Philadelphia Eagles fans can be a nasty bunch. They can be rude, angry, mean, violent and downright unpleasant to be around.
But they're also as knowledgeable a group of fans as you will find. They know their team inside and out, firing off accolades when need be or striking with venom that can kill in an instant when things aren't going right.
|Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid have only failed to deliver one thing to Philly. (US Presswire)|
I know a lot of Eagles fans. I grew up with many of them, having lived outside Philadelphia for eight years.
When I got together with one of them during Pro Bowl week, his disdain for Reid and McNabb made it sound like they did a Bernie Madoff-job on him.
He is not alone.
Admit it, Eagles fans: You don't like those two, especially together.
That's why there is so much talk in Philadelphia this offseason about the possibility of trading McNabb.
Reid isn't going anywhere, not with five NFC Championship Game appearances and one Super Bowl loss.
He is the second-longest tenured coach in the league -- only Tennessee's Jeff Fisher has been with his team longer -- and Reid has done a good job in Philadelphia. Even Eagles fans who don't like his propensity for not running it enough or his bad game-day decisions can't argue that his tenure has been a good one.
The only thing missing from his résumé is a Super Bowl ring. I know that's all that matters in the end, but what Reid has done during his time with the Eagles can't be overlooked. McNabb and Reid have won 10 playoff games together in 11 years. That has to mean something.
Somehow it seems it doesn't in Philadelphia.
Get rid of Andy. Trade Donovan. With McNabb, it's even worse.
McNabb is 33 years old and will turn 34 this November. There is no doubt he is running out of time, but you get the idea some consider him really old.
Why is he considered that and Peyton Manning at the same age isn't? Tom Brady turns 33 this year. Is he considered old? And he had a knee rebuilt in 2008.
McNabb is due a roster bonus of $6.4 million in May. That would trigger the final year of his contract. The Eagles could let him walk and not pay that or they could trade him. They do like backup Kevin Kolb, the future of the franchise who played well in two starts last season when McNabb was hurt. But is he ready?
The Eagles have a good team, one that could push for a Super Bowl in 2010. Is it worth it to start over with Kolb?
What I would do is pay the roster bonus to McNabb, unless somebody would make me a trade offer that floored me. That isn't likely. Why? That team would likely have to give up at least a second-round pick, and also would have to give McNabb a long-term deal, which is risky for a 33-year-old. If you don't give him a new deal, you're paying to rent him for a year. That makes no sense.
Now if a team were to offer a first-round pick for McNabb, the Eagles would have to listen. Even I would be open to that.
That probably isn't happening. So the thing to do is keep McNabb and let him play the season. If he looks sharp, then talk to him around the halfway point of the regular season about a three-year extension. If he doesn't look good, or he's unreasonable about his contract demands, then you know it will be time to turn to Kolb, who is under contract.
The idea that McNabb can't play anymore is absurd. Early in his career, I actually thought -- and wrote -- that he was a bit overrated. But since he has become more of a pocket passer he has been a better quarterback.
As his running numbers have gone down, his passing numbers have improved. It's called maturation.
McNabb averaged 8.0 yards per attempt last season, better than Manning, Brady and Brett Favre. That shows he can still get the ball down the field, particularly now that he has speed players like DeSean Jackson.
During Pro Bowl week, McNabb was asked a lot about his future. Each time he said he expected to play in Philadelphia in 2010. He said it's where he wants to play, but players would play in Alaska if the situation and the money -- especially the money -- were right.
Eagles fans will point to the final two games of 2009 as reason why McNabb should go. In consecutive losses to the Cowboys, one in the playoffs, McNabb threw one touchdown, one interception and had passer ratings of 74.2 and 68.5. He was sacked eight times in those two games.
The last number should give you an indication of what went wrong. The offensive line was horrible. It was a line that was expected to be a team strong point but one that was hit by injuries and looked like a sieve in the final two games.
No quarterback could have succeeded with that much pressure.
McNabb deserves another year. Kolb can wait. And I think McNabb will get it, considering Reid has said as much twice already.
Live with it, Eagles fans.
Reid isn't going anywhere and McNabb will almost certainly be your quarterback next season. Is that really a bad thing?
I can hear your responses from here: Eat #@&^X&, Prisco.
That's why I love Eagles fans.