Category Archives: Donovan McNabb

Birds Scalp Skins; Face Giants For First

Running back Jerome Harrison knifes his way through the Redskins en route to a 50-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Final Score: Eagles 59; Redskins 28
Eagles best play: Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson hook up on the opening play with an 88-yard touchdown pass.
Eagles worst play: The secondary left Washington TE Fred Davis wide open as he rumbled down the left sideline for 71 yards to set up the Redskins first score in the second quarter.

Three stars
M. Vick (PHI) – 20/28, 333 yards, 4 TDs. 8 carries, 80 yards, 2 TDs.
J. Harrison (PHI) – 11 carries, 109 yards, TD. 1 catch, 15 yards.
D. Patterson (PHI) – 2 interceptions, 5 tackles, 40-yard TD off interception.

Breaking down the game

VICK SIX — Michael Vick was in a whole different world on Monday. Vick threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns, giving him a grand total of six.

On the first play of the game, Vick and Jackson hooked up for an 88-yard score. The next score for the Eagles, Vick took it himself for a 7-yard touchdown run.

After the Eagles led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter, Vick hit Jeremy Maclin for a 48-yard touchdown to start the second quarter, giving the Eagles a 35-0 advantage only 15+ minutes into the game.

MISERABLE MCNABB — On the day of his 5-year, $78 million extension, McNabb played like he wanted to hand the check right back to Dan Snyder. McNabb was picked-off three times and his two touchdowns came in the second quarter when trailing, 35-0, at the time.

In the third quarter, McNabb was picked-off my Dimitri Patterson and returned 40 yards to the house, giving the Eagles a 59-21 lead.

HISTORIC FIRST — It was the first time in NFL history a road team scored 28 points in the first quarter.

It all started on the first play with the 88-yard Vick-to-Jackson connection. After forcing a Washington 3-and-out, the Eagles drove down field, capped off by a 7-yard score by Vick.

After forcing the Skins to punt again, Vick capped off a 63-yard drive with a 15-yard shovel pass to LeSean McCoy. After the Skins offense pulled another 3-and-out, Jerome Harrison pulled-off a remarkable 50-yard run to give the Eagles the 28-0 lead.

HARRISON > BELL — In a trade for back-ups, the Eagles were finally rewarded with their movement of Mike Bell for Jerome Harrison. Harrison rushed for 109 yards on only 11 carries and scored on a dazzling 50-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Harrison bursted up the middle through a whole you could drive Jon Runyan’s truck through, shook-off some sad tackling attempts by Asante Samuel’s clones, burst up the right sideline, and dove to the endzone for the score.

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PHI: 6-3, t1st in NFC East
NYG: 6-3, t1st in NFC East
Spread:
Where: Lincoln Financial Field (Philly, PA).
When: Sunday, 8:20 on CBS.
Last time met:
Last Week: The Eagles destroyed Washington, 59-28. The Giants got routed by Dallas, 33-20.

BATTLE FOR FIRST — In the last two weeks, the Eagles looked like a team on a mission. After battling it out with the Colts to a 26-24 win, the offense erupted for 59 points in a route over Washington.

New York has had a different last two weeks. They demolished the Seahawks, gaining national recognition as the most dominant team in the NFC. That was until they got handled by the lowly Cowboys, 33-20, on Sunday.

The interesting part of this match-up will be whether or not the Giants loss to Dallas was a fluke. The same goes with the offensive outburst by the Eagles.

Michael Vick is hungry to make something out of this season as he will be looking at a lucrative contract this off season. On the year, Vick completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,350 yards and 11 TDs with no interceptions. He’s also rushed for 341 yards on 44 carries and four scores. His passer rating is a stellar 115.1.

Giants QB Eli Manning, like the rest of the Giants, looked befuddled all game, getting handled by the lowly Coyboys, 33-20. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

This match up will feature two of the best teams in the NFC. The Eagles have scored the most points in the NFC and the Giants are fourth. Both teams are also 4-1 in their last five games.

Eli Manning is also enjoying a very strong year. He’s completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,448 yards and 19 touchdowns. But Manning has not done a good job of protecting the football, being picked off 13 times.

The Eagles are third in the NFL, averaging 151.1 yards a game while New York is fifth at 146.9.

But the main story this game will be defense. The Giants are the number one defensive team in the NFL right now, despite last week’s poor performance. But going up against an offense has dynamic as Philadelphia’s, this could pose a threat.

The game will feature the best offense in the NFC against the best defense. It’s a battle for first and advantage in the conference.

Roose’s Prediction (5-4): The Eagles prevail in this one, 28-21.

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Colts win prepares Birds for NFC rematch

The Eagles got their swagger back with the return of Jackson, who's 109 yards and touchdown sparked a huge win over Indy. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Final Score: Eagles 26; Colts 24
Eagles best number: 12-0 – Andy Reid’s record after the bye week.
Eagles worst number: 125 – penalty yards.

Three stars
D. Jackson (PHI) – 7 catches, 109 yards, TD.
A. Samuel (PHI) – 2 Interceptions.
J. Tamme (IND) – 11 catches, 108 yards, TD.

Breaking down the game

THEY’RE BACK! — DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick made it known that they have returned to full form on last Sunday’s win. Jackson was as dynamic as usual, racking up 109 yards over seven catches and a touchdown. In Vick’s return, he went 17/29 for 218 yards and a touchdown.

The likes of Kevin Kolb and Brent Celek did not rejoice. Kolb sat the side lines as the back-up quarterback, a familiar and frustrating role he’s been a part of for the past few seasons. Celek didn’t record a catch in the game and was targeted very little as Vick favors his dynamic receivers over his tight end.

RATTLING MANNING — In order to beat Peyton Manning, you have to rattle him. Manning had a very poor game, especially compared to the MVP-like stats he’s produced in the first half of the season.

Manning was sacked three times and picked off twice by Asante Samuel. He was rushed in his passes multiple times and many of the first downs Indy picked up were due to penalties. Manning was forced to throw 51 times and only got one touchdown out of it.

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Eagles vs. Redskins: MNF

PHI: 5-3, 2nd in NFC East
WAS: 4-4, 3rd in NFC East
Spread: Eagles by 3.
Where: Fed Ex Field (Landover, MD).
When: Monday, 8:30 on ESPN.
Last time met: Week 4 – Washington’s defense was too good for the Eagles, knocking Vick out of the game and for the next few weeks and keeping Kolb in check. Washington’s run game led them to a 17-12 win.
Last Week: The Eagles beat Indy, 26-24. Washington was on a bye.

Watching from the sidelines, McNabb was benched in favor of Grossman two weeks ago. He will get his second chance this Monday vs the Eagles. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

SECOND CHANCES — McNabb is going to be the player to watch in this one again. For starters, head coach Mike Shanahan made a big deal about McNabb’s start last time around, giving him the game ball for virtually not giving the game away.

McNabb was benched two weeks ago for the two-minute drill in favor of Rex Grossman. On Grossman’s first play to lead his team to glory, he was sacked and fumbled. Shanahan explained that McNabb was not in shape nor had good numbers in the clutch situation, a slap to the face of the former Eagle.

McNabb isn’t having a lucrative season either in Washington. He’s completed 57% of his passes for 1,971 yards and only seven touchdowns while being picked-off eight times. Another poor outing against the Birds and McNabb’s season could be in jeopardy to a permanent benching to Grossman.

Roose’s prediction (4-4): Vick gets his vengeance on the Skins in a conference blow-out, 31-13.

Eagles Mistakes Costly

Final Score: Eagles 12; Redskins 17
Eagles best number: 124 (yards passing they held Redskins QB Donovan McNabb to).
Eagles worst number: 169 (yards rushing Washington had).
Eagles best play: S Nate Allen picked-off McNabb inside the 5-yard line.
Eagles worst play: McNabb connected with TE Chris Cooley, who was wide open, for a 31-yard touchdown to make it a 14-0 game.

Three stars
L. McCoy (PHI): 16 carries, 64 yards rushing. 12 catches, 110 yards receiving.
L. Fletcher (WAS): 10 tackles, two assists.
E. Sims (PHI): 5 tackles, assist, sack.

Breaking down the game

Eagles QB Michael Vick is in pain after being crunched by two Redskins defenders down at the goaline. The ply was ruled dead due to holding and Vick left the game with a rbi injury. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

INJURIES — The Eagles offense suffered a huge blow with rib injuries to QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy. Vick suffered an injury to his rib cartilage, something that will be week-to-week and bother the athletic quarterback for the remainder of the season.

Vick scrambled for 17 yards on the play, taking the ball down to the goal line. But Vick was sandwiched in between two Redskins. Making the play even worse, Jason Peters got called for a hold, negating the huge gainer as Vick was hurt for nothing.

McCoy suffered a broken rib in the fourth quarter of the Eagles loss to Washington. His status is uncertain. It’s a huge blow to their already lacking running game. McCoy is Kolb’s favorite target and is a very important part in their run and passing game.

BAD PENALTIES — Penalties killed the Eagles the entire game against Washington. On the defensive side of the ball, they prolonged drives for the Redskins and holding calls by an offensive line in shambles halted drives their own completely. Overall, the Birds racked-up 80 yards on eight penalties.

Ernie Sims got hit for a roughing the passer on McNabb early in the game (though replays showed it was a weak call) which prolonged a drive. McNabb was picked-off later in the drive.

Max-Jean Gilles, Jason Peters (twice), and Todd Herremans all got called for holding, a coaches ultimate pet peeve and pure example of a lineman getting beat.

JACKSON’S DISAPPEARING ACT — It’s been made very clear that Kevin Kolb and DeSean Jackson are not on the same page. It’s not about being bad teammates or favoritism. It solely relies on Kolb’s lack of athletic ability and the offensive line’s inability to allow Jackson or Jeremy Maclin to get open.

The reason Jackson and Maclin exploded the past couple weeks was because Vick has the ability to avoid the pass rush, extend plays, and let the two speed demons wear down the secondary to get open for big gainers.

Kolb can’t do that. When the line breaks down, Kolb is put on his back or is forced to make a bad throw or forced to dump it off to McCoy, who made 12 catches before getting hurt Sunday. Even last year with McNabb’s athletic ability to avoid the rush and let Jackson and Maclin get open, it shows that the lack of time in the pocket is the reason Jackson has disappeared again and will continue to disappear in the upcoming weeks Vick is not out there.

Redskins QB Donovan McNabb celebrates after throwing a 31-yard touchdown to TE Chris Cooley in the first quarter Sunday. McNabb beat his former team 17-12. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

MCNABB A NON-FACTOR — McNabb started out with decimating the Eagles defense. But it was to the help of his running game, which has been dead all season. Roland Torrain and Clinton Portis combined for 125 yards on the ground as Washington racked up 169 rushing yards.

McNabb disappeared after his 31-yard touchdown strike to Cooley in the second. He finished the game 8-for-19 with 125 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. His only other good pass came when WR Anthony Armstrong burned the secondary for a rolling 59-yard catch.

But the most damage McNabb did was after the game when he announced that, “everyone makes mistakes in their lives and (the Eagles) made one last year.” McNabb said this after the game when Mike Shannahan undeservedly gave McNabb the game ball.

Mr. Shannahan, McNabb did nothing to warrant the game ball. I would have cut the ball in half and give it to Torrain and Portis. McNabb’s 125 yards and 42% completion percentage was awful. Unless you’re just satisfied he didn’t puke on the field, McNabb was not your star.

NFL Week 4: Eagles vs. Redskins

PHI: 2-1, 1st in NFC East
WAS: 1-2, t2nd in NFC East
Spread:
Where: Lincoln Financial Field (Philly, PA)
When: Sunday, 4:15 PM on __
Last time met: Nov. 29, 2009 – Donovan McNabb led the Eagles on a fourth-quarter game winning drive as they downed Washington 27-24 in Philadelphia.
Last Week: Eagles beat the Jaguars, 28-3. Washington lost to St. Louis, 30-16.

Best case scenario: The Eagles spoil McNabb’s homecoming, shutting him down completely. Vick outshines his former teammate, throwing for over 300 yards for the first time since 2005 and a pair of touchdowns to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Trent Cole gets to McNabb twice and Asante Samuel returns an interception for a touchdown.

Worst case scenario: Washington ends Vick’s little streak of good luck. McNabb puts on a show infront of his former fans, throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns, two to Santana Moss. Clinton Portis rushes for 100 yards and a touchdown. The Skins defense forces Vick to throw his first two interceptions of the year.

Redskins QB Donovan McNabb enjoyed 11 seasons in Philadelphia.

Opposing player to watch – QB Donovan McNabb: Could it be any more obvious. The media has hyped up this match-up, centering it around Vick and McNabb. Why not add to the fire. McNabb played 11 years in Philadelphia as the franchise quarterback. After leading the Eagles to five Conference championship games and one Super Bowl, he was traded to Washington for a 2nd-round pick that turned into rookie safety Nate Allen. McNabb is 62-for-102 for 833 yards and two touchdowns. It will be interesting to see what type of reaction McNabb will get in Philly. Will he be cheered or will he get the boo bird special.

Offenses: Vick has turned into one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL again. Three years removed from the good-ole days, Vick is 54-for-79 with 705 yards and six touchdowns while throwing no interceptions. Jackson and Maclin are coming off of a pair of huge games against Jacksonville. Both are favorite targets for Vick, who has bought them a lot of time to get open with his legs. LeSean McCoy is still playing strong for Philly. Brent Celek has yet to have one his big games like last year.

McNabb is the new face of the Skins offense. He’s found a new target in Moss, who has caught 22 bals for 290 yards and one touchdown. McNabb has always utilized the tight end and has a very good one to throw to in Chris Cooley. Cooley has 14 grabs for 197 and a touchdown. Their ground game is very weak. Clinton Portis has 140 yards on 38 carries, an average of 3.7.

Advantage: The Eagles offense is rolling while Washington’s is stalling. Advantage, Birds.

Defenses: The Eagles finally got their best game from this unit last week. They stuffed Maurice Jones-Drew and held Mike Sims-Walker to minimal damage as Jacksonville could only get a field goal against them. Asante Samuel and rookie Nate Allen lead the Birds stingy secondary. A healthy Stew Bradley makes their run-stopping game that much better. He’s also a great coverage line backer and will have his hands full with Chris Cooley this week.

Washington is in shambles defensively. Albert Haynesworth isn’t panning out and they are coming off of back-to-back poor performances against Houston and St. Louis. Honestly, I would be shocked if Vick doesn’t have a field day. Brian Orakpo, who leads the team with two sacks, is their most dynamic player. He could get to Vick a couple times seeing as how bad the Birds offensive line has been this season.

Advantage: Eagles defense is coming off a strong performance and should roll again. Advantage, Birds.

Injury Report
Eagles
: Ernie Sims practiced Friday and should be fine. Mike Bell is sick and didn’t practice Friday.
Redskins: Questionable: A. Haynesworth (thumb), D. Hall (back), C. Portis (wrist).

Roose’s Prediction (3-0): Eagles shut down Skins, 24-10.

Pro Bowl Wrap Up

I only watched a little bit of the game as the Royal Rumble and even Grammy’s were more entertaining to watch. I saw a bit of the first and second quarters as DeSean Jackson was amazing, McNabb had me screaming to not hurt his trade value, and Leonard Weaver and Jason Peters didn’t do anything special. Asante Samuel was beat as well in the secondary.

McNabb’s appearance was bitter-sweet for me. I am a huge McNabb supporter and think he is truly a Hall of Fame QB (by Warren Moon’s standards) but seeing him play like that just proved once again why he is not the right QB for the Eagles and needs to be traded. He was picked off early in his appearance by LaMarr Woodley and had it returned for a TD but the play was blown dead after off-setting penalties. He was then picked off by his former team mate, Brian Dawkins.

McNabb did score a TD even though it came off of a 58-yard screen play to Jackson, his second of the night. When Jackson wasn’t doing all the work for McNabb, he was air-mailing and short-hopping his receivers, the same thing us fans watched all season.

Here are the stats for the Eagles players:

Donovan McNabb: 3/10 for 78 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 4 carries for 26 yards
DeSean Jackson: 6 catches, 101 yards, 2 TD’s; 1 PR for 8 yards
Asante Samuel: 1 interception with a 35-yard return
Quinton Mikell: 3 tackles
Trent Cole: 1 tackle
David Akers: FG 2/2, XP 4/4

Overhauling NFL Overtime

I know we’re a Philly sports blog, but we do care about the leagues that our teams play in.  Last Sunday, if you tuned into the NFC Championship, you saw that the Saints and Vikings went to overtime, for the chance to go to the Super Bowl.  The Saints won the overtime coin toss, and the Vikings never got the ball, as New Orleans kicked a game winning field goal.  The question remains: Is NFL overtime fair?

Detractors of changing the current setup could point to this recent game and say the Vikings should have not fumbled so much, or called the different side of a coin.  The fact is still there that 60% of coin flip winners win the game.  In a high magnitude game such as a Conference Championship, a coin flip shouldn’t decide the outcome of the game.  Sure, many times the first offensive team commits a turnover (thanks, Brett Favre) or has to punt, but it’s not always the case.

It is also said that the league doesn’t want longer games because it’s not good for the health of the players or good for TV.  I agree with the league on not being good for players, as these guys get beat up so much during regulation.  However, not being “good for TV”?  People love drama, and NFL overtime IS drama.  People would tune in, especially in the case of an epic struggle.  What’s not good for TV is a commercial break every five minutes.

Just look at the other three sports, all three sports give both teams a chance to score in their respective overtimes.  The NFL should, too.  My idea would be this: coin toss to decide who gets the ball, kickoff, let one team drive, if they score, then kickoff and see if the other team can drive down the field and tie it up.  Basically it would be a modified NCAA rule, but you’d have to earn field position (instead of starting at the opponents’ 20).  If the first team throws an interception that is run back for a touchdown, game over.  It does leave the possiblity of an endless game, but highly unlikely teams will either keep scoring, or keep shutting the other down.

Anyway, I doubt the NFL will consider changing their format regardless of reading this blog entry or not.  Either way, the NFL is the most popular league in the country, and not having both teams get the ball in overtime won’t change that.

*************************************************************

Both Donovan McNabb & Quintin Mikell are heading to Miami.  No, not to play in the Super Bowl, but the Pro Bowl on Sunday.  McNabb is replacing Saints QB Drew Brees and Mikell will be replacing Saints S Roman Harper.  Apparently, Sheldon Brown, a second alternate at cornerback, turned down the opportunity to play in the game, citing personal reasons. The game will be 8:00 Sunday night on ESPN, for those of you who are interested.

A Familiar Road

Two weeks removed from another heart breaking loss in the playoffs have left Eagle fans searching for answers once again. Does Andy Reid need to go? Is the Donovan McNabb era done? Is Kevin Kolb ready to take the reins? Is the offensive line good enough as it is now? Who do we draft in April? I’ve certainly been asking myself these questions a lot and have found myself asking random Philly fans at Flyers games or those who walk into my liquor store who look like they know a thing or two about football.

Lets address Reid first. He is signed through 2012 meaning we have to endure three more years of watching a 60% pass-heavy offense. Yes the Eagles have the extraordinary talent and skill at the receiving position in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Kevin Curtis, and Brent Celek but a lack of balance has killed this offense many times versus good defenses, especially Dallas three times this year. Reid is not a terrible coach, in fact he’s an excellent coach, but he is not getting the job holding the play card. Fortunately for him, there is not a better option out there to replace him (unless Tony Dungy or Bill Cowher decide to enter the coaching world again).

Now to our quarter backs. People started calling for Kevin Kolb again during Week 17 and the Wild Card after the offense couldn’t get anything going versus the Cowboys. McNabb’s completion percentage was around 60%, a terrible number when you’re in a West Coast-style offense that relies on the short passes and screens. There were a number of times where he would over throw the speedy Jackson and Maclin, throw behind the sure-handed Celek and Avant, or throw at the feet of LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver.

I am not turning on McNabb at all. I have supported him time and time again and will continue to as long as he is our #5. But we are in a similar position that Green Bay was in two years ago. I am not saying Kolb and McNabb are of the same caliber as Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers (though I hope Kolb. This is the same scenario. You have a proven franchise QB who has been in the system for over 10 years and is a fan favorite but you have a good young QB who was drafted to be the successor but has been holding a clip board for a couple years.

What does that mean? It means the Eagles need to trade McNabb to a team who is willing to cough up a top 15 pick for him. I do believe McNabb is worth that pick. I then see Kolb taking the starting spot for next year.

Now I want to cover the draft since we now have two first round picks in my dream world. They need help in two spots, maybe three: safety, strong-side linebacker, and maybe right guard. Texas’ Earl Thomas or USC’s Taylor Mays could be good choices for the safety spot and I’d like to see that addressed first.

Now the reason I think that only one offensive line spot needs improving is that I don’t see a whole lot wrong with our o-line. Jason Peters, the LT, will not have another bad year despite making the Pro Bowl. LG Todd Herrimans and C Jamaal Jackson had great years despite Jackson’s being cut short in Week 16 with a torn ACL. Winston Justin played some great ball at RT, making the signing of Stacy Andrews seem pointless. Now his brother Shawn needs to focus this off season, mature, lose weight, and get his back straight. I made a comment to him on Twitter and he said he wants to play again. Just incase he is still a question mark, I think Reid should use his knowledge and draft another good guard.

Now I didn’t make this one of my questions but it is a hot topic as well: Brian Westbrook. Our beloved B-West could potentially retire because of his knee injuries sustained the past couple of years. We’ve seen Barry Sanders retire because he didn’t want to have bad knees and we’ve also seen Terrell Davis retire because after his knee injury, he wasn’t the same explosive back he once was. I would love to see a healthy Westbrook/McCoy tandem next season but it is a big question mark on whether or not it will happen.

There is a lot to do this offseason. Outside of McNabb, the rest is minor tweaking. Though Reid said McNabb is the guy in 2010, a change is very likely and we will see in the next couple months if it will be McNabb taking the snaps or the start of the Kolb Era.