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Donovan McNabb Deserves Better
By Jorge Perez
 

Let 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.  

Few 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 bonus.  

 

Take 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.  

 

McNabb 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.  

McNabb 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.

 

Rush 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.

 

Michael 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.

 

 

As 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.  

There's 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.

 

The 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.

 

 

Simply 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.

 

              

Any questions, comments, suggestions email Clayton at clayton@geoclan.com.

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