me begin by saying that i am not an Eagles
fan. My personal feelings towards
the team can best be described by a single
word: loathe. That being said I
happen to be a fan of Eagles quarterback
Donovan McNabb. And I absolutely
can't believe the amount of criticism
and abuse he has to take since he first
entered the league.
will forget the merciless booing heaped
on him when the Eagles selected McNabb
over Ricky Williams. The same Ricky
Williams who lasted three seasons in New
Orleans before being shipped to Miami.
This is the same Ricky who left
his teammates hanging out to dry when
he suddenly retired just before the 2004
season. The same Ricky Williams
who came crawling back this season when
he found out he had to return his signing
a look back at that 1999 Draft Class and
check out those other first round QB's.:
Cade McNown, bust. Akili Smith
and Tim Couch, colossal busts.
The only other QB who comes close is Daunte
Culpepper, who has put together some excellent
statistical seasons but hasnt led his
team to a Super Bowl berth like McNabb
has. Don't forget that Culpepper
had the luxury of throwing to Hall of
Fame caliber receivers: Cris Carter and
Randy Moss. Hands down, McNabb
has been the best of that group.
has had many critics over the years.
Troy Aikman criticized him for not being
accurate enough. Fair enough, McNabb
has had only one season completing over
60 percent of his passes. However
Troy Aikman had the good fortune of handing
of to Emmitt Smith 25-30 times a game.
Aikman also got to throw to perennial
Pro Bowlers Michael Irvin and Jay Novacek.
Aikman also had the good fortune
of lobbing jump balls to Alvin Harper.
has had recievers who were mediocre at
best. James Thrash is a number 3 or 4
reciever at best.Todd Pinkston has some
talent but tends hear footsteps over the
middle. Chad Lewis isn't a tight
end who stretches the field. And
who can forget the Freddie Mitchell fiasco.
McNabb had basically one season
to show what he could do with an elite
reciever, and he had an MVP type season,
unfortunately it was the same year that
Peyton Manning rewrote the record book.
Oh, by the way, Peyton Manning
hasn't made it to the Super Bowl either.
Limbaugh said McNabb was overhyped because
he is an African-American quarterback.
The same Rush Limbaugh who admitted
being addicted to presciption painkillers
and is possibly a bit racist.
Maybe McNabb was a bit overhyped.
But he's was not the first and surely
wont be the last. Eli Manning is
overhyped, not surprising since he plays
in a large media market, just like McNabb.
Brett Favre is way overhyped. If
you want to talk about a player overhyped
because of his race, ex Giants cornerback
Jason Sehorn is the first and last word
that should be spoken.
Irvin goaded Terrell Owens into criticizing
McNabb, saying that the team would have
been undefeated if Brett Favre was the
quarterback. No question that Brett
Favre has been a great player throughout
his career, but his best days are long
gone. Favre also has made some
head scratching throws in crucial situations
in the latter stages of his career, the
playoff game against the Eagles namely.
Favre blindly heaving it up for
grabs to Eagles defenders to end the game
was probably the worst single throw in
a postseason game. On second thought Neil
O'Donnell gets the award for the worst
two throws because was in the Super Bowl
and Larry Brown benefited from them winning
Super Bowl MVP.
if all the other critics weren't enough,
the NAACP of all organizations, took shots
at McNabb in perhaps the ultimate Et tu
Brute? moment. The notion that
Donovan McNabb is "selling out"
by becoming more of a pocket passer than
a scrambler is utterly ridiculous.
Steve McNair has become more of a pocket
passer as he's gotten older. Steve
Young didn't become an elite quarterback
until he became a better passer. Daunte
Culpepper doesn't scramble all that much
anymore. Byron Leftwich is a pocket
passer. Doug Williams won the Super
Bowl by shredding the Denver Broncos defense
through the air. Finally, as exciting
as Michael Vick is, he's more likely
to make it to the Super Bowl now that
he's maturing as a passer. The
reason is that when teams have to respect
a quarterback's ability to run AND pass
it makes him much more difficult to defend.
Also, its a lot easier to throw
a ball 50 yards downfield for a touchdown
than to run through a gauntlet of defenders
who would love nothing more than to take
a quarterbacks head off when he tucks
the ball and heads up the field.
The best quarterbacks pick their spots
to scramble to move the chains and keep
the offense moving downfield.
a reason why NFL teams don't run the option,
the quarterbacks would get destroyed by
the bigger, faster, stronger, and
nastier defenders at the pro level.
All in all, it doesn't matter how he does
it, the quarterbacks job is move his offense
down the field and put points on the board.
latest critic to pile on McNabb is Hugh
Douglas. Douglas said McNabb isn't
a vocal leader. Leaders lead by
what they do, not what they say.
A guy can say things that sound great
but if he cant get it done on the field
where it counts, what's it worth?
Who's a better leader, Peyton Manning?
Manning sold out his offensive
line after getting embarrassed in the
playoffs yet again. McNabb has
always been a leader. He played
a lot of minutes for the Syracuse basketball
team, not because he was the best player
but because he was a leader. They
literally had a quarterback out on the
floor. You don't have the team
success the Eagles have had since McNabb
has been at the helm if your quarterback
isn't a leader. It doesn't make
your job easier when teammates are openly
criticizing you either.
put, Donovan deserves better. He
may not be the best QB in the league but
he's way up there. He's had to
perform under constant pressure; playing
in a tough town, unfair criticism, being
the face of a franchise. Look at
the facts, despite all the obstacles he's
delivered. He's still chasing that
elusive Super Bowl ring and I hope he
gets it. I recommend he place it
on his middle finger and show it to all
those people who have criticized him,
but I'm sure he wouldn't do that.
Amazingly he's handled all his criticism
with dignity. Without knowing him
personally I'd say he's done good things
as a man. And look forward to more
of the same.
comments, suggestions email Clayton at