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The Eagles’ QB Breakdown & How the Team’s Decisions Could Have Various Effects Around the League

February 18, 2010

With virtually every analyst, expert, and employee of some sports-based network giving their take on what the Eagles will do with their solid trio of Quarterbacks, few have actually weighed the limitless possibilities the team’s decisions could have around the league. Of course, it’s likely that most Philadelphia fans have pondered the various rumors and speculation that has been tossed around regarding the Birds’ 3 passers; however, there is a load of information, statistics, and proof that shows how much the front office can alter some things around the NFL with a mere acceptance of a trade, release, or contract proposal. In this article, a compilation of gathered facts and data is displayed in hopes of displaying exactly as the title of this piece reads…the various effects the Eagles’ QB decisions could have around the league.

“How soon can we make this happen?” — The Interested Teams

Before we divulge deeply into the subject, it seems of utmost importance to list the teams who have expressed interest or have been mentioned as potential suitors for at least one of the 3 Quarterbacks on the Eagles’ roster:

  • St. Louis Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Denver Broncos
  • Carolina Panthers

“The Hierarchy” — Examining the Quarterbacks and Ranking their Value

With teams already inquiring about acquiring one of the Eagles’ QBs and others sure to do so at some point in the future, there is no question that all 3 have a chance (no matter how slight it may be) to depart the City of Brotherly Love. And because of this, it’s necessary to determine which of the professional passers has the most trade value/stock, and which of them holds the most importance for the Eagles organization. There is a limitless amount of arguing, and point-making that can be done in relation to this subject, but to keep it brief and easier to understand, short summaries of each QB are provided below:

  • Donovan McNabb: While he may not have the complete trust and confidence of a majority of the fan base right now, there are a bunch of signs that point towards another season in midnight green for #5. His Pro-Bowl campaign in 2009 boosted his career total of all-star game appearances to 6, and the fact that he might have passed for over 4,000 yards if not for an early season injury is also promising. Many continue to point out that McNabb has been unable to win the “big one” (the Super Bowl), but after all, only one QB does per year. There are definitely teams willing to take him, but head coach Andy Reid said at the end of the Birds’ playoff run that McNabb will be the starter in 2010. Very rarely does Reid & co. make statements like that and then crush the truth within them.

Benefits to keeping McNabb: Experienced; proven offensive leader; possesses deep arm strength; has played in the system for over a decade; restructured contract prior to ’09 with intentions of winning a championship in the final 2 years of deal
Negative factors in keeping McNabb: Will likely have less trade value after 2010; Contract expires after ’10 (would lose a lot of interest on trade block when teams know he is due to become a free agent); Is sure to decline in overall ability; Often inconsistent and streaky; is at the “end of the line” with a lot of fans’ attitudes and aspirations
Trade value ranking (based on a scale of 1 to 3, 1 being the highest; based out of all 3 Eagles QBs): 1

  • Kevin Kolb: While many organizations would love to acquire Kolb to be their long-term answer at the QB spot and would probably dish a decent package to Philadelphia in return for the product of Houston, there is a big question mark whether the Eagles should really consider dealing him. In his first pair of seasons as a backup, Kolb looked awful, to be frank. He seemed to be throwing more interceptions than completions, and began to receive a shower of criticism. However, early-season performances in 2009 as a replacement to the injured McNabb captivated some fans and the staff when he became the first Quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 300 yards in his first 2 starts. Still a bit of a risk to be inserted into the 1st-string lineup on a full-time basis, Kolb has generated a lot of buzz this offseason; everything from contract extension talks to trade rumors has headed his direction.

Benefits to keeping Kolb: Has a lot of potential; proven to be accurate; has major upside; groomed for 3 seasons (is prepared and ready to start); in a good relationship with other young teammates
Negative factors in keeping Kolb: Shown to be clumsy in his passing techniques at times; is a risk to start; little experience at the top of the depth chart; trade value could drop significantly if he stays another season as a backup
Trade value ranking: 2

  • Michael Vick: A lack of significant playing time in his first season back since being sentenced to prison has made Vick’s chances of being traded for something large in return quite low. However, he is probably the most likely to be shipped away, seeing that many teams would love to have an explosive player of his caliber, and as a starter. His primary weakness in the market remains the questions of how well he will be able to handle full-time duties for the first time since 2006, when he was with the Falcons. Still speedy and athletic, Vick is sure to draw interest; the real issue is, though, how much teams are willing to give to the Eagles in exchange for the situational passer and gifted runner.

Benefits to keeping Vick: Provides the team with a top-notch Wildcat manager; is a great situational runner; can play as a trustworthy backup or reserve; is able to start if called upon
Negative factors in keeping Vick: Trade value is likely to drop as years go on with Vick as a backup; he was not used much in 2009, so there may be little point to keeping him in ’10; lacks the same skill level he possessed prior to his jail sentence
Trade value ranking: 3

“A Numbers Game” — The Statistics Examination

If you’re intelligent in the mind of professional football, you know that stats do not tell the entire tale of a player’s success (or lack thereof). However, here is an interesting statistical reference that compares each of the 2 Eagles QBs from 2009, in addition to some projected starters for teams that have been mentioned as potentially wanting a new QB for 2010 (interested in trading)…

Player Team GP COMP PAATT COMP% PAYDS PAAVG PATDS INT RU RUYDS
RUTDS
Marc Bulger STL 9 140 247 56.7 1469 5.9 5 6 8 22 0
Trent Edwards BUF 8 110 183 60.1 1169 6.4 6 7 14 106 0
Kevin Kolb PHI 5 62 96 64.6 741 7.7 4 3 5 -1 1
Matt Leinart ARZ 8 51 77 66.2 435 5.6 0 3 9 -6 0
Donovan McNabb PHI 14 267 443 60.3 3553 8.0 22 10 37 140 2
Matt Moore CAR 7 85 138 61.6 1053 7.6 8 2 12 -3 0
Brady Quinn CLE 10 136 256 53.1 1339 5.2 8 7 20 98 1
Michael Vick PHI 12 6 13 46.2 86 6.6 1 0 24 95 2

“So…whose it gonna be?” — The Verdict

As stated before, there are countless reasons as to why things should happen within the Eagles’ QB situation. There are valid points in the argument that McNabb should remain on the team and finish what has been a tremendous career in Philadelphia. There are also extremely well-made facts supporting the argument that Kolb’s moment has come and it is finally the right time to give him the reigns of the offense. Obviously because of this, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the Birds will actually do to unravel this position. In reality, the Eagles probably have the best, most talented and deep Quarterback spot in the entire league. It only seems like a mess and a clutter of speculation because of the advantages they can take from it.

“It’s spreading!” — League-Wide Effects

Just like an infection from one of your classic 1950’s sci-fi movies, the Eagles’ decision(s) at the QB spot could have a serious affect on the rest of the league. Of course, there are so many in-depth possibilities that could be drawn out that it’s simply overwhelming. Say a trade would be made sending McNabb to the Cardinals. Arizona would then likely be right back in the mix in terms of contending playoff teams. For other squads like the Bills, Buffalo may actually put up a fight in the AFC East division against tough foes (i.e. the Patriots). Senior columnist Vic Carucci of the official NFL website seems to have similar feelings: “It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that how the Eagles address their¬†Donovan McNabb/Kevin Kolb/Michael Vick¬†quarterback glut is among the league’s most anticipated decisions of the offseason. To what extent they do so is anyone’s guess, but it’s reasonable to assume that there will be movement of some kind. Such movement could quite possibly bring dramatic change to another team’s fortunes while even affecting the competitive balance of one or more divisions.”

“Pick me out a winner, Bobby” — The Prediction

While I tend to project things rather badly and to little or no success (I suppose I don’t have to remind you of my infamous article during the season entitled 10 Reasons the Eagles will Demolish the Raiders), I’ve included a brief prediction as to how the entire QB ordeal will unfold. By the way, I give credit to the sports film The Natural for the quote that led into this projection:

Not only will the Eagles hang on to their future at the QB spot, but they will also keep a hold of their current starter for at least another season. Vick will be dealt to the highest bidder (I’m guessing a team in the AFC such as the Bills), while Kolb and McNabb will stay for 2010. If McNabb falters during the season, Kolb will enter for good; otherwise, it’s McNabb’s last chance to prove to Philadelphia that he can lead the team to a Super Bowl win.

(picture source)

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