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On Giants-Eagles, 12/9 – Are You McNabb Haters Going To Blame Him For This One?

Let’s get this out of the way now: that Giants pass rush is ferocious, and with targets like L.J. Smith and Reggie Brown doing their best to jog to and sit down in completely covered zones, McNabb’s avoiding the rush was quite frankly spectacular. He’s moving incredibly well and with good speed.

Oh, and in case you want to dispute how crappy the receiver set McNabb has is, here’s Mike Tanier from Football Outsiders:

You know who I don’t want to see play football anymore? L.J. Smith. He didn’t have a terrible statistical game [against the Seahawks], but he missed some opportunities to haul in catchable balls that would have made a difference. I am tired of seeing him fall down after every catch. His production can be measured in Inches After Catch. This is a contract year, I think, so hopefully I won’t see him in Philly next year. He’s not terrible; he just seems like a guy we’ve been settling for four years while Chris Cooley, Jason Witten, and Jeremy Shockey make a difference for the other teams in the division.

And regarding Reggie Brown, Jason Hutt has this observation from earlier in the season:

Reggie Brown looked disinterested against both the Giants and Redskins. Fairly disappointing in what should be a breakout year.

But back to McNabb – his throws were pretty decent too, but what makes McNabb especially good is his ability to read the field.

All of you who were praising Feeley because of his throwing the ball out on a first read, I think, have to eat crow (h/t to Josh for pointing out Feeley’s “quickness” as going to his first read. Also, I should credit Josh for the “blame Andy Reid for this crap season” view, he’s the one who’s been quite forward about how stupid the playcalling has been generally). Feeley’s picks in previous games were a direct result of that “throw the ball immediately” mentality, and watching the coverage the Giants were playing he would have thrown probably 5 interceptions that game. I could be wrong about this, but my suspicion is that the “McNabb holds the ball too long” complaint should really be praise for him being patient and not trying to force plays.

That McNabb completes the number of passes he does to this receiver set makes me wonder what would happen if we asked Peyton Manning or Tom Brady how successful they might be with only receivers like L.J. Smith or Kevin Curtis. Granted, Curtis and Baskett have been playing great football in terms of run blocking and stepping up the best they can. But they’re not able to get the separation in man coverage or tight zones that is needed to, I dunno, play in the NFL. My money is that if you asked Manning the Greater or Brady about playing with those receivers, they’d laugh in your face. We’ve already seen Manning have hell this year with his starting receivers out.

Josh has observed that the difference this season is who’s missing – Donte Stallworth, as we all know, was on the Eagles last year but actually wanted to get paid for getting open and being a threat. So he was let go and joined New England, which we all know is having a terrible year, and he is an integral part of their carnival of suck.

I remember the days when the Eagles had Charles Johnson and Torrance Small and I was just a kid and even I knew that they weren’t going anywhere with those receivers. I think McNabb deserves better than for the only decent receiver in his tenure here to have been T.O. Roy Williams at Detroit is complaining about his touches there – hint, hint Eagles management, he’d be a great add for next year.

Seriously, this team is getting old and the injury bug will hit next year too. But I think the talent for the future can be cultivated while the current roster is just added to, minus the parts that are utterly and completely unproductive. It’s not clear the receivers Philly has are NFL quality, and the defensive tackles need to most certainly be upgraded, and the secondary needs some more depth (notice the difference in how the defense attacks when Dawkins is out – the defense is far too reliant on him). A few upgrades via free agency while planning some years ahead in the draft isn’t too much to ask for: next season doesn’t have to be as crappy as this one, not at all.

6 Comments

  1. What’s sad is that LJ is projected to make big money on the free market next year. Supposedly, a lot of teams are very interested. I wish this were like baseball and we could trade him now for money, a draft pick, and a player to be named later.

    LJ was absolutely atrocious yesterday. He dropped some very catchable balls at crucial times, and his pass protecting and run blocking were non existent.

    McNabb does hold the ball a little too long – he needs to throw it out of bounds or run for the yardage. You can see the hesitation at times and I wonder if it is really problematic or not.

    This whole seasons failure – and last seasons success – are the fault of Andy Reid and the management. Reid refuses to use Westbrook and Buckhalter more. I mean Westbrook has 6 yrds per carry or something like that.

    We just have to remember that every coach, player, and team will have a bad season now and again. The problem here is that it seems to be a common reality.

  2. Yeah, I actually think he’s overusing Westbrook. I wish he’d use Buckhalter more, at least a third of Westbrook’s touches.

    This wideout situation is awful. We won’t really be able to judge McNabb until someone who can get open is around. The time T.O. was here McNabb could hold the ball all he wanted.

    Any TE’s you see on the market that might be an upgrade?

  3. Before we start looking at what’s going to be available, how about evaluating what we have. Namely, Schoeble and Celic (I really butchered their names). Let’s see what the new kid, Celic, can do. He was a beast at Cincinnati, and I was real excited that they drafted him.

    At this rate they will at best finish 7 and 9, at worst they finish 5 and 11. Either way they will get a decent draft pick. Hopefully they can go after a huge tight end ala Jason Whitten, Dallas Clark, the dude from Chicago. A big, athletic, beast of a man at end. But, they won’t because they never get talent that they need. Other than McNabb, they have never tried to fill a position with a highly rated player out of the draft. Westbrook was a fortuitous anomaly.

  4. Just to be clear, you and I agree on a lot but in case anyone is following the thread I want to be extra clear:

    Teams typically draft for needs that they will see arise in years, not merely next season. I’m not against Philly doing that, not at all.

    I really just want to see them break the bank on real talent at WR or get that beast Kellen Winslow or something. Heck, think what overpaying someone over the hill like Tony Gonzalez would do for this offense, just for a season.

  5. You’re right, most teams do fill holes that they forsee needing to be filled. The Eagles, however, have avery bad track record of picking undeveloped talent that they never seem to develop. We pick receivers draft after draft, and Reggie Brown is the cream of the crop? Not very great.

    I don’t have that much confidence in Andy Reid being able to scout talent effectively. The man cannot build a team at all. I really want the Tuna to come in a build our team – not coach, just be in charge of player management.

    Tony may not be such a bad pick up if we are developing a replacement. But again, player development does not seem to be a priority within the Eagles organization.

    I still think it is difficult to judge a team by one season. There is, however, a trend with the eagles – downhill since their Super Bowl appearance. Yesterday, was the first game that McNabb has played in December since 2004. So, in all fairness there has been quite a lot of unfortunate accidents contributing to that trend. They still refuse to build a team that can consistently win in this league. They have the money to do it too.

    P.S.
    are you logged in?

  6. Bretwalda Edwin-Higham

    December 10, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Can’t say I remember Charles Johnson, Ashok.

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