Got an interesting email from my friend T.R., who said that he thought an era was ending in Philly when McNabb left the game on the cart. I hadn’t taken it that badly. I’d felt like it was another year wasted, but that the Eagles would be back & competing next year.
But, I’m thinking about it now. McNabb is 30, he’s in his prime, he was having an MVP season, and I still think he’s the best QB in the league. McNabb probably has 1 or 2 years left to still be in his prime where he can continue to carry teams deep into the playoffs and an additional 3-4 years of being a good-maybe-great QB, but not elite. Will the Eagles have enough talent in either of the next two seasons for McNabb to carry them into championship contender status?
The Eagles weren’t healthy enough this year to be able to gauge whether or not they currently have the talent (the secondary was too banged up the first few weeks), but injuries are a part of the game and the Eagles didn’t have enough depth. Statistically, the Eagles are in the top 1/3 of the league, but as Parcells says, “you are your record.”
B.J. went on to give a detailed analysis of the Eagles' prospects on a player-by-player basis. I'll cut through that to make this deeply painful point:
Here are McNabb's career stats. Note that since 2001, he's only played a 16-game season once. He's averaging 12 games per season over the last 5 years.
Compare that with the other two elite QBs, P. Manning and Brady. Since 2001 they've missed two games between them.
Put three of them side-by-side and you'd never think that McNabb would be the more injury-prone. He's a tank and the other two are drinks of Evian.
I love McNabb. I think he's the third-best QB in the game today (at least) and has the potential to be regarded someday as the Elway of his generation. But Elway didn't miss a lot of games. He averaged 14.6 games per season for his entire career.
But if McNabb is going to keep getting hurt--something for which he bears no blame whatsoever--then this franchise has no future in its current configuration.