Time to move on in Philly

By Os Davis  |   Monday, November 26, 2007  |  Comments( 1 )

Philadelphia Eagles
Got something to say?

Log In above and share your thoughts on this topic with other fans!

"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." -Sherlock Holmes.

"Elementary, my dear Data." -Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard.

Never after a loss has an argument to keep a third-stringer starting at quarterback been more compelling. Though the Eagles are nowhere near full-on rebuilding mode, those red skies and purple prose in Philadelphia indicate that the sun appears to be setting on the franchise: The Eagles' hard-fought defeat at the hands of the New England machine effectively ended the meaningful bits of their 2007 season.

And another confusing, infuriating year it has been for Philly fans. High expectations were dashed again, despite numbers that seem to suggest otherwise. Seriously, would you believe the NFL has this 5-6 team ranked as the league's sixth-best offense? Meanwhile, there's Brian Westbrook quietly putting together another career year of 1,200 yards rushing and 2,000 total yards.

Beyond the stats, watching these guys play is an additional mystery. After putting together a combined 25 points in Weeks 1 and 2, the Eagles went for 56 against the Lions. This was in turn chased with a brutal three-point performance against the Giants. Meanwhile, Detroit's Jon Kitna was allowed to go for 446 yards passing while the Eagle 'D' held Eli Manning to 135 the next week.

After a string of low-watt offensive performances and generally slack defensive efforts, the Eagles managed to momentarily come back from the dead like that one old dude in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with an impressive 33-25 win in front of 90,000-plus.

At this point, most observers will have asked conversationally or rhetorically, "What in Jaworski's name is up with these Jekyll-and-Hyde Eagles?" This writer was asking the question after Week 2 (and apologizing after the Lions win. And wanting to take back the apology in Week 5 ...), but the better part of three seasons now has been an echo of that same question.

The inescapable conclusion appears to center on leadership. Those intangibles that allow a quarterback to lead his team above the fray, that maddening "charisma" factor which not even the EA Sports guys have dared to quantify. You know, kind of like how Jeff Garcia took over the helm last season with doggedness and the somewhat limited skills and brought them from sub-.500 to the playoffs.

To be sure, bad play-calling has dogged these Eagles since the very first drive on opening day, which featured delay-of-game and false-start calls against the team on the first three snaps. Andy Reid's personal problems and off-field distractions are well-documented enough for most NFL observers to realize that this coach is not at the top of his game, but somehow the Eagles have stayed competitive in most losing efforts this year. Chicago, Green Bay and Washington all got nail-biters, but the Eagles just couldn't finish the job on the field.

Rebuilding hasn't begun yet, but perhaps it should now. Sometimes the popularly perceived drastic move is the smartest.

Perhaps this writer was slightly hasty in ending the man's career after lackluster play on opening day, but Donovan McNabb should sit the remainder of the year.

This team's not rebuilding, but the process is in sight. While Washington is building a youthful nucleus and Dallas looks fit to play high-level ball for years with a young 'D' and younger QB, McNabb is just beyond his prime while the team around him mostly ages. The truth is that the NFL's second-winningest quarterback simply hasn't performed consistently since the Super Bowl appearance 2005, going 14-14 as a starter and not seeing the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Kevin Kolb is waiting in the wings and McNabb seems like the most tradable player in the league right about now. How about some No. 5 for an early round draft pick, Chicago? Minnesota, perhaps?

The inescapable truth for the Eagles does more than imply an imminent slow decline into mediocrity: This iceberg of truth is waiting dead ahead. Imagine the 2010 Eagles replete with rookies in spots on the offensive line previously held by Jon Runyan (retired) and Shawn Andrews (free agent), while the underdeveloped Kolb futilely tries to run Reid's game plan designed for McNabb. Meanwhile, McNabb will be hanging on nursing a scowl and a 67.6 QB rating earned in the first three weeks of the season.

It's kinda like a greener version of today's Kansas City Chiefs. But worse.

In Philadelphia, it's time to move on.

RealFootball365.com: Always looking forward, never looking back all year-round.
Got something to say?

Log In above and share your thoughts on this topic with other fans! (1)


About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
Article Tools Share!   |  RSS  |  Bleacher Report About Bleacher Report