Things went from bad to far worse yesterday when Iggles head coach Andy Reid benched QB Donovan McNabb in favor of Kevin Kolb during a 34-7 loss to the Ravens, a circumstances former Philly RB/kick returner Vai Sikahema likens to “divorce via text message”. From NBCPhiladelphia.com :
I predict on Monday, Reid is going to be surprised that there’s a backlash on this issue.
That’s how out of touch Reid has become.
Obviously, getting benched at halftime isn’t the same as dissolving a marriage, but in football terms, it’s often the first step to a final separation.
By it’s very nature, the quarterback position deserves more attention than the other 52 men on the squad. He’s the leader, the unofficial team spokesman and often, the face of the franchise. That’s why it’s monumental when one is benched, released, traded or retire. Often, those announcements are made in the company of the owner, city officials, an entire organization and the player’s family tree.
That’s why there was a shock wave through the media corps when someone asked Reid after the game how McNabb was notified of the benching and he nonchalantly mentioned that he hadn’t yet even spoken to Donovan. It was McNabb who confirmed after Reid’s press conference that Pat Shurmur informed him of the benching.
Even those who aren’t McNabb fans will be surprised by this. And the Eagles will go into damage control Monday because they will have misjudged how this will resonate with their fan base.
Because most people consider being notified of a demotion by the boss a common courtesy that should have been given to a loyal soldier, a franchise player and a good employee – even one whose best years may be behind him.
PhillyBurbs’ Jeff Offord, though less concerned with doing right by McNabb compared to winning the game, insists, “Sunday was the low point of Reid’s tenure.”
Was it the right move? Dumb, stupid. A panic move. Call it what you will, but McNabb should have come back for the second half. No matter how poorly he was playing ” he had just finished the first half 1-for-9 ” McNabb should have been left in the game. There will be a place and time to relieve McNabb of his duties for good and let Kolb take over. But lifting McNabb Sunday just didn™t make sense. Especially trailing by just three points, with the Birds needing a win badly and with Brian Westbrook ” the team™s best player ” nowhere near 100 percent. McNabb gave the Eagles their best chance to win against a Ravens defense that might just be the best in the NFL.
Ok, but what about Kolb? What about him? He didn™t look good, but what else would you expect from the poor kid? Reid threw Kolb into the fire hoping for a spark. What he got was a Bobby Hoying-like meltdown. Kolb completed 10 of 23 attempts for 73 yards and two interceptions, including one that was brought back an NFL record 108-yard touchdown. Reid probably would have been better off letting third-stringer A.J. Feeley finish the game. But then Reid would have risked shattering Kolb™s confidence. Not that staying in the game really did anything to build his confidence.
Not to be outdone, Mike Ditka was asked for his assessment of the Eagles’ chances against Arizona on ESPN Radio this morning and suggested Philly “needs to score more points”. With this sort of trenchant analysis, ’tis no wonder Da Coach’s opinions are so sought after on Monday mornings.