• Author:
  • Published: Aug 20th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on QB Ryan has the Falcons' Offense flying high but the D keeps the team grounded.

QB Ryan has the Falcons' Offense flying high but the D keeps the team grounded.

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Rookie QB Matt Ryan had a storybook season last year. He stepped into a team that desperately needed leadership and provided it. He seems to have all the physical and mental traits that a team needs to be more than effective offensively. The one area of development is the ability to know what the D is doing and anticipate it. That will come with experience. But right now he is good enough to win the NFC South again this year. He had better stay healthy because there is nothing of NFL quality behind him.  He is a fantasy star.

RB Michael Turner has become a force in the running game. He answered any questions about his ability to start last season gaining over 1,700 yards. He has power and speed which is a combination in short supply around the league. Jerious Norwood is a solid starting quality back and young Thomas Brown is green and needs snaps to develop. FB Ovie Mughelli is a force and is not too far from pro bowl performance.

WR Roddy White and Michael Jenkins looked a great deal better with Ryan at QB. Funny how that works. White is already at all pro level and Jenkins is getting there. Brian Finneran is the only vet talent on the bench after the season ending injury to Harry Douglas. Because both Turner and Norwood are adequate receivers out of the backfield, that should be enough given their new TE. The future Hall of Fame Tony Gonzalez will become Ryan’s new safety valve. Gonzalez isn’t as fast as he was once but he is still among the most reliable TEs in the league. The team will use 2 TEs at times and Ben Hartsock is the blocking half of the duo.

The O line is mostly non-brand name guys but are adequate and got some additional depth in 09. The line is transitioning from lighter quicker linemen to big run blocking guys that move the pile. LT Sam Baker, LG Justin Blalock, C Todd McClure, RG Harvey Dahl, RT Tyson Clabo figure to be the starters with Brett Romberg, Jeremy Newberry and Will Svitek providing starting experience in the past. The young but injury prone C/G Ben Wilkerson has talent but has not been able to stay healthy enough to win a starting job.

The D line is a weak point of the team. RDE John Abraham is the leader and provides the most pass rush but has had injury problems over the last few years. The other 3 starting spots are question marks. Pressure is on both rookie DT Peria Jerry and 07 first round pick E Jamaal Anderson. They must be effective if the team is to get very far in the playoffs. Up to now Anderson has been a disappointment. T Jonathan Babineaux shows flashes of being a quality starter but is inconsistent. There is not much quality depth behind them.

The linebacker group has been totally reworked. MB Curtis Lofton is the only holdover. WB Michael Peterson was signed from Jacksonville and should be an improvement. SB Stephen Nicholas has the inside track to the starting spot. Coy Wire provides about the only experience on the bench.

FS Erik Coleman is the only sure thing in the D backfield. He is solid but not special. S Thomas DeCoud and one of my sleeper picks rookie William Moore from Missouri will battle for the SS spot. Brent Grimes and Chris Owens will battle for the CB spot opposite Chris Houston. Houston improved last year but needs to keep developing.

OVERALL: The team will need to play keep away by continuing to run the ball to win. The D as a whole is the weaker side of the team. The Falcons will have to fend off the Saints to win the division but will not advance in the playoffs unless the D comes around. The D won’t and the Falcons will be one and done again.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Falcons,Jaguars,Fantasy Football,Ryan,Turner,Norwood,White House,Jenkins,Blalock,Clabo,Newberry,Abraham,Anderson,Jerry,Lofton,Coleman,Houston

Dallas needs a new head coach to get to the next level

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I live at a lake. I see people fall off their jet skies all the time. The craft just goes around in a circle. That is what has happened to the Cowboys. They have not won a playoff game since Romo was in high school. Without a coach in control of a pro team, the franchise will not advance.

The reason that Wade Phillips is still the coach must be that Jerry Jones wants to surround himself with lackeys. We know that Jones knows a coach when he sees one because he has had a couple of the best in the history of the game. So why Phillips? Because Jones wants to be “the” star of stars in Dallas. Phillips couldn’t be a star in a basketball league of 5 year olds.

QB Tony Romo is more of a pop culture star than an NFL star. He seems to lack the discipline to move from good to great. Can you imagine him lacking discipline in a Bill Cowher or Bill Belichick locker room? Romo has “weak-itis.” He rolls up big numbers against the weak teams but folds in the big games in the 4th quarter when it counts the most. That in part has prevented the Cowboys from getting to the Super Bowl. Experienced QB John Kitna is now the backup and have drafted the QB of the future in Rudy Carpenter. The future may be sooner rather than later if Romo doesn’t play better this year.

The Boys took the “excuse” of Terrell Ownes away. But in doing that, they also took the best WR on the team away as well. What the Boys are left with are two “maybe’s.” The starters are Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton. Williams has yet to prove he can be the #1 guy. Crayton will make an unbelievable catch then drop two easy ones. He also has difficulty getting open. The bench consists of Miles Austin, Sam Hurd and a group of rejects and newbies.

The one guy that Romo can count on is all pro TE Jason Witten. He is consistent, tough, and seems to always be open. 6-7 Martellus Bennett is his backup.

The Boys might be better off being a run first team. They are loaded at RB. Marion Barber is a top back and Felix Jones isn’t far behind. Add to that Tashard Choice and Keon Lattimore and you have a stable of very good RBs.

Three starters on the O line are fine. G Leonard Davis and C Andre Gurode should be probowl players again. RT Marc Colombo is OK and can be good if he applies himself. The left side of the line is the potential problem. G Kyle Kosier is coming off of an injury in his foot. LT Flozell Adams is no where close to what he was and seemed to get old in a hurry. He needs to be replaced this year but there is no replacement on hand. He will be gone next season for sure.

On the D line, the questions are at end. LE Marcus Spears has shown flashes of great ability but is consistently inconsistent. He is in the final year of his deal and will produce or move on. Ex-Charger Igor Olshansky replaces UFA Chris Canty. Igor is average at best but there is no quality depth. The NT is pro bowler Jay Ratliff. He collapses the pocket and had 7.5 sacks last year. He needs help at E. His backup will be Junior Siavii orTim Anderson.

The backers include sack master DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer who replaces Greg Ellis and is questionable. ILB Keith Brookings is fine and fellow ILB Bradie James is adequate but a little old. The depth is very suspect.

The only solid player in the secondary is CB Terence Newman. His running mate will be either Mike Jenkins or Orlando Scandrick neither of whom has proven himself. The safeties are Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh. Hamlin fell off last year and needs to rebound. Sensabaugh replaces Roy Williams who was a nightmare in coverage. There is little behind the starters but potential.

OVERLL: Teams that put a lot of their salary cap in a few players will always lack quality depth. That has hurt the Cowboys in the past. The biggest reason that they will not make it to the Super Bowl in 09 is lack of both preparation and discipline. The team commits penalties at crunch time then makes key mistakes that keeps them from challenging for a title. Sooner or later even Jerry Jones has to realize that Wade Phillips is not up to the job.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Cowboys,Jones,Phillips,Super Bowl,NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Romo,Belichick,Cowher,Ownes,Witten,Crayton,Ware,Williams,Hamlin

8 & 8 no longer good enough for the Texans

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For the front office and the coaching staff, another 8 win season could well be their last. The pressure is on to get over the average hump and get not only a winning season but a spot in the playoffs. But the team has a lot of questions to answer before that happens.


This is the third year of the “Matt Schaub” experiment. So far, Schaub has yet to complete a season. He is one of the talented but fragile QBs in the league. He is going to have to say healthy and improve in 09 to get this team into a playoff position. They are in the AFC South with two of the NFL’s best teams the Colts and the Titans. He must limit the turnovers and increase the TDs for the team to be competitive. His backups are Rex Grossman and Dan Orlovsky. Neither of those two are going to get the team to 9 or 10 wins.

The running game has had resurgence in 08 with rookie RB Steve Slaton. The team knew that Slaton had speed but were amazed with his ability to run inside through microscopic holes. There is quality and experience behind him in Ryan Moats, Cecil Sapp, and Chris Brown.

The receiver is outstanding—Andre Johnson. AJ has been a one man show making very average receivers Kevin Walter and 3WRs Andre’ Davis and David Anderson look good. AJ always has double or triple coverage. Walter had his best year in 08 and Davis can still go deep. Owen Daniels was drafted as a receiving TE but by hard work has developed into a good run blocker.

The line is coming around but isn’t there yet. All 5 started all 16 games. That is critical because of the zone blocking scheme the team uses. LT Duane Brown was a surprise 1st round pick in 08 but I featured him in the sleepers column. He has developed into an above average LT with the chance to become outstanding. Gs Chester Pitts and Mike Brisiel, C Chris Myers, and RT Eric Winston are all meshing well and should continue to improve as a group.

The only name behind this group is G Kasey Studdard but he may not make the final roster. Antoine Caldwell is pressing for a starting spot and C/G Chris White along with T Rashad Butler provide reserve strength.

The team has spent 3 first round picks on the D line but have not yet seen that level of results. RE Mario Williams was the first overall pick in 06 and DT Amobi Okoye was the 10th pick in 07. NT Travis Johnson and LE Antonio Smith join the starters and all must generate much more pressure on the QB to produce turnovers. Rookie DE Connor Barwin will become a pass rush specialist to help accomplish that goal.

Injuries reduced the effectiveness of this group in 08. MB DeMeco Ryans was the only one that stayed healthy all year. SLB Zac Diles and WLB Xavier Adibi played well but went down with season ending injuries. Rookie Brian Cushing was handed the SLB before OTAs and Diles will have to fight to get a starting spot back at the weak side again Adibi. Kevin Bentley, Chaun Thompson and Cato June all have experience and improve the bench considerably. They too will challenge for playing time.

The best DB Dunta Robinson threatens a holdout. That is not good news for a group that suffered from injury and lack of pass rush. The other starters are projected to be FS Eugene Wilson, SS Dominique Barber, LCB Jacques Reeves. Look for both Fred Bennett and Antwaun Molden to challenge for CB spots.

OVERALL: Given the two games each against the Colts and the Titans, anything over 8 wins would be a bit of a surprise. The Texans will be third again and fail to make the playoffs again.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Texans,Colts,Titans,Schaub,Sapp,Slaton,Wiilliams,Okoye,Ryans,OTA,Robinson,Brown,Moats,Grossman,playoffs
  • Author:
  • Published: Jul 1st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Mangini has only 3 problems with the Browns—Offense, Defense and special teams.

Mangini has only 3 problems with the Browns—Offense, Defense and special teams.

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Eric Mangini takes over a team that has sniffed a winning record seldom since the team returned in 1999. He has problems all over the field in all three areas of the team. We will discuss the D and ST tomorrow.



The line was a problem last year. LT Joe Thomas had a down year after being a rock in 07. Mangini and whoever plays QB will hold their collective breaths that Thomas says healthy because his backup, Rams et. al. castoff John St. Clair, is a turnstile and practitioner of the “look out” block. After making a look out block, the OL turns around to the QB and yells “look out!” LG Eric Steinbach is solid and RG prospect Floyd Womack has potential. The C position will be contested between last year starter Hank Fraley and new comer Alex Mack. If Mack and Womack can help the rest can protect the passer, the O may move the ball.


The QB position took the punishment for the lack of pass protection last year. The Browns were down to their 3 starter due to injury. This year the hope is that either Derek Anderson comes back to his probowl level of play or Brady Quinn turns potential into production. The second is more likely than the first. Anderson has the stronger arm and the better long ball but Quinn seems to have the inside track on the position.

The team signed Jamal Lewis to carry the ball again this year. The team has no full time starter insurance if he goes down. Fortunately for the fans of the Browns, Lewis seems durable. Backup Jerome Harrison is at best a 3rd down and change of pace back. Lawrence Vickers is versatile out of the backfield and is a capable lead blocker.


More than any other part of the O, this will determine how many points the O scores. All pro in 07 and top pass dropper in 08 Braylon Edwards is back. The team wanted to trade him but could not get the 1st and 3rd they were looking for. That is good because behind him there is not much experience. Rookie Bryan Robiskie and veteran FA Mike Furry will battle for the flanker position to work inside patterns. Unless last year 4th round pick Martin Rucker develops at TE, don’t expect much yardage from the position. The most likely starter at TE is vet Steve Heiden a fair blocker with good hands but no speed. Rucker or Robert Royal will be the backup.


One key question is will the Browns have an offensive personality. Mangenius said he wants to be “game plan specific” meaning he will run against teams weak in the line and pass on teams weak in the backfield. That is coach-speak for “I’m not sure if we can do either effectively.”

Winning in the AFC North is simple. Run the ball and stop the run. Last year, the Browns struggled at both and had a disastrous season. We will see if things change this year.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Browns,Mangini,Steinbach,probowl,Lewis,Thomas,Heiden

Niblets from around the net for 4/18/09

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Fryingpan Sports By Bill Smith


Best Email this week:

from TheonlyJustice on Mangini seems to be eliminating the leaders on the Browns.

I would feel a little better if Mangini was at least talking to the media a little .I can understand a new coach wanting to keep quiet a little bit about the off season and pre-draft goings-on, but all we have heard here in the Cleveland area is very little and less.

He has already turned off our best defensive player from last year Shaun Rogers. And he isn’t sure if he should use the 3-4 or 4-3 defense , has he looked at the films from last season? We DO NOT have the right linebackers or speed at D-End to keep the same D as Romeo used. And he is saying Derek and Brady will have to compete for the #1 QB, we in C Town are fed up with QB completions after one has had a chance to prove himself and for most of the time didn’t pass the test, Derek fooled the other teams for the first half of the 2007 season, and looked terrible last season. Anderson has a strong arm, but he CAN NOT throw the touch pass, so unless the Browns are trying to trade Derek they are going down the wrong path if they are seriously thinking about keeping Derek over Brady. After all the last regime went through to get Brady it would be terrible to trade Quinn before he gets the real chance to prove himself here.

You are exactly correct about the total lack of touch by Anderson. Given the number of teams that are starting stiffs, the “QB contest” is an attempt to build up the perceived value of Anderson. GM’s may be dumb but they are not stupid. It won’t work and if the Browns find a candidate for a trade, Anderson’s value will be a late 2 or 3 with a 2010 conditional choice based on performance.

Updates on previous columns:

The NFL and NBA should be brought before the Supreme Court.

There have been a couple of comments about the Bill of Rights applying only to government actions. That was true until the 1930’s and that was exactly what the founding fathers had intended. With the progressives taking over the court, the actual text and original intent of the Constitution has not mattered. They consider the Constitution a “living” document that must be expanded and contracted to address the political ends of these judges. Recent court decisions have added rights to the Constitution. For example, the right of privacy is nowhere in the text of the Constitution.

Because the individuals that have been denied entrance to the NFL and NBA are minority, the issue of racial discrimination is one area that should be explored. Frankly the education that public schools give to inner city kids is a violation of their civil rights. No amount of money spent on bad teachers and worse schools will make up for that. Until the inner city parents are given vouchers to allow them to pick a private school for their children, forcing athletes to go to college even for a year is unfair. The educational disadvantage forced on the players by government is a legitimate argument for striking down the rules.

The NFL shot itself in the foot when it allowed 19 year old DT Amobi Okoye into the league a couple of years ago. Okoye has proved that a 19 year old can not only compete but succeed in the NFL. He was a 1st round draft choice. Based on the Okoye case, age discrimination is another area that could be challenged. While it is normally the older people that use this aspect of civil rights law, this is another possibility.

The market for Owens will tell the Browns a lot about the trade value of Edwards.

It looks like Cleveland will trade WR Braylan Edwards to the Giants. After the Giants cut Plaxico “shoot me now!” Burress, the team really needs at least one and probably 2 WRs. Typically it takes a WR rookie two to three years to become productive. That is why they want Edwards. The Browns are asking for a 1st (29th overall) and a 3rd (91st overall). The reason that the deal has not been done is that the Giants are trying to get in on the action for Cardinal WR Anquan Boldin. Despite the fact that he has 2 years remaining on his contract, he wants the same 10 mil a year deal that his running mate Larry Fitzgerald who signed a 10 mil a year deal earlier. Both Fitzgerald and QB Kurt Warner have offered to give up 1 mil each to help get Boldin a new deal with Arizona.

My analysis: Boldin would likely cost more draft choices and money than Edwards but is much less of a head case. Chad Johnson (Cincinnati) is also available. One of them will be a Giant before the draft day 1 ends. The Titans and Ravens are also interested in a veteran wr.

The analysis of the Cutler trade.

Several draft prognosticators have Seattle taking QB Marc Sanchez (USC) with the 4th pick. It is looking more and more like the Seahawks will take Sanchez to replace an aging QB Matt Hasselbeck. There are several reports indicating that including one from respected NFL analyst Todd McShay, of ESPN. Now the Broncos have announced they will bring Sanchez in for a workout. They have 2 1st round picks 12 (1200 value) and 18 (900 value). They may be interested in trading up to get Sanchez. While many mock drafts show Sanchez falling to the Broncos at 12, that is not likely to happen.

My analysis: It would have been impossible for the Bears to trade up to get to #3 to get him. As I said in my column, the price for Cutler was not at all excessive. If you are going to be sure to get Sanchez, you have to trade into the 3rd pick worth 2200 points. Denver can do that with both 1s and a 3rd because they have an extra 3. No other team is in a position to trade up that high. I predict that no trade will happen and Sanchez will be taken in the 4th spot by Seattle or 8th by Jacksonville.

You draft out of fear of failure and you will fail.

You never have enough good big men.

It happens ever year around this time. The big guys are moving up the draft board. The reason this happens so frequently is fear. O line are the “safest” picks in the draft normally. If you draft a guy as a LT and he doesn’t have the feet to play there, try RT or G. That can protect a 20-30 million dollar guarantee. D line is somewhat more risky but both groups are far safer than QB or WR.

Fresh niblets:

The Bills trade LT Jason Peters to the Eagles.

The deal will send Peters, a multiple year pro bowl player, to the Eagles for their 2nd 1st round pick (28th), a 4th this year and a 4th to a 6th next year according to John Clayton. ESPN.com reported that the 2010 choice is a 6th. Peters will get a new extension of 4 years for 60 million added to his current 2 year deal. That deal includes 53 mil in new money.

My analysis: Peters played much better in 07 than he did in 08. Like several O linemen, he earned his pro bowl in 08 on rep. When he is interested, he is an outstanding tackle. A former TE, he has very good feet but went undrafted. He was signed by the Bills and converted to LT.

Derek Anderson (QB Cleveland) refused to have surgery on his injured knee.

Last year Anderson hurt his left MCL after the being hit more than a baseball in an Indians game. Eric “the silent” Mangini has refused to answer questions about Anderson’s condition (or anything else for that matter). EM has said that Anderson and Quinn will battle for the starting spot. GM George Kokinis said “Derek’s 100 percent.”

My analysis: The Browns will need both of them and 3 or 4 more unless the O line plays better in 09.

The Bills sign RB Rhodes.

The Bills signed former RB of the Colts Dominic Rhodes to a contract. He will have to fill in for suspended RB Marshawn Lynch who may be out 3 games due to a plea bargain on a gun charge.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Mangini,Rogers,Browns,NFL,NFL Drat,Anderson,Quinn,GM,NBA,NBA Draft,Supreme Court,Constitution,civil rights,Bill of Rights,Okoye,Edwards,Giants,Ownes,Boldin,Fitzgerald,Warner,Burress,Cutler,Sanchez,Seahawks,Hasselbeck,McShay,ESPN,Broncos,Bears,Bills,Eagles,Peters,Clayton,MCL,Colts,Rhodes
  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 20th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Should the Eagles move beyond the McNabb/Reid era?

Should the Eagles move beyond the McNabb/Reid era?

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Technorati Tags: Eagles, NFL, Draft, McNabb, Reid, Shanahan, Gruden, Arizona, Cardinals, Kolb, ESPN, Billick, salary cap, Jackson, Westbrook, Anderson, Losman, Plumber

Fryingpan Sports

Should the Eagles move beyond the McNabb/Reid era?

By Bill Smith

Before the Eagles went on a winning streak and got into the playoffs, there was a lot of talk about not bringing either head coach Andy Reid and QB Donovan McNabb back next year. When the Eagles won the playoff spot and then got to the NFC championship game, that talk went the way of the dinosaurs. After the Eagles were upset by the Cardinals the talk is back. Ownership has said that the pair will be back in an attempt to quash the speculation. However, talk radio indicates that the fans are not sold.

Eagle fans are famous for being among the toughest in the league. After all, they even threw snowballs at Santa. McNabb is no happier with the Eagles front office than the fans are with him. He learned that the Eagles used their first selection in the 07 draft (round 2) on QB Kevin Kolb on ESPN. He was not pleased. He has 2 years remaining on his contract but wants a new long term deal. Reid is said to want to know his future as soon as possible. If he is going to be with the team, he too would like an extension. But the question that a lot of people are asking is this: would the team do better without McNabb at QB and/or Reid as head coach?

First, look what Reid has accomplished. He has taken the Eagles to the NFC championship game 6 times in the last 10 years. Granted, he has won only one of those games and has yet to win a Super Bowl. But no available or current head coach has come close to equaling that record. While he has some input to the draft choices, he has not been given the power to select his own players. He has worked without an influx of great draft choices because the Eagles were always drafting very low.

Who would the team get to HC? The Eagle fans wouldn’t accept less than a name brand replacement. How would you feel if your team fired an Andy Reid for Joe X who had been a coordinator for a year or two? The team would also likely rebel. The Eagles are a veteran team. They would not accept just anybody to lead them.

There are 3 Super Bowl winning coaches that might be actively looking for a new job—Brian Billick, Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden. Would any of them take the Eagles job? I doubt it. Billick might but he doesn’t have a reputation of being tough and if anything, the NFC East is tough. Billick has been working on the NFL channel but has not shown up on any public hot list of coaching prospects.

Chuckie Gruden is tough enough but reports indicate he may want to sit out for awhile. Eagle management wouldn’t adjust to the Gruden way easily and neither would the Eagle fans. If the Eagle fans would have concerns about Gruden, think how the veterans on the team would react.

Shanahan does not look like a fit for Philly to me. He would fit in well on the west coast or the south, but not in Philly. He wouldn’t do well with the Eagle fans or the veteran team. They wouldn’t like him and he would not be comfortable there as well.

Then there is the question about McNabb. The question seems to come up every year that the Eagles fail to get to the Super Bowl. It seems that Eagle fans believe it is their inherent right to have their team in the big game every year. Sorry but it doesn’t work that way. Added to the question of the fan unrest is the salary cap hit would take by trading or releasing him vs. his salary which is to be 9 million in 09 and 10 million in 2010. He ranked 14th in the NFL this season with a passer rating of 86.4. He had over 3900 yards and 23 TDs with 11 interceptions. He was 4th in the league in the number of attempts per game. Without much of a running game this year, he was forced to pass much too often.

McNabb also had very few reliable receivers. That has been a problem for Philly ever since Terrell Owens exercised his way out of town. Now despite the number of McNabb attempts, the Eagles had only one receiver in the top 50 in catches—5′ 10” rookie Desean Jackson with 62 catches and 912 yards. The second highest on the list was running back Brian Westbrook with 54 receptions. The lack of sure handed receivers and a injury prone Westbrook to provide some offensive balance put the entire weight of the Eagles offense on McNabb. With Westbrook hitting the RB wall at the age of 30 next season, will the Eagle running game be even as good as it was this year? It is doubtful.

So if the team decided to jettison McNabb, who would replace him. Kevin Kolb? In the two seasons since the Eagles drafted him with their first choice in 2007 (2nd round), he has thrown 34 total passes with 17 completions and 4 interceptions but no touchdowns. That gives him a passer rating 21.8. Is that the kind of QB that can do better than McNabb? Not likely.

Then there are the free agent veteran QBs that are available. Anyone in Philly interested in giving Tim “I’m on the” Couch a contract? Didn’t think so. I am sure that the Browns would trade you Derek “one year wonder” Anderson for a 1st or 2nd round draft choice. How does that sound. Or maybe if you are really desperate, you can get Jake “thanks but no thanks” Plumber to come out of retirement and play. J.P. Losman is available but he went 0-4 in relief work this season and his 75.6 career passer rating won’t get.

Obviously there is little chance that any of those guys will do half as well as McNabb. There is also nothing on the horizon as far as rookie QBs in the draft. The top 2 will be gone by the time the Eagles pick and none of them are nearly as close to being ready to start as either Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco were last season.

The Eagles will keep McNabb if for no other reason than they have no choice. The same will apply to Andy Reid. How’s that for change? All dressed up and no one to take to the dance.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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