarterback and the Eagles have a new one as well in Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick is now in line as the team’s backup.

Read the whole story here:

The timing of the news is surreal as we are just hours away from the Phillies opening up their 2010 season. Boy is the city is going to be buzzing. Philly Sports Blogs will have much more reaction to McNabb going to a divisional rival once the story is officaly confirmed.

For now?

Wow. Just wow.

Raiders closing in on McNabb

It looks like the Donovan McNabb era in Philadelphia will truly be coming to an end.

ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Raiders have emerged as the front runner for the quarterback and have all of the ingredients for the trade in place.

You can read the entire article here.

After reading this report there is only one thought in mind: Only the Raiders.

Oakland appears willing to deal away its second round pick (No. 39 overall) for McNabb even if he does not sign a contract extension before the deal is completed. This means they would be giving away a top pick for a one-year rental. Does anyone believe the Raiders will contend next year even with McNabb? Of course not. They are several years away from contention, but with Al Davis running the ship this news is not all that surprising.

If these reports do turn out to be true I would have to laud the Eagles for making the move. Knowing that the team does not intend on bringing McNabb back after next year, the ability to get a high second round pick in a stocked draft this season is a good bargain.

The only losers in this deal would be Oakland.

And that’s something Raiders fans are quite used to now.

In case you missed it …

With all of the excitement in the NCAA Tournament this past weekend you may have missed some of the things that took place here in Philadelphia. Heck you may missed things because you had a family commitment or simply were out boozing with friends. We don’t discriminate here. Whatever the reason, Philly Sports Blogs has you covered. In what will become a Monday tradition, we unveil the first “In Case You Missed it.”

Because even though you are not always watching, we are.

Playing goalie for the Flyers might be the most dangerous position in all of sports right now. Johan Backlund, the latest victim of the injury bug, never even got a chance to show his worth. Making his first start in place of the injured Michael Leighton, who was in for the injured Ray Emery and the slumping Brian Boucher, Backlund left Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Penguins in the second period after aggravating a groin injury. Taking Backlund’s place on the roster is Carter Sutton, who was called up from the Phantoms. Sutton only appeared in four games for the Phantoms, going 1-2-1 with a 2.70 goals-against average.

The Flyers salvaged the weekend. The news wasn’t all bad for the Orange and Black as they put together their best effort in the month of March with a 5-1 thrashing of the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. It was a much needed win as it moved the Flyers into a 6th place tie in the Eastern Conference with Montreal and four points ahead of 9th place Atlanta.

The Sixers (yes they are still playing) actually put together a nice win on Friday, defeating the Atlanta Hawks, 105-98. It was the second-straight win for Philadelphia, something that could be cause for celebration they way the team has played. One of the recent revelations has been Jason Kapono, who has stepped into the starting lineup and produced. He scored 14 points against Atlanta, and 10 in Wednesday’s win against the Bucks. Who knew that putting an actual shooter on the floor would force opposing teams to lengthen their defense, thus creating more space for the other Sixers on the floor?

Donovan McNabb is still here. Nothing more to be said.

— Ryan Madson will open the season as the Phillies closer. With Brad Lidge set to start the season on the DL, Charlie Manuel elected to go with Madson over the newly-acquired Danys Baez. Madson struggled in that role last year, saving 10 of 16 games and posting a 5.82 ERA, but gets a clean slate to work with. So what happens if Madson starts the season on fire saving 6 of 6 games? Does Lidge still come back and take over?Likely, but it sure will be fun debating about it.

So there’s your Philly weekend in a nutshell, just in case you missed it.

A weekend free of McNabb trade rumors

Good news fans, you can watch the NCAA Tournament with ease today not having to worry if you’re going to miss anything in the Donovan McNabb rumor train.

At least that’s what our friends over at Profootballtalk.com are thinking.

The rate of Donovan McNabb news should slow down for a few days. We promise.

That’s because Eagles leadership is heading out on vacation this weekend. Andy Reid is in Utah and team president Joe Banner is headed to Florida.

The pace of rumors was set to ease up anyway. We’ve still got nearly a month to go before the draft, and there is little reason to think anything will happen until we get closer to April 22.

So for two day we should be free of any Raiders, Bills or Vikings news. But does anyone really belive nothing will pop up this weekend? I don’t.

Loud writer has lost touch with city

To be quite honest I’m surprised it took this long to bring my next guest into the woodshed.

He’s loud, obnoxious, and quite often out of touch with the Philadelphia fans he writes for.

Welcome Stephen A. Smith.

Smith made a name for himself nationally once he joined ESPN but has been known for his hate-spewed ramblings in Philadelphia for much longer.

Today Smith offered this observation on the whole Donovan McNabb trade drama:

McNabb should have demanded a trade by now. Who cares if it’s to the Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, or one of 13 other teams, by my count, that could desperately use McNabb’s services this season? With the Eagles having adopted their new and improved turncoat mentality, the biggest mistake McNabb appears to have made does not involve interceptions or NFC championship/Super Bowl losses.

His biggest mistake was not demanding a trade years ago.

The treatment McNabb has received year after year has been disgraceful. What has taken place this off-season has surpassed betrayal. And for what, exactly? One quarterback (Michael Vick) who’s still shaking off the rust of prison, and the other (Kolb) a bit rusty from riding the pine for three seasons.

You can read the story in it entirety here: Just be warned, you might have a headache before you are done.

He references the Eagles likely future quarterback as Kevin (Corn on the) Kolb. Really Smith? What are you seven?

He then goes back into the well about McNabb only having two quality receivers in his whole career of any quality in T.O. and DeSeasn Jackson. Seriously, how does that well have any water left?

It’s fine to argue that the Eagles would be making a mistake by trading McNabb, some people still feel that way. But in typical Smith fashion he offers nothing to explain why trading McNabb would hurt the franchise.

Of course when the trade does go down and if Kolb becomes a star overnight Smith will be the first one in line to tell you how he saw this coming a mile away.

He will do it in a loud, brash manner. That’s just his style.

Hey any chance that when McNabb gets traded, Smith can be thrown in the deal?