Readers' Answers

Your Eagletarian is still digging out from under the blizzard of e-mail sparked by the columns the past two days on Max Bowen, hard at work answering e-mailDonovan McNabb and how the Birds move forward. We're doing our best here at Eagletarian Central to answer as many as we can, but our faithful assistant, Max, keeps stopping to take naps.

Several readers have made interesting points. First, thanks to everyone who took time to respond and say they agreed. And thanks to everyone who took time to respond and say they didn't agree, except for a couple of you, who really don't belong in any sort of civilized debate. I'm sending Max over to squat on your lawns. When he finishes with the e-mails.

I thought I would highlight some thought-provoking responses, one from someone who still believes the Birs can win it all with Donovan, and a couple from fans who have their doubts.

First, from Kirk Savell:

"One... I saw the game. I know McNabb wasn't consistently sharp. But here's more evidence of how distorted a lens through which so many are viewing his performances. If he'd been a little bit sharper, completed say 3 to 5 more passes (let alone having Greg Lewis make that one big catch), he'd probably have thrown for about 425-435 yards, not 375. And that would have been the second-highest passing yardage in any (non-OT) NFL playoff game EVER. Yes, McNabb would have had to nearly set an NFL playoff passing record to NOT SEEM BAD in the eyes of so many Philadelphians. That, to me, is evidence of a horribly skewed perspective.

Second... When Jeff Garcia had that "fabulous" run in 2006, Philadelphia was clamoring for him to be the quarterback. After McNabb's run, the clamor seems, if anything, in the opposite direction.

But in Garcia's 4-1 regular season run (not counting the first game when McNabb was hurt or the last game, when Feeley played almost the whole game), Garcia completed 89 of 136 passes (65.4%) for 1091 yards, 9 TD's and 2 INT's... In McNabb's 4-1 run this season that got the Eagles into the playoffs, he completed 110 of 171 passes (64.3%) for 1,146 yards, 9 TD's and 1 INT.

In the playoffs, Garcia completed 32 of 61 passes (52.5%) for 2 TD's and 0 INT's. And one playoff win.
McNabb got 2 playoff wins, completing 73 of 121 passes (60.3%) for 5 TD's and 4 INT's.

Yet Garcia is the guy we need to win, and McNabb can't win? Not incidentally, the two playoff losses by both QB's were when our defense yielded 27 or more points.

And three... On Warner's winning drive Sunday, Joe Buck said something about one drive putting the guy into the Hall of Fame. Given the stakes at the moment, it wasn't an unreasonable comment. But look at that drive -- 9 rushes. And 3 passes to Larry Fitzgerald, who seemed to be always wide open and to have hands coated in glue. Warner also completed one pass to his tight end and the
screen play for the TD... I mean, God... If McNabb just had to hand off 9 times and pass 3 times to a guy like Fitzgerald -- we all saw what he did with T.O. -- then complete a screen to Westbrook and one pass to Celek... and then HE'S the Hall of Fame caliber guy.... Well, I don't think I need to complete the point to any sane observer.

Just please tell Andy Reid that McNabb isn't Brady or Montana and
he's got to, finally, build the offense and call the plays accordingly." 

Meanwhile, Kerry Reinhart speaks from the other perspective, putting aside all talk of stats for something more visceral:

"I agreed with you entirely in today's article… with one minor exception. McNabb is a wonderful athlete. He is not a Leader.

A wonderful athlete can win the Super Bowl with a strong leader as a head coach.

A wonderful head coach can win the Super Bowl with a strong leader as quarterback (and a counterpart like B. Dawkins on the defensive side).

A wonderful athlete as quarterback and wonderful head coach, neither of whom are leaders, cannot win a Super Bowl together.

A strong leader as quarterback and strong leader as head coach can, but usually will not win a Super Bowl because of the power struggle.

To summarize:

Wonderful + Wonderful = 0.

Leader + Leader = 0 (usually).

Wonderful + Leader = Super Bowl.

Leader + Wonderful = Super Bowl.

AND… Andy Reid is a wonderful head coach. He is not a Leader.

Therefore, we need a strong Leader as quarterback. Dononvan is not that." 

Along the same lines, expressed a bit more conventionally, is this from Tim Annett:

"As I guy who has lived in the DC-area since leaving Philly in Dec '99 I've been able to watch the majority of the Reid/McNabb era away from the cacophony of loudmouth haters who tend to dominate the sports conversation up there. Even though I am a diehard, I think the distance has given me some advantages, in terms of perspective, compared to say Joey Bagodonughts from Fishtown. Also having watched and listened to 'Skins fans gripe about their organization (and rightfully so) I think I have more of an appreciation for the success that the Eagles have had during this era. I think McNabb has a huge amount of talent. Here is my concern - I just don't think McNabb has "it". "It" being that tough to define quality of being able to raise your play in the biggest moments. I base this purely on subjective observations such as body language, look in his eyes, passes that seem thrown like a guy who is squeezing the ball too tight, clenching up, trying to throw a perfect curve ball and bouncing it 55 feet (apologies for the mixed sports metaphor). Having said all that, I still think the guy is the best QB in franchise history. So there is the conundrum. How do I feel good about the chance to win a Super Bowl w/this guy given what I just said about not having "it"?? And how can I argue that we should turn the page and move past him when there's a 90-95% chance you'll end up w/Mike McMahon (+/-) at the most important position on the field?? I'm left thinking that the only way we can win a Super Bowl is in a blow-out, or at least a pretty onesided game, and the chances of that are pretty slim."

Again, thanks to everybody. And if you don't get an answer to your e-mail, blame Max. Or Donovan.


To read our earlier post with some of the mock drafts, click here.