|New as a Viking, McNabb might not be able to pick the time of his exit at this rate. (US Presswire)|
Donovan McNabb has long been one of the most undervalued quarterbacks of his generation. He helped transform the Philadelphia Eagles into a Super Bowl team, and his combination of skill and athleticism made him one of the most riveting players to watch in recent NFL history. He was that good.
So it's painful to write, because McNabb has long been one of my favorite players to watch and interview, but his career is coming to an inglorious end. And end is the operative word.
McNabb looks done. I hate saying it. But this is where we are with him.
It's not just the seven completions for 39 yards Sunday against an average San Diego defense. It's beyond that. One scout who studied tape of McNabb's game and has watched him for some time, says his mechanics have regressed by years, he looks slower and his decision-making is awful.
Now, it's true this is just one game. The problem is this: The Eagles let him go. McNabb defenders, like me, said the Eagles simply wanted to go to a younger player. Then Washington let him go. McNabb defenders said it was because no one can win in Washington as long as Danny Snyder is running the organization.
So this is a second team in as many years, and McNabb is still struggling. He can turn it around. It's just one game. But you have to think this is it for him. The 39 yards isn't an aberration. I think it's now more typical of McNabb than atypical.
And that's sad.
2. Mark Sanchez didn't look right after the Jets beat the Cowboys. He took some tremendous shots during the game and looked woozy when speaking to the media. Sanchez was asked if he was OK. He said he was.
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3. Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris is a solid guy. Good coach, too. But he's starting to get a little Sean Payton in him -- a tad thin-skinned and a little snippy with some in the media. In this post-game news conference from Monday, around the nine-minute mark, Morris blames the blog JoeBucsFan.com for the league investigating him for having illicit contact with players during the lockout. The problem with Morris blaming a blog is that it was Morris himself who got the league looking at him. Morris talked openly in a radio interview during the lockout about speaking with several players. Morris did that, not the blog. Blaming the blog is infantile.
I've been told Morris has had a couple of other minor incidents with members of the media. Again: Good man, solid coach, but he needs to develop thicker skin or the NFL will eat him alive.
4. Titans star runner Chris Johnson showed up to camp in great shape. Just not football shape. For the moment, he doesn't have that typical Johnson burst, but coaches expect the rust from his holdout to evaporate and Johnson to excel soon.
5. It's only a matter of time before Chad Ochocinco starts running his yap if he isn't more involved in the Patriots offense.
B) Chump of the week: Too easy -- Tony Romo.
C) Tweet of the week (tie): Colts owner Jim Irsay: "Tweets aren't 2b understood...there 2b felt...logic interferes with the eternal universe of endless possibilities "Don't think n boxes!"
I'd like to try some of whatever he ingests in the morning.
Safety Darren Sharper, who is a free agent, on watching Sunday's games from home, tweeted: "To answer a tweeter's question. The toughest thing about watching this weekend's games is watching guys play that aren't half as good as u are."
7. The most talked about coach around the league right now is Bill Belichick. Several assistants told me the molecular deconstruction of the Miami team by the Patriots was vintage Belichick. He attacked every single weakness of almost every Dolphins player. "When you watch the film that game was more of a beating than most fans know," said one assistant.
8. Former Cowboys great Drew Pearson is not a fan of current Cowboy receiver Dez Bryant. Well, yeah, that's an understatement.
Pearson on Dallas radio station 103.3 FM speaking about Bryant's play on Monday night against the Jets: "The first quarter was spectacular. ... But now we need you in the fourth quarter and you can't even run? You catch three passes in the first quarter and then you get targeted five times after that and you don't make any catches? ... Let's not be so high on this guy who hasn't really done anything. He missed four games last season, he comes in this game and he can't finish it out."
There's more. Pearson talked about Bryant's poor route running as well.
"Dez's first move was a jump, a hop-step. What is that? That's one second gone from the pass route. I mean, what is that? Come on. ... Yeah, he's raw. He's a monster. That's what monsters do, I guess. You see that in high school kids running routes like that."
The criticism is extremely harsh and probably unfair. But I will say this: Bryant's route running can at times be terrible. I watched him for much of the Jets game, and he does tend to both hop-step the beginning of his routes and on occasion jog routes when ball isn't going to him. I mean, on the latter, he was sometimes Randy Moss-like. I also question Bryant's conditioning.
But Pearson's words are harsh because of Bryant's youth. This is only his second season. If these issues continue, then by all means, shred Bryant. But a red-alert level of criticism for a second-year player? A tad over the top.
9. Fans chanted for Tebow during Denver's loss to Oakland. It's in moments like these when NFL coaches think some fans are clowns.
10. New York Super Bowl. It's in 2014. Not far away at all and this past weekend could be viewed almost as a dry run. Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium was obviously emotional because of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The security and traffic were intense. Just like it will be for the Super Bowl.
Yes, a dry run indeed, and if it was, then there is a great deal of work to do. Traffic around the stadium was an utter disaster. It took me 3½ hours to travel 13 miles. There was no police presence and people began getting out of their cars arguing and almost brawling. Beer cans were thrown at several Dallas fans when they got out of their cars. It was nasty and borderline scary.
Then came news a man snuck a stun gun into the stadium and attacked several fans. Considering this was Sept. 11 and security was extreme, how someone was able to sneak in a weapon is remarkable.
Hopefully Super Bowl planners learned from the mistakes made on Sunday. If not, the Super Bowl could be interesting for all the wrong reasons. And we didn't even discuss the possible foot of snow that could be on the ground.