It's a start - unexpected and a little late, but a start nonetheless.
If you've been waiting for the Eagles to begin their off-season maneuvering and do something other than make minor additions or cut people - so long, Kevin Curtis and Co., hello, again, Hank Baskett - you aren't alone. For a while, I thought the Birds' front office had accidentally downed a bottle of Tylenol PM and fallen into an unshakable football coma.
Then, a few days ago down in Orlando during the annual NFL owners' meetings, people began poking Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman with their tape recorders and the pair cracked their eyes open for a brief moment. It was the first time the front office has appeared awake in months, maybe longer.
Reid gave a powerful and interesting quote to The Inquirer's Ashley Fox. In a shocking development for both the coach and everyone who's been following the saga, Reid was asked about the Eagles' quarterback situation.
Remember, after the Cowboys crushed the Birds' playoff hopes with the ease and glee of a do-it-yourself winemaker stomping grapes with his feet, Reid said Donovan McNabb would be his quarterback in 2010. At the end of that statement, and this is important, he said: "That's what I'm saying now."
It was the now we should have seized upon. The now was open to interpretation. The now gave Reid an out. And he took it this week - because now, today, things are radically different.
"This is the truth: Our three quarterbacks are Philadelphia Eagles," Reid told Fox. "People are entertaining us with offers. Nothing's been done, but we're evaluating all of them. That's the truth. There's not a lot really going on other than entertaining."
They're entertaining all of them? Interesting. Not even three months ago, Reid said McNabb would be his guy for this season and he sounded pretty certain and convincing. Now, by Reid's admission, the Birds are open to all offers. To which I say with gusto and sincerity: finally.
It's about time the Eagles stopped being black-and-white blockheads who always stick to the plan whether logic dictated it or not. As we've learned over the years, Reid is good at a lot of things, but adapting on the fly isn't one of them. But here he appears to have changed his mind, or at least opened it. That is as heartwarming a development as it is stunning.
There are people at the NovaCare Complex who believe that I'm overly critical of Joe Banner, Reid, and the organization, and that I don't give them the proper credit when/where it's due. (If I had any feelings, that would sting.)
To them, I'll say this: Congrats. Honestly. I applaud you. Not just for entertaining offers, but for lowering your asking price for McNabb and Kevin Kolb, according to a source cited by Fox a few days ago, from a first-round draft pick to a second, or a combination of picks. That's remarkable, commendable stuff. I'm thrilled.
Not that the Eagles care how we feel about their maneuvering. Which reminds me: Roseman talked to The Inquirer this week in Orlando about the Eagles' off-season and how, for a while, almost nothing happened. Roseman - and this will surprise almost no one - said that the Birds were doing just fine and that some outside the organization were looking at things the wrong way.
"We probably feel a little less bare than maybe the outside perception is," Roseman said in a story that added that the Eagles think of their critics as a "vocal minority."
Ah, yes, the oft-mentioned "vocal minority" - the Eagles' preferred version of the big, bad bogeyman who frightens the otherwise happy and content fan base and drags the town down to Scarytown. I'd like to tiptoe up behind Roseman in the dark, whisper that the Eagles have gone 50 years without a championship - 12 of which are owed to the ever-frustrating Reid regime - and shout: "Boo."
Wonder how high he'd jump.
Anyway, Howie, in the interest of positive feedback, here's some free (if obvious) advice: Moving McNabb would be a great start toward silencing your detractors, vocal minority or not.
In other not-so-surprising news, McNabb sounded less than enthusiastic about getting traded out of Philly.
"My position hasn't changed," McNabb said in a statement this week. "I've said all along that I'd like to win a Super Bowl and finish my career in Philadelphia. I understand the situation well, and just hope, whichever direction the Eagles decide to go in, they do it quickly."
That makes two of us, Donovan. In the interim, I'll settle for the Birds' thinking about moving in any direction at all.
napping in place any day.