Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles' backup plan?

The Eagles have no options now, it appears.

Eagles' backup plan?

I am going to make a good-faith effort here to try to forget for a minute that Donovan McNabb has turned himself into a national punch line by not knowing that an NFL game can end in a tie. Although it will be hard -- the day began with "Mike and Mike" incredulous on their ESPN Radio/TV/Podcastapalooza, and the news cycles will just roll from there -- I'm going to try to keep this to football.

The last time McNabb had a game as bad as Sunday's four-turnover game in Cincinnati was in 2003. It was the second game of the season against the New England Patriots, a complete disaster. The Eagles were 0-2 and reeling. The quarterback was playing terrible football. Then as now, everybody said there was no physical problem. It was just happening, inexplicably.

Reid's response back then was the three-headed monster running game featuring Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook. Even though he never really admitted it out loud, Reid changed his play-calling somewhere between subtly and noticeably. He ran it more, called a more traditional game, leaned on other people. And it's funny -- even though McNabb stabilized some, he was never really great in 2003. But the Eagles made it to another NFC Championship Game because they were able to take an alternate approach.

This year, there is no obvious backup plan. I have said it before and will say it again: that is Reid's failing here, this lack of a fallback plan in so many areas. But this one stands out. It is hard to believe they could even think about shifting to a more run-oriented offense at this point, not with the short-yardage problems the team has had, not with Westbrook looking as beat up as he often looks, not as long as they continue to pretend that there has been Federal legislation enacted that makes it illegal for Buckhalter to touch the ball more than twice a game.
 
They appear to be stuck here.

Oh, you've noticed?

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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