McNabb: Return To Eagles’ Facility ‘Was A Sour Day For Me’

Philadelphia Magazine’s own Richard Rys recently sat down with Donovan McNabb for a wide-ranging Q&A that covers everything from the day he was drafted to the day he was traded — and the hard feeling that followed. Plenty of good nuggets in there. Here’s a sample:

Did your time with Washington and Minnesota give you a different perspective on the Eagles?

I never forgot what happened in Philadelphia. Those were great years. I would have loved to have had another couple years after that and just say “Thank you, I’m done.” But it didn’t happen that way. I sold my house when I got traded. Never even touched foot in Philadelphia until I played there as a Washington Redskin. I hadn’t even been back to the facility until Brian Dawkins retired. It was a sour day for me. I was pissed off to go, but [Brian’s] like my brother. I went for my brother. I felt the same as Brian—you turned your back on me. You basically pointed the finger at me. Things haven’t been right in Philadelphia since [I left].

Tell me about your decision to retire two years ago. 

You have to know when it’s time. I told [the Vikings] to release me. I called my agent: “Get me out of here. I’m done.” Everybody wants to play many years, win Super Bowls, ride off in a chariot, retire, confetti comes up, cheerleaders are dancing. You want to end like Jerome Bettis did. Like Ray [Lewis] did. But it could end the way it did for me that week. It’s tough to swallow. I continued to work out. I was ready to go if the right call was there. It’s funny, because I talked to Jim Harbaugh, because [the San Francisco 49ers] were one of the teams I was thinking about. I said, “I’m all in. Just let me know.” He said, “Be ready. You’re on the short list for us.”

Who were the other teams?
Baltimore. Which is funny, because they both ended up in the Super Bowl. Which would have been really funny if I won a Super Bowl and wasn’t the starter. Those were the only two teams. I didn’t want to be a guy just waiting around—what you see T.O. doing, what you see Chad [Johnson] doing. I was done. And I was at peace.

You can read the entire piece here.

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Playoffs In 2013?

When Jeffrey Lurie introduced Chip Kelly back in January, he described the new coach as a program builder.

The implication was clear. After a two-year run in which the franchise went 12-20, it was time to get back to long-term thinking and make wholesale changes at the NovaCare Complex. Coming up with a quick fix was no longer an option.

But the NFL is different than other leagues like the NBA. It’s relatively common for teams to rebound quickly after disastrous seasons.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland points out that better than one in four teams that finish 6-10 or worse come back to make the postseason the following year.

The question that’s relevant to the audience here is: Can the Eagles be one of those teams?

Barnwell looked at the 10 teams that finished 6-10 or worse in 2012 and ranked them based on likelihood of making the playoffs in 2013. He had the Eagles at No. 2, behind only the Lions:

The statistical case backing them up is built upon an impossible turnover rate. Philadelphia was the other team with a minus-24 turnover margin, and by recovering 35 percent of the fumbles in their games, they finished just ahead of Kansas City, at 29th. Of course, Kelly has already become the first coach to teach Michael Vick how to avoid fumbling, so that should solve a good chunk of the problems there.

In all seriousness, Kelly’s insistence on getting the ball out quickly should reduce the likelihood of fumbles, and some simple variance should help push the Philadelphia offense back toward the middle of the pack. The defense should also deliver more than the eight interceptions it produced last year, so it’s not difficult to imagine the Eagles actually winning the turnover battle in 2013.

Barnwell has a point on the turnovers. According to Football Outsiders, a whopping 10 percent of the Eagles’ offensive drives last year ended with a lost fumble. That was the highest percentage in the league in the last five years. It would be difficult to repeat that kind of incompetence (and bad luck).

Vegas has the Eagles’ win total at 7 or 7.5, depending on the sportsbook. If you ask me, their best chance of making a surprise postseason appearance rests with the guys up front. If the offensive line stays healthy, it can be one of the best in the league. The Eagles have an obvious question at quarterback, but there’s talent at the other skill positions.

Kelly’s best shot at instant success is to get his offense going right out of the chute, and that can only happen if the line is leading the way.

WHAT YOU MISSED

T-Mac catches up with Lane Johnson, who says he’s hoping to avoid a holdout.

Which Eagles will make the second-year leap? Here’s the breakdown.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Donovan McNabb doesn’t think Matthew Stafford earned his new deal. From MLive.com:

“When you look at just the numbers overall, you have to think about 12,000 yards and being the youngest quarterback to reach this feat and also the things he’s been able to accomplish, you know you begin to question this.” McNabb said Tuesday night on NFL Total Access. “It’s about wins and losses again. Now, as a quarterback and as Matt Stafford, hey, I would take that contract just like Tony Romo took his contract. But is he worth top 5 money? I would have to say no. And I say that because it’s about wins and losses.

“What has he really done for the Detroit Lions? Nothing.”

Andrew Kulp of The 700 Level thinks DeSean Jackson has a chance to flourish under Kelly:

Yet this is where Chip Kelly comes in and potentially rejuvenates DeSean’s career. No longer will Jackson be relegated to the role of decoy, running sprints down the field on seemingly every play. Jackson can still go deep, but in the new scheme he’ll be put into situations where he can get the ball in space. There are said to be a higher number of short and intermediate routes, and he’ll even be lining up in the backfield with some frequency apparently.

If opponents are worrying about Jackson doing more underneath, it should make him more dangerous when he does go over the top, as safeties start creeping up toward the line of scrimmage again. No matter where he is getting the ball in his hands though, expect it to come his way in higher volumes.

COMING UP

I’m back from vacation and ready for the lead-up to training camp. Thanks to T-Mac for covering last week.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: The ‘Compelling’ 2004 Squad

Today, we take a trip down memory lane and remember a team that will either bring a smile to your face or elicit tears from your eyes: the 2004 Eagles.

ESPN.com is doing a series on the five most compelling NFL teams since 2000, and the 2004 Birds, led by Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook and company came in at No. 3, behind only the 2010 Brett Favre-led Vikings and the 16-0 New England Patriots (2007).

Ashley Fox provides a recap of the 13-3 campaign, which ended in a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl:

“When we stepped on the field from OTAs to the first game against the New York Giants, we felt no team could beat us,” Ike Reese said. “We were hunting for the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. That’s who we had to beat. I just remember the level of confidence was at an all-time high for a team coming off three NFC Championship Games. It took us to an almost invincible feeling.”

It’s impossible to discuss that season without mentioning the fallout afterwards. Despite how things turned out with T.O. and the ensuing 6-10 campaign in 2005, Andy Reid told Fox the gamble on Owens was well worth it.

“I like Terrell. All of us could’ve handled it a little different,” Reid said. “I take a little of the blame for that. Everybody I know wants to come after Terrell. I take some of the blame, too. There were things we could’ve done better after the way it worked out. But was it worth it? Yes. I would do it over again. I would. I wish things could’ve worked out better during the Super Bowl. Philadelphia deserved to have a championship there, but it didn’t pan out that way.”

The Eagles had strong leadership on that team, but nobody could seem to find a way to keep McNabb and Owens on the same page for another season.

“If you can somehow keep that team in tact, that offensive staff in tact for another season… you would definitely be the favorites to win the Super Bowl,” Westbrook said last year. “That offense [would have been] the No. 1 offense in the league for a long time, and we would have been so productive.”

Added Dawkins: “What I tried to do was pull guys to the side, away from everybody, and just have conversations with them. ‘What’s going on? What’s the deal? What can I do to help? This is what we need to do to get back on the winning track, and if I can assist in any way, let me know. Even if you don’t let me know, this is what I’m willing to do. This is what we need to do in order for us to get this thing going in the right direction.’

“The thing that you always want to do is get everybody in the room at the same time. That was never able to be done.”

And so, Eagles fans are left to wonder what could have been. But there’s no doubt that “compelling” is a fair way to describe the team that got the franchise closer than any other to the Lombardi Trophy.

WHAT YOU MISSED

What the Oregon sanctions mean for Chip Kelly.

Will Kelly run a physical camp? Players weigh in.

We asked three players a simple question: What do you know about Kelly now that you didn’t know a few months ago? Here are their answers.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com offers some thoughts on the defense:

The defense won’t be a top unit until the right players are in place. It is possible we could find out we already have those players, but I think that is an extreme longshot. I like this group, but don’t see them turning out to be a great defense. The secondary still needs work and there are front seven questions to be answered.

I’m not enamored with the system we’re running, but it has grown on me. The most important issue for me is that the team did hire the right coaches to teach the scheme. This staff has a lot of 3-4 and hybrid defense experience. If you want to be creative and complex, you must have the right teachers. I think the Eagles accomplished that.

Over on The Philly Post, Richard Rys is not happy that Marvel has teamed up with the Cowboys:

What’s worse, for me as an Eagles fan, is that the one Marvel/NFL tie-in that makes sense for adults who are not virgins is right here in Philadelphia. Future Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins was known for his love of Wolverine, the X-Men member with unbreakable bones and a berserker rage. He kept Wolverine figures in his locker and named his on-field alter ego after the character’s code name, “Weapon X.” Marvel honored Dawkins with a Wolverine-inspired poster after he retired. But they could have made a mint with Weapon X shirts; in fact, one local company has made a very cool Dawkins tee that isn’t anywhere near as corny as the Cowboys line. Forget Hugh Jackman — if B-Dawk says a Canadian with retractable claws is cool, it’s gospel.

COMING UP

Haven’t you learned by now that we always come up with something?

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s this week’s roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Will Brinson of CBSSports.com says take the over on 7 wins for the Birds:

I’m probably too high on Chip Kelly’s offense. Or am I …? This isn’t going to be some funky read-option based offense, it’s going to be, I think, a high-tempo offense that maximizes snaps and utilizes the trio of Michael Vick/DeSean Jackson/Jeremy Maclin to take shot plays down the field. With Jason Peters back and Lane Johnson in the fold the offensive line should be much better and I thought additions like Bradley Fletcher, Connor Barwin, Kenny Phillips and Cary Williams were smart, under-the-radar moves on defense. Maybe I’m too high on the Eagles, but I expect impressive things from Kelly’s first season, particularly if they come out firing against a stacked early-season schedule.

Chris Burke of SI.com writes that it doesn’t really matter how Chip Kelly is splitting up practice reps with his QBs right now:

Vick remains the favorite to claim the job for the start of the season, his athleticism giving him a leg up over either Foles or Barkley in Kelly’s system. (And that’s with the understanding that Kelly will adjust his offensive game plan both for the NFL and for his QB.) He has 96 more career starts under his belt than Foles, too.

Though Vick’s injury-plagued 2012 season helped the Eagles’ shocking collapse, the silver lining in it may turn out to be the playing time Foles received. The third-round pick started six games during his rookie season, sporadically showing glimmers of brilliance.

Field Yates of ESPN.com says Bryce Brown is one of 10 players (league-wide) who will benefit from a scheme change:

Make no mistake about it, LeSean McCoy is the lead back in Philadelphia, but the tempo of Chip Kelly’s offense turns into more snaps than one running back can handle. Brown showed signs of stardom in relief duty in 2012, and he should have an opportunity to be a more consistent second backfield threat (assuming he can hang on to the ball). Kelly’s offenses at Oregon overwhelmed with their speed in the running game; the Eagles will look to do the same.

Donovan McNabb chimes in on Robert Griffin III criticism, via CBSSports.com:

“It’s sad to say, but he is an easy target,” McNabb said. “It’s easy for people to go in on him with the way he carries himself and the way he talks. Unfortunately, it is similar in that way to me. We both grew up with good parents, military families, that taught us how to carry ourselves, and speak well. We got our education. He’s an educated brother who can play this game called football and people come at him sideways and talk so much about his athletic ability and speed. How about we talk about how smart he is? How about we talk about the kind of kid he seems to be?”

Based on his four-pronged system (quarterbacks, pass-rushers, corners and left tackles), Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles tied for 29th in the league. Prisco has Michael Vick ranked 21st, Connor Barwin 28th, Cary Williams 25th and Jason Peters 19th in their respective categories.

Randall Cunningham’s son, Randall Cunningham II (or RC2, as Baylor coaches are calling him) is generating a lot of recruiting buzz, writes Dave Miller of the National Football Post:

And to say RC2 is athletic is an understatement.

He has been clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash and recorded a mark of 7 feet, 2 inches in the high jump. He will likely participate in track and football at the next level and has dreams of competing in the Olympics.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com writes about the new contraptions Kelly is using to simulate a pass rush:

Makes sense. As often as Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has been criticized for his inability to throw over the line because of his height, the fact is there’s no quarterback tall enough to see or throw over the tallest of linemen when they have their hands up, so everyone has to throw through lanes. Why not practice it whenever possible?

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: What We’re Watching At OTAs

We get another glimpse of Eagles practice today at the NovaCare Complex. Here are three things we’re watching:

1. Where’s Lane Johnson?

The Eagles’ first-round pick lined up at right tackle with the second team last week. Second-year player Dennis Kelly ran with the ones.

“He’s been here three days,” joked Chip Kelly. “So for three days, he’s been the best offensive tackle we’ve ever drafted.”

It would be a major upset if Johnson didn’t eventually win the starting job. But we’ll find out today just how much he’s been able to pick up in a short period of time, and we’ll see how slowly Kelly and the coaching staff plan to bring him along.

2. Taking stock of the secondary

Last week, 2010 third-round pick Curtis Marsh and free agent Bradley Fletcher were the starting cornerbacks. But that was because Cary Williams had recently gotten married and was on his honeymoon.

Meanwhile, Patrick Chung and Nate Allen were the first-team safeties.

The names are different from a year ago, but the Eagles’ secondary is still a giant question mark. I’d expect to see Williams and Fletcher line up as the starting corners today, but we could see Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis mix and match more safety combinations this week. Playing time is up for grabs in the secondary, and jobs will be won or lost in the coming months.

3. Outside linebacker competition

Trent Cole and Connor Barwin got the nod with the first team last week, while Brandon Graham ran with the twos. My head was spinning a bit, trying to wrap my head around Kelly’s practice methods. As a result, I didn’t spend much time focusing on how Cole and Barwin were being used.

Today, we’ll try to get a closer look at the scheme and see how the outside linebackers look performing the various tasks being asked of them.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The weekend roundup: Jason Avant gets a look on defense, and more love for Matt Barkley.

Michael Vick says his critics are ignorant and don’t know football. The QB also says Kelly taught him how to hold the ball properly to cut down on fumbles.

Tight end Clay Harbor is getting looks at outside linebacker.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The Eagles will waive running back Miguel Maysonet, according to Adam Caplan. The Stony Brook product signed with the Birds as an undrafted free agent. He did not participate in last week’s OTA session because of the NCAA late graduation rule.

Ray Didinger of CSNPhilly.com does not think Donovan McNabb is a Hall of Famer, and he doesn’t think the Eagles should retire the No. 5:

I’m fine with the Eagles honoring McNabb and putting him in their Hall of Fame. He deserves that. But I heard some fans say McNabb is the greatest quarterback in franchise history and I’ve never agreed with that. He may hold all the records, but to me it’s not about numbers. The real question is, “Who played the position the best?” Anyone who was here to see the last championship season in 1960 would agree that Norm Van Brocklin played at a level that far surpasses any other Eagles quarterback.

COMING UP

Practice at 10:40. We’ll be at NovaCare. Can’t wait to see what dance moves T-Mac breaks out this week.

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What’s Left From the McNabb And Kolb Trades?

As recently as last offseason, it looked like the assets acquired in the Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb trades would play a major role in re-shaping the Eagles’ defense.

But looking ahead to 2013, that probably won’t end up being the case.

It was three years ago on Easter Sunday that the Birds shipped McNabb to the Redskins in exchange for a second-round pick in 2010, along with a conditional third- or fourth-rounder in 2011.

With the second-round pick (37th overall), the Eagles selected safety Nate Allen, who has been a disappointment in his first three seasons. At the end of last year, Allen was benched in favor of Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. The Eagles added Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips in the offseason. And they very well could draft a safety later this month, meaning Allen will be competing for a roster spot.

The other pick from the McNabb trade ended up being a fourth-rounder (No. 104 overall) in 2011. But the Eagles traded that selection to the Bucs (who took tight end Luke Stocker). In exchange, the Birds moved down 12 spots and selected linebacker Casey Matthews. They also received a fourth-round draft choice in 2012 from Tampa.

The Eagles started Matthews at middle linebacker as a rookie, moved him to SAM, benched him and then got him back into the rotation at the end of the year. In 2012, he was a complete non-factor on defense, playing 45 total snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Matthews did have 14 special-teams tackles (second on the team). He too will be fighting for a roster spot.

As for the 2012 fourth-rounder from Tampa, the Eagles used that pick as part of the package to land DeMeco Ryans. The two teams also swapped third-round picks (Nos. 76 and 88).

So overall, the Eagles used compensation from the McNabb trade for Allen, Matthews and to a large degree, Ryans.

Kolb, meanwhile, recently signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the Bills, his third team in four seasons. When the Eagles dealt him to the Cardinals, they got cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in return. Rodgers-Cromartie is gone after two disappointing seasons, having signed with the Broncos as a free agent.

The Eagles ended up trading the second-round pick from the Kolb deal, moving down eight spots and selecting Vinny Curry. They also got a fourth-rounder from the Packers and took Brandon Boykin. Curry barely played in 2012 (89 snaps), and the Eagles will have to figure out where he fits in Billy Davis’ new defense.

Boykin looks like he’ll be a solid option as a nickel corner, and there’s a chance he could get a shot to play outside.

So overall for Kolb, they landed Rodgers-Cromartie, Curry and Boykin.

The question now is: Which of the players the Eagles landed for the two QBs figure into the team’s plans going forward?

As we mentioned above, Allen and Matthews will be fighting for roster spots. Curry is an unknown, given his limited action as a rookie and scheme fit. Ryans is a key piece, who played really well in 2012. And Boykin figures to be a solid contributor as well.

In other words, the Eagles basically got two starters on defense (when you consider how much they play nickel) for the two quarterbacks.

No one would argue that the Birds got the short end of either of the two trades – especially when you consider that McNabb threw 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his post-Eagles career, while Kolb started just 14 games for the Cardinals.

We won’t know the true results from the deals until we see if Curry, Allen and Matthews can contribute in the coming seasons. But clearly, Andy Reid, Howie Roseman and company could have done more with the compensation the team received in return.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: McNabb Tells Vick To ‘Play Pissed Off’

Donovan McNabb knows what it’s like to hear the whispers. He’s felt the sting of getting benched. And experienced the joy of proving his coaches wrong when he was inserted back in the lineup.

With Andy Reid loose in his commitment to Michael Vick lately, McNabb — a guest on Daily News Live Thursday — was asked about his benching against Baltimore in 2008 and high-end play upon his return.

“Well I played pissed off. I played pissed off because I felt like I was the Juan Castillo of the football team,” said McNabb, who led that 2008 team to a 4-1 record down the stretch en route to an NFC Championship appearance. “I felt like I got blamed for a lot of the problems that we were having. You hear rumblings of, ‘Maybe you’ll see a little bit of Kevin Kolb‘ and all of a sudden it happens, and no one has an answer for you when you sit down and talk to them. So I played pretty pissed off.”

McNabb then searched for a camera to look into.

“And if I could send a message for Mike: play pissed off. Because hey, everybody else will begin to understand and see.”

McNabb also dissected why the Eagles offense is sputtering through six games.

“The offensive line as we know is struggling, they’re struggling with one-on-one blocks,” he said. “They’re struggling on pass-off blocks…Your center is not making the right calls and getting the guys to understand that, ‘OK, this is a smash blitz, here’s a WILL, free safety blitz, we’re going to slide the protection to the opposite side to get our back out.

“You’re putting a lot of pressure on Michael Vick now to make all the blocking schemes, making sure the guys are running the right routes and then recognize what he’s seeing. And I don’t know if that’s too much pressure for him or not, but where’s the preparation? When I played here, it was, spend time with the center and make sure you both understand what you’re seeing.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Vick will hold onto the starting job for this week and Marty Mornhinweg will continue to call plays for him, according to a report.

Sheil gives three thoughts on the current state of the Eagles. As always, it’s worth a read.

I cranked up the coaches tape to see what was so “pathetic” about the Eagles’ final drive Sunday.

Offensive lineman Chris Williams visited the Eagles Wednesday. On Thursday he met with the Cardinals.

Investigators determined that Garrett Reid died of an accidental heroin overdose.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Peter King told 97.5 The Fanatic that this is Vick’s last shot.

“I think there has to be one final attempt with Michael Vick to make sure that he does what he is being asked to do, which is basically practice ball security.  And if he can’t then they’re going to have to do exactly what Andy did with Kevin Kolb. He’s going to have to shock the world and go with Foles.”

The Redskins are fond of former Eagle punters, apparently. In the event that Sav Rocca can’t go Sunday, Washington is taking  a look at Chas Henry, per the Washington Post.

The NFLPA is using Reggie White‘s 1996 “Smash for Cash” program to demonstrate the league’s inconsistency when it comes to the bounty issue. From PFT:

The filing from the NFLPA in the bounty case discusses White’s “Smash for Cash” program, which included $500 payments for big hits. At the time, according to the NFLPA, the NFL said the program was OK “as long as players use their own money, amounts are not exorbitant and payments aren’t for illegal hits.”

The NFLPA says that the NFL’s rules haven’t changed since then, but the NFL’s PR agenda has.

COMING UP

This has been an active bye week, hasn’t it? More to come…

Tuck: We Don’t Forget What McNabb, Jackson Did

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean JacksonThe fun part about the Eagles-Giants rivalry is that the players seem to genuinely dislike each other.

With players often switching teams and sharing agents, you don’t see a lot of that in sports anymore.

Yesterday, we wrote about the LeSean McCoy-Osi Umenyiora ongoing back-and-forth. And now, defensive lineman Justin Tuck has offered his opinion on some past Eagles-Giants moments that still irk him.

“We don’t forget anything,” Tuck told Tom Rock of Newsday. “I’m sure they don’t either. They don’t forget the 12-sack game against [Donovan] McNabb, because they’ve tried their best to block the crap out of us since then. And we don’t forget McNabb going to the sideline picking up the phone [in their January 2009 playoff game], [Jackson] tossing the ball at Perry, all different things.

“We’ll handle that on Sunday night.”

Tuck is first referring to the 2009 playoff game when Donovan McNabb scrambled out of bounds with about three minutes left and picked up the phone on the Giants’ sideline. The move prompted Fox analyst Troy Aikman to remark that sometimes, he doesn’t know what runs through McNabb’s head. The Eagles won that game, 23-11, to advance to the NFC championship, but haven’t won a playoff game since.

The DeSean Jackson incident occurred last year. The Eagles’ wideout caught a 50-yard bomb from Vince Young and proceeded to flip the ball at Giants defensive coordinatorPerry Fewell, drawing a taunting penalty and negating the gain.

The Eagles won four in a row against the Giants in 2009 and 2010, but split the two games last year as New York won the Super Bowl for the second time in five seasons.

“When people ask me questions about other teams and things of that nature, I always say this: You go back to February and you see the last team that was standing,” Tuck said. “You ask any of those guys, where would they want to be on that date, they would say where we were. I don’t think we have anything to prove.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

McNabb Heading To NFL Network, Per Source

Donovan McNabb may be ready to give up any hope of returning to the NFL.

Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal first reported that McNabb is close to agreeing to a network job. A source close to McNabb tells Tim McManus that it looks like he will be doing a couple of shows for the NFL Network.

The former Eagles quarterback has been honing his television skills for years, appearing as a guest analyst on ESPN and other networks.

McNabb played six games with the Vikings last year, before being replaced by rookie Christian Ponder. It’s difficult to imagine things having gone much worse for the quarterback since the Eagles traded him on Easter Sunday in 2010. He spent one disastrous season with the Redskins and had his work ethic questioned at both stops.

The Eagles originally dealt McNabb to Washington for a second- and fourth-round pick. With the second-rounder, the Eagles selected safety Nate Allen. The swapped fourth-round picks with the Bucs and picked up an additional fourth-rounder. One of those picks turned into linebacker Casey Matthews. They used the additional fourth-rounder as part of the trade to acquire DeMeco Ryans from the Texans.

So, in all, the Eagles got Allen, Matthews and part of Ryans for McNabb.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

Twitter Mailbag: Top Receiving Tandem, ’04 Or Today?

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinEvery Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

 From @mikelom88: Hypothetical, Michael Vick gets hurt twice for 4 games total & Nick Foles plays excellent, what’s the chance Foles is the starter next year?

Brian Westbrook made a bold statement the other day, suggesting that if Vick goes down for a few games and Foles steps in and performs, that the Eagles should ride with the rookie even when Vick returns. That is not a decision that can be made lightly. If you choose to keep Vick on the bench, then you are essentially tying your future to Foles. If you pull Foles in and out of the lineup as a rookie, it’s no big deal. He doesn’t have any grand expectations and has the mindset that Vick is the guy. If you keep a healthy Vick out, however, you have a problem on your hands. He will be upset, some veterans in the locker room will be upset, and you would have to think a trade request/demand would be right around the corner. If you make that move, you better be damn sure Foles is legit.

As far as next year, logic suggests Vick is gone if Foles proves his worth in spot play.

From @SlyTango: what is the deal with Fletcher Cox? Nobody is talking about this guy at all. Should we worry about another 1st round flop?

He is probably the least of my concerns, to be honest. He is a starter already, and is going to be hard to handle inside. Maybe really hard to handle. Would you have liked to see him get more than three tackles this preseason? Yes. But you saw signs that he will be disruptive as advertised, which is what you’re looking for. If he is a bust I will be completely shocked.

From @Eazy56: Can u find out how many total receiving yds & TD’s T.O & Pinkston had in 2004 vs. D. Jac & Mac together?

Terrell Owens had 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 14 games for the Eagles in 2004. Todd Pinkston had 36 grabs for 676 yards and a touchdown that season. That’s a combined 113 catches for 1,876 yards and 15 scores.

Maclin and Jackson’s best combined season looks to be 2010. Maclin had 70 catches for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Jackson posted 47 catches for 1,056 yards and six TDs in 14 games. That’s 117 catches for 2,020 yards and 16 touchdowns. 

Maclin and Jackson come out ahead in every category as a tandem.

The Daily News compared the ’04 team overall to the current group.

From @PhillyFollower: Who’s the next Eagle to officially retire as one?

I bounced this question off a few people, and I have to think the answer is Donovan McNabb.

Jon Runyan is a possibility, I suppose, especially since Tra Thomas just had his ceremony. His playing days might be too far gone now, though. Same for Jeremiah Trotter.

I don’t really see guys like Sheldon Brown or Lito Sheppard getting the honor, and no shot that T.O. is getting back inside the NovaCare walls. Once McNabb decides to finally hang them up, I can see  him being honored in fairly short order. David Akers also has an outside shot.

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