I decided to sit down and write this column after recently taking stock of the Philadelphia Eagles and theorizing that the Eagles had better start to begin the process of picking a long-term successor for quarterback, Donovan McNabb.
Of course, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Eagles will one day need a “permanent” successor to McNabb, but I’ not sure if most fans, or even the Eagles organization themselves, know that the window for winning with McNabb at the helm is closing a lot quicker than they think.
As a matter of fact, I’m beginning to question if the Eagles can ever win a Super Bowl championship with McNabb at the helm.
Let me count the ways.
First off, McNabb’s recent injuries, which have been of a semi-serious nature, are going to take its toll on the burly McNabb, who weighs well over 200 pounds.
McNabb has never been the most polished passer in the pocket and has generally won games throughout his career by making medium-range throws or by using his fading elusiveness on runs that seemingly gained 10 yards a pop.
Now McNabb will be even less mobile and will have to rely more on making stationary throws, making him less effective and lowering his already mediocre career completion percentage.
Second on my list of reasons of why I now question whether the Eagles will ever win with McNabb at quarterback has more to do with what’s between his ears than his performance on the field.
The Eagles, and most football teams in general, seem to respond better to a quarterback that has a commanding presence and a ‘fight ’til the death’ mentality, a la, Jeff Garcia. I believe that McNabb has always been a little too laid back and a little too, front-office friendly, to really have his teammates unbridled respect.
Meaning, I don’t think many Eagles players would run through a brick wall for McNabb the way some players would for Peyton Manning,Tom Brady or Brett Favre.
As a matter of fact, I fully believe that if New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, were the Eagles starting quarterback, this team would probably be headed to the Super Bowl instead of struggling to make the playoffs.
Even looking at the Eagles now and how they have rallied around veteran quarterback, Jeff Garcia, it’s painfully evident that this team only needed a real leader to really take off.
Now, I didn’t initially sit down to write this column and rip McNabb, I’m just being a realist about the Eagles future state, which could be here before we know it.
Having said that, here’s a plan of action that could help the Eagles down the road.
The Eagles should either, draft a college quarterback in the middle to late rounds that has a legitimate chance of making it in the NFL or acquire a young talented backup that has a realistic chance to be a starter and groom him for a few years, preferably, and most likely, it will be option number one.
I am a firm believer that talent can be found in every round of the NFL draft and that if the Eagles get lucky, they could theoretically end up with their “quarterback of the future”.
Here are a few players I would think long and hard about possibly selecting in the 2007 draft next summer if I were working in the Eagles front office.
Well, we know the likes of Brady Quinn, Brian Brohm and Drew Stanton will be long gone before the Eagles even think about selecting a quarterback, which, by the way, they shouldn’t do until the sixth round anyway. As a matter of fact, John Beck, Drew Stanton and Troy Smith will all be gone by then as well.
The player I would possibly go after is UTEP senior, Jordan Palmer, brother of Cincinnati Bengals star, Carson Palmer – and not just because of the bloodlines either.
Palmer is a pretty good player himself and one I believe has a huge upside with the right coaching. In two seasons as UTEP’s starter, Palmer has thrown for over 7,300 yards and 55 touchdowns. I know Plamer has also thrown 37 interceptions, but at 6-foot-5 233 pounds, he’s got all the physical attributes to be a top NFL QB. If the Eagles can straighten out Palmer’s issues with consistency, which all young quarterbacks go through, they could find themselves with a diamond in the rough. However, Palmer may also be long gone before the Eagles even get around to thinking about selecting a quarterback, which, to be honest about it, isn’t real high on their list of needs.
At any rate, the Eagles may also want to take a look at Sam Keller from Arizona State. This kid has got a big arm and all of the physical tools to make it at the next level. Personally, I’d like to see the Birds nab BYU quarterback, John Beck, a player I believe would fit into their version of the West Coast offense perfectly.
The bottom line is that the Eagles should know by now that you can never have too many insurance policies at quarterback in the NFL. What often looks like a short drizzle can many times turn out to be a torrential downpour – and if the Eagles don’t know by now that they should carry their umbrellas at all times, then I guess they deserve to end up all wet.