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Scouts Inc.: Sticking with McNabb best plan

11/23/2008

Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson
Even with an incredibly ineffective Donovan McNabb, the Philadelphia Eagles played a tough Baltimore Ravens team very tight in the first half, trailing 10-7. But after Eagles coach Andy Reid surprisingly pulled his franchise signal-caller at halftime in favor of Kevin Kolb, the wheels quickly fell off in this game -- and maybe for the Eagles' season, as the Ravens scored 26 straight points in embarrassing fashion. After the game, Reid would not say with any certainty whom his quarterback would be Thursday night when the Eagles play host to Arizona.

McNabb was not playing well leading up to his benching. Lately, his passes have been sailing, his mechanics and footwork have faltered and overall, his accuracy has been flat out poor. He has been missing open receivers and leaving plays on the field that simply needed to be made. The same was true Sunday, but probably worse than ever. The Eagles' record since McNabb's return from a knee injury at the start of last season has been below their norm and Philadelphia has been atrocious in very close games. However, Reid's pass-heavy play-calling and the lack of a consistent running game -- particularly in short-yardage and goal-line situations -- heaped an awful lot of responsibility on the shoulders of McNabb.

So, what to do now? If Reid feels as if his team has any possible chance at the postseason, it has to be with McNabb behind center. Being thrust into a game against the Ravens' defense is not the best way for a young quarterback to get his feet wet, but Kolb showed no signs of being ready to lead this team and save Philadelphia's season. Kolb also would get precious little practice time this week before the Thursday night game. So Kolb would have to prepare mostly in the film room for an attacking Cardinals defense that can confound even the most experienced quarterbacks. Not to mention, the Eagles will need all the points they can get to compete with the high-scoring Cardinals.

McNabb is the best quarterback that Reid has and the season isn't lost, at least not quite yet. That isn't to say that Kolb shouldn't take over at some point in this fading season, but now is not the right time.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.