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Philadelphia Eagles and Former Quarterback Donovan McNabb Are United Again in 2011 Misery

Posted on December 02, 2011 by Dean Hybl

It has been a disappointing season for Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles parted ways prior to the 2010 season, but more than a year later both are struggling through a nightmare 2011 season.

On the day that the Eagles lost to the Seattle Seahawks to ensure they wouldn’t have a winning campaign, their former quarterback was released by the Minnesota Vikings after a disappointing stint as their starting quarterback.

While the struggles of McNabb are only somewhat surprising, that the Eagles have self-destructed is a huge shock.

One of the most aggressive teams in the free agent market during the offseason, the Eagles were dubiously dubbed the “Dream Team” by their new backup quarterback Vince Young.

However, after starting with an impressive 31-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams, the dream season suddenly turned sour with four straight losses.

The worst of these losses occurred on October 2nd when the San Francisco 49ers rallied from a 23-3 third quarter deficit to edge the Eagles 24-23 in front of a shocked Philadelphia faithful.

It appeared that head coach Andy Reid had righted the ship with back-to-back victories over the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, but close losses to the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals were followed by a disappointing loss to the New York Giants and then the listless loss in Seattle.

With the addition of pass rusher Jason Babin and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defense was supposed to be the strength for the Eagles in 2011. However, through 11 games the team ranked 19th in the league in points allowed and 15th in yards allowed.

After surrendering 31 points to the Seahawks, they have now allowed 30 or more points to their opponents five times in 12 games.

The high flying offense was also supposed to be among the best in the NFL led by quarterback Michael Vick. After a break-out season in 2010, the Eagles parted ways with Kevin Kolb (who was originally expected to succeed McNabb as the Eagles franchise quarterback) and gave Vick a huge contract.

It is not fair to put all the blame on the Eagles disappointing season on Vick, but he is definitely not performing at the same level he did in 2010. In nine games before being sidelined by injury, Vick was connecting on 60.3 percent (down from 62.6% in 2010) and had 11 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. His quarterback rating of 79.8 is significantly lower than the 100.2 mark he posted in 2010.

However, his passer rating is still better than in all but one of his seasons in Atlanta. So the long-term question becomes whether 2010 was the anomaly for Vick and if he can ever truly be expected to regain that form on a consistent basis.

Running back LeSean McCoy has already passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and is the bright spot among the Philadelphia offense this season.

The receiving corps has posted solid statistics, but they are not making the big plays with the consistency they did in 2010.

Though his statistics are still relatively solid (43 catches for 698 yards), deep threat DeSean Jackson has apparently become a distraction as his contract concerns seem to be souring his team spirit.

This was not how it was supposed to be for the Eagles when they decided to part ways with McNabb in 2010 and then a year later put their full trust in Vick and invested heavily in their defense.

The stay for Donovan McNabb in Minnesota was short and unproductive.

But the breakup has also not worked out as scripted for McNabb.

Many thought he would slide right into a starring role with the Washington Redskins. However, after being benched there in favor of Rex Grossman, he was shipped to Minnesota where he seemed to be an upgrade to former starter Brett Favre.

However, though McNabb’s personal statistics were not awful (60.3 comp %, 4 Td, 2 INT), the only statistic that really matters for a quarterback is victories and the Vikings were 1-5 under McNabb. For that reason, he was replaced by rookie Christian Ponder in the lineup and on Thursday was waived by the squad.

At this point it is unclear what the future will hold for both McNabb and his former team.

If McNabb clears waivers, he could still end up on an NFL roster as a backup for the remainder of this season. However, whether the 35-year-old is given another chance to be a starting quarterback is a question that is hard to answer right now.

The same can be said for the questions about the future of longtime Philadelphia coach Andy Reid. Many believe that his track record of success with the Eagles should allow him to withstand one awful season. However, the Eagles looked completely listless against the Seahawks and if it appears like the team has quit on Reid and they limp home with more bad performances over their final four games it could be time for a change.

What we know for sure is that 2011 has been a disaster for both Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles and both will be looking for a brighter tomorrow in 2012.

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