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The Kolb Era Begins With Shocker


McNabb Traded to Division Rival

By Lance Epstein

Shocked! Anger! Confusion! Awkwardness! Surreal! Those are some of the emotions that come to mind as Eagles fans heard the news that Donovan McNabb had been traded to the hated rival Washington Redskins.

"You can’t erase the last 11 years. We had a lot of great years together," head coach Andy Reid said at his press conference.

Trading Mcnabb was probably not surprising to many fans after weeks of constant trade rumors and never-ending scenarios. Considering McNabb is 33-years old and had a $6.2 million roster coming on May 5 along with $5 million base salary next season it was easy to see why the Eagles sent him on his way. On top of it, he was playing on the last year of his contract, which means if the Eagles went into 2010 with him, they were not going to get anything.

So getting a second-round pick (37th) and a possible third rounder or a fourth rounder is a nice acquisition. Even with all value, Reid made it perfectly clearly that it was one of the toughest decisions in his head-coaching career.

"This was a tough decision for many people in trading Donovan," Reid said. "He was a great player here for 11 years, set every record with this organization. I have nothing but good things to say about Donovan.

"Unfortunately things like this happen in the National Football League. If you’re lucky enough to stay around long enough, as I have, you have to go through situations like this where you have to go in a different direction. We have a lot of confidence in Kevin Kolb. He will be the starting quarterback."

Again McNabb not wearing an Eagles uniform next year was not the shocker, the mind-boggling part was that he got traded to a division rival. This means twice a season for the next couple of years McNabb will be a thorn in the side of the Eagles.

From a Redskins' perspective, this makes a team that just a couple seasons ago was on the brink of a playoff berth, a very formative foe. Even Reid admitted that to the media himself.

"Are they a better football team with Donovan? Absolutely," Reid said.

In addition, if you thought the Brian Dawkins homecoming was a sight to see last year at Lincoln Financial Field, it will fail in comparison to McNabb's return. At least McNabb should be used to being boo’d by the Philly faithful considering he was boo’d on draft day.

However, some of the fans were calling for and happy for a new regime. They were demanding that Kevin Kolb be the starting quarterback after the team blew an opportunity to return to the Super Bowl when losing to the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game in 2008.

Although, those that got your wish better hope that Kolb can lead the team to a Super Bowl title because if he does not, the trade will go down as one of the worst in the history of Eagles football. It might even be the worst NFL history, if the Redskins manage to be more successful over the next couple seasons.

For a franchise that has never won a Super Bowl, McNabb for 11-years had the Eagles on the cusp of a championship but just could not get the team over the last hurdle. McNabb easily goes down as the franchise's greatest quarterback by setting every major statistical category with 32,873, 216 touchdown, completion percentage, completions, nine playoff wins and wins with 92.

Furthermore, McNabb has led the Eagles to five NFC Championship games, seven playoff appearances (Jeff Garcia led them to the other) and only the second Super Bowl appearance in the franchise's history. On top of all that, he was a 6-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie knows McNabb has been more than just another good quarterback. He propelled the Eagles into one of the premiere organizations in the league. Only the Colts and Patriots won more games than the Eagles did in the 2000s. Lurie hopes that at the end of McNabb's career he can honor him in the Eagles and at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Donovan McNabb was more than a franchise quarterback for this team,” Lurie said. “He truly embodied all of the attributes of a great quarterback and of a great person. He has been an excellent representative of this organization and the entire National Football League both on and off the field. I look forward to honoring him as one of the greatest Eagles of all-time and hopefully see him enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton one day.”

As for Kolb, his resume is not very impressive. He shined in his two starts this past year, when McNabb went down. In those two games against the Saints and Chiefs, he put up back-to-back 300 yard games. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to ever throw for back-to-back 300-yard games in his first two career starts.

On the other hand, about 250 of the passing yards that he accumulated came when the game was already decided. Moreover, he threw three interceptions against the Saints (should have been four if the Saints defender did not drop the ball) and one that went for a touchdown. Fans have seen the ugly turnover issues before with Kolb; they just have to look back to the 2008 season in his limited playing time.

When McNabb got benched against the Baltimore Ravens, Kolb went down in the history books. He threw an interception to safety Ed Reed that was returned 108-yards: tied for the longest play in NFL history. Besides the game in Baltimore, he had a repeat performance against the Cleveland Browns as McNabb was pulled from a game that was already in hand. Former Eagle Sean Jones picked Kolb and yet again took it to the house.

As for the fans saying he is the next Aaron Rodgers, they should not be so quick to anoint him that yet. Does he have the talent to be that good? Maybe, but fans like to compare his situation to the Brett Favre saga.

Unfortunately, these are two different types of players. Rodgers had a big arm coming out of the University of California, whereas Kolb does not have nearly the cannon arm that Rodgers possesses.

Furthermore, Kolb's accuracy, while being his strength, is not as good as Rodgers. There was a reason Kolb was a projected mid-second round quarterback and Rodgers was a potential top 10, even some analyst said top three.

Yet the reason that might ultimately doom Kolb in is those fans calling for him to be the starting quarterback. It takes thick skin to play in Philadelphia and McNabb handled that better than any quarterback could have over the years. The same fans that are calling for Kolb to replace McNabb, might be the same fans calling for backup Michael Vick, if he struggles or does not bring home a Lombardi Trophy anytime soon.

Despite that, Reid believes in his young quarterback and knows he will open a lot of eyes due to the way he has progressed and been coached since entering the league.

"You see somebody that, No. 1 has been taught by good coaches and had an opportunity to play under Donovan and learn how to do it the right way He’s followed that direction," Reid said. "He’s prepared himself for this opportunity. We see leadership and athletic ability and he does a nice job reading defenses."

With that said, Reid is warning fans to let him be Kevin Kolb and he is not going to be McNabb.

"He needs to be Kevin Kolb and not be Donovan McNabb," Reid said. "He needs to make his own mark and do his own thing. He has not done that yet. Everything else is subjective that I have the confidence in him to do that."

So where does this trade leave the Eagles? They now have five draft choices (24,37,55, 70 and 87) in the top 90 picks in the NFL Draft. Along with that, they have two fourth round picks and a fifth as well. This means team president Joe Banner and GM Howie Roseman can maneuver round the draft and acquire any player they truly covet in the draft.

Obviously, they will be able to rebuild a defense that played porous for long stretches in the 2009 season and do it much faster than previously thought. Not only can the defense see a complete makeover, the team can put the finishing touches on an offense that was reloaded last offseason.

On another note, will send messages loud and clear through the entire organization. This trade really says a whole lot. Reid believed a couple weeks ago that McNabb would be his starting quarterback in 2010. Now he is trade? This move has Banner and Roseman written all over. It appears as though Reid no longer has the complete control and the final say in decisions with the Eagles. Reid might be here in 2010, but this might be the first domino to fall in the grand exit of Reid.

At the end of the day however, this is about McNabb no longer soaring with the Eagles but he leaves an impressive legacy behind.

"I think it should be he was the greatest quarterback to ever play for the Philadelphia Eagles to this point," Reid said.

The emphasis in that quote is "to this point." The organization, city and fans are hoping Kolb replaces McNabb as the greatest quarterback in Eagles history. But if the Kolb experiment does succeed in meeting those expectations, Reid might be at his ending point with the Eagles.

Update: Both Scouts.com Adam Caplan and ESPN's Sal Paolantonio believe that the Eagles got a steal by dealing McNabb to the Redskins. Paolantino says that new Redskins' head coach Mike Shanahan appears desperate in this trade and Mcnabb improves them but does not make them a contender.

As for Caplan, he believes the Eagles got a great pick in 37th but is concerned about trading him within the division. Although he says it shows about how much the Eagles think of Kolb.

Caplan reported on CSNphilly.com that the Redskins offered Albert haynesworth, but he Eagles declined.

"The Redskins actually offered - I'm told by two league sources - Albert Haynesworth, the oustanding defensive tackle, but Albert Haynesworth has an enormous contract," Caplan said. He also added that Haynesworth was a pain to the Redskins' previous coaching staff.


Furthermore, Kolb will get a 2 year extension since their is now new CBA he can only receive a 30 percent increase in pay.

Also, he says the Eagles are very interested in Florida's Joe Hadin and Eric Berry.








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