Interesting “What If” Question

Posted: February 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 67 Comments »

Let’s take a break from discussing LBs and DTs and just have an interesting discussion.  Or debate.  I was checking out an Eagles blog called EaglesFan4Life when I saw an interesting post there.  The discussion…would the 2011 Eagles have made the playoffs with Donovan McNabb at QB?

So what do you think?

This isn’t some argument for bringing McNabb back or getting rid of Vick.  This is just a hypothetical discussion.  If you take away a handful of INTs last year…does that lead to an extra win and a division title?  The flip side is that McNabb is a descending player who was erratic even when he was good and there might have been a clunker or two for the offense to overcome.


67 Comments on “Interesting “What If” Question”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 2:23 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I don’t like this question. Not one bit.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 2:54 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Noted. Can’t discuss the same topics over and over. Gotta have a curveball from time to time. Just wait til I ask about whether we’d have won with Torrance Small in place of Riley Cooper. That’ll be hot stuff.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 3:02 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    No, it really is an interesting hypothetical. But I’m all about keeping the peace and I see this one getting nasty.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 3:56 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    i dont get riley cooper. sometimes he goes up and grabs a pass he has no business catching, other times its like he just lets it get intercepted or batted away. i dont get him…

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 4:07 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I mentioned this the other day. Raw football player. Focused on baseball a long time. Really emerged as Senior at UF. No offseason really hurt him last year.

  6. 6 Steven Dileo said at 2:26 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Tough question. I really don’t think Mike Vick did anything special this season. Basically the question you’re asking is if Donovan McNabb would have been better than Vince Young. I think the answer is yes.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 4:01 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    so then, would mcnabb be a good option at backup qb? how would the locker room deal with that? it could only work if mcnabb was ok with being a backup and collecting a full paycheck for playing about 4-6 games a year. it doesnt seem like he wants that. i dont think he responded well to marty’s coaching either so marty probably wouldnt want him. im wondering, what if the eagles made kafka their number 2 and developed jamarcus russell for a couple years. dont even let him get a sniff at qb this year. see how he takes it..

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 6:15 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I’d like McNabb as a backup here but I think it’s highly unlikely, and might be more circus than it’s worth. I don’t think he’s nearly as done as those other teams made him look, but he’d have to swallow a lot of pride.

  9. 9 Steven Dileo said at 2:30 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    The Bills, 49ers, Giants, and Seahawks losses came down to turnovers. The loss against Atlanta was due to defense. The losses against Chicago and Arizona were due to Vick’s production.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 2:55 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    DeSean’s muffed punt hurt badly in the Bears game. We had the lead and momentum. Life felt so good. Ugh.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 4:05 PM on February 19th, 2012:


  12. 12 Anonymous said at 4:37 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Yeah, it felt like we were going to win until… oops.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 6:15 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I think McNabb would’ve been a better backup for us than VY, but I think Vick is the best starter for us.

    Vick’s stats suffered from poor WR play this year. Both DJax and Maclin were dogs. Vick was marching us up the field to win that Atlanta game and Maclin dropped the ball that was right in his hands. Maclin had another game or two where he dropped some clutch plays.

    I think we would’ve won the AZ game if Reid would’ve played DJax, it was a close game, and our WRs were awful.

    Once we started using Celek more the offense got clicking.

    There were certainly a few games were the defense lost the games.

    I wouldn’t mind going into next season with Vick, and Dmac backing. Knows the system, knows the guys. I don’t think Dmac was a locker room pariah. He just didn’t work at being a great QB enough, lazy, and quick to make excuses. I think Vick is one of the best QB leaders we’ve had in a long time. I respect his accountability and actions on the field.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 9:57 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Weird that D-Nabb has gotten this “lazy” rap over the past few years.

    Wasn’t he known for his offseason workouts in Arizona, and critcized for bulking up too much later in his career?

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 12:22 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    he looked really overweight at times…

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 3:14 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    He got it in DC, and Minn. I think Dmac was a great athlete and talent coming into the NFL. He could get by on that talent alone, and although there were reports of offseason workouts, it never translated to him having better seasons until he got T.O. and better WRs. Reports were also that he wasn’t a first in / last out kinda guy. Not sure who told him to bulk up, it really took the mobility out of his game and endurance. I think if we had yr 1-3 DMac playing in the Superbowl we could’ve won it because he wouldn’t have been gassed at the end, plus his athletisism would’ve been useful to buy us more downs and to tick time off the clock.

    He was known to for his AZ workouts because he has a nice house here, the weather is great in the offseason, and he’s a fun guy to be around, but don’t confuse him for a Drew Brees offseason workout.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 3:19 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Not getting nasty here but less interceptions, less completed passes, less yardage, still having a newb field goal kicker missing, our red zone still stinking…
    They might have won one more game or so but would have gotten beat first game post season.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 6:15 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I like this reply. And I think this is as far as I want to go with this hypothetical. It doesn’t do any good to wonder anyway.

  19. 19 Daniel Suraci said at 3:20 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Who would have expected McNabb to be healthy for the entire season if he had actually played? He’s huge, but he’s had a health issues pretty often. Who would have expected him to fix his mechanics so he didn’t throw balls in the dirt (what felt like) every high pressure play?

    McNabb when he was playing had horrible stats and horrendous accuracy. Maybe he has less interceptions, but almost no production.

  20. 20 James Coe said at 3:25 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Are we talking McNabb now, or in his prime? Would he be the starter or the backup? I really don’t see how he could have made a difference, certainly not at this stage of his career.

  21. 21 Alex Karklins said at 3:31 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    “How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?… Yeah… Coach woulda put me in, we would’ve been Super Bowl champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.”

    -Donovan McNabb

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 4:08 PM on February 19th, 2012:


    Has anyone watched the Napoleon Dynamite show? I tried one episode and it didn’t do a thing for me.

  23. 23 Kammich said at 4:40 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I’ve seen 2 or 3 episodes now(I need something to watch before “Walking Dead” at 9). Its just a little too bizarre for my liking. The film is quirky in its own right, but you throw that into the animation medium and things get a little weird.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 4:42 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Animation does hurt. Lost the vibe the movie had in the one episode I watched.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 4:52 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Speaking of shows, haved you seen the Walking Dead? fantastic.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 5:07 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Yeah, it is very good. Had a discussion on it last weekend in the movie post.

  27. 27 Kristopher Cebula said at 5:13 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    awesome show

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 3:46 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Yes. He knows our system very well and he would have spread the ball around more.
    The offense would have been better run I think. I missed DMac last season. I hope he fights his way back and plays at least a few more seasons.

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 4:03 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    i think vick spread the ball out pretty well last year. they had 3 guys with over 800 yards and avant almost had 700 yards. that’s pretty good. i guess there’s a drop off after that though.. i think the team needs bigger targets who will get open underneath so vick can see them when he’s running for his life…

  30. 30 Kristopher Cebula said at 5:14 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    don’t forget about all of the times he spread the ball out among the defense

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 9:58 PM on February 19th, 2012:


  32. 32 Anonymous said at 3:54 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    i got another one. what if the eagles hired buddy ryan as defensive coordinator?

  33. 33 Anonymous said at 3:58 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    marty would need to get some protective head gear..

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 4:09 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    No way Buddy works for Andy Reid and that style of offense. Buddy’s head would explode.

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 4:39 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    OK, then what if we had hire Rex Ryan’s twin?

    So we’d have the “Dream Team” comment AND the “coach who talks a lot of crap but can’t back it up” thing going all season combined with the losing… sounds like the perfect storm.

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 5:02 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    yeah he couldnt work for andy… but didnt buddy just want the offense to do what they do, and he worries about the defense?

  37. 37 Jonathan said at 4:37 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    No, they do not make the playoffs with McNabb as starter. But, I think they do make the playoffs with McNabb as back-up.
    My reasoning: They have a better shot to win the Atlanta game, the first Giants game, and the Seattle game.
    I think that’s worth one or two wins, not to mention the possibility that he could have helped Vick handle some of the offense after the abbreviated offseason. (All this assumes he could have played that role with the right attitude, which is not a given).
    But, if McNabb had to start the whole year, he would have played worse, on balance, than Vick did and they would have lost some of the games that they won with Vick.

  38. 38 Kammich said at 4:38 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Good question. Hard to quantify. Vick had a lot of frustrating moments last season, but I still feel that he plays a big part in the natural evolution of the offense. This is, by all means, Shady’s team on offense. Would it be that way if McNabb was still under center? Who knows. Vick just seems to better fit what we’re scheming on O these days.

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 4:46 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    No offense ..but I’m not big on hypotheticals.More interested in stuff kike possible trade partners for the Iggles with respect to AS22…..I say NE,TB,….possibly the Rams.All teams in desperate need of a probowler in the secondary …….
    No looking what if’s…..just focused on 2012..bring on the combine,FA and the Draft……..
    Tommy… next post should be your wish lists for FA and the draft…just a suggestion
    Keep Blogging T…..Iggle Nation apprecaiates it.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 4:52 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    My head will explode if every single day is a 1200 word post on some serious topic that then gets debated for 12 hours.

    We need weird topics mixed in from time to time.

  41. 41 Kammich said at 5:01 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    It really does break up the monotony of the pre-Combine NFL schedule. I fully support it. The movie thread last week was a great respite from the continuous beating of dead topical horses.

    The next topic should ask the question: which family dinner table is more entertaining? The Matthews or the Mannings? Food for thought. Pun intended.

  42. 42 Anonymous said at 6:17 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Maybe I’m just being a grammar dick here, but you’re not interested in hypotheticals, just things that could possibly happen?

  43. 43 Anonymous said at 4:52 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Are you kidding? McNabb in 2011 was so over the hill he had to get a walker.

    A better question is whether Kolb would have done better than Vick.
    Or, even wilder, would the Eagles have won if they didn’t trade Kolb?

    Vick 423 253 59.8% 3303 7.8 18-14 23 sacks 84.9
    Kolb 253 146 57.7% 1955 7.7 9-8 30 sacks 81.1

    Now put this in some perspective, Vick had a good and improving OL, great skill players, Kolb had a below average OL (Levi Brown at LT, Keith at RT), Fitz, Doucet and Roberts, no legitimate NFL TEs, no decent RB outlet (Wells only caught 10 passes all year, Taylor was washed up).

    Kolb as the Eagles QB wouldn’t have taken the pounding he took in Zona, but the offense would have to be different, DeSean would have to catch over the middle, the TEs would have been used more, a more ball control offense, less shotgun. Sorta Garcia 2006 type of offense.

    Now if Kolb’s the backup, they don’t have DRC, so Hanson is the nickel from the start of the season. That might have been worth one win right there! And your backups don’t throw 11 interceptions.

  44. 44 Kammich said at 5:03 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    One day the saber-heads out there will develop a statistic that is the football equivalent to baseball’s “WAR,” Wins Above Replacement. I’d be genuinely curious to see a formula that puts a numerical value on how much a player like DRC or Casey Matthews helped/hurt us in win/loss totals.

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 5:05 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    kolb’s always going to take a pounding. he has no idea how to feel the pocket. that’s why he’s completely dependent on his inner clock (ie, after 2.7 seconds, start running backwards). he has no feel for when he should step up, when he should step left, etc. just back and to the right. back and to the right. back…. and to the right…

  46. 46 Liam Garrett said at 5:31 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    We forgot to mention “JFK” in the film thread. Awesome movie. Tour de force film-making.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 5:17 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Donovan is an interesting player to me. I think he basically plateaued after his first couple of years in the league, and was essentially the same player in 2009 as he was in 2003. I’m not sure what happened to him. If Buck doesn’t wreck his knee in that first NFCCG, I think we go on to win the Super Bowl, and his career could have been much, much different.

    As to the question at hand, all I can say is that he’s one of those guys whose arm strength would last much longer than his desire to play. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think we would have seen the noticeable drop off in play had he stayed like we did in Washington and Minnesota. Andy always seemed to get the most out of Donovan…that Donovan would allow.

    Perhaps that only makes sense to me.

  48. 48 Jonathan said at 5:29 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I think you’re absolutely right about Buck and the NFCCG. We were in control of that game until he got hurt. I also think you could argue McNabb actually regressed between 2003 and 2009. The more committed he became to being a pure pocket passer, even though he got better at that aspect of his game, the less dangerous I thought he became. I remember times during his first few years when he would get out of the pocket and you could just see the DB’s had no idea what to do–come up and make the play on him or try and stay in coverage–and whatever they did, he seemed to make them pay for it. Once that part of his game began to go away, he never seemed as dynamic to me, even though his passing numbers were better. I still long for the promise of the early 2000’s.

  49. 49 Anonymous said at 6:03 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    McNabb regressed after 2004, the injuries in 2005 and 2006 not only hurt his mobility, but also his accuracy, especially the 11-20 yard throws. He was one of the most inaccurate QBs in the league in 2008-2009 and had lost his long ball.

    The amazing thing is the Eagles still had a top offense, which shows you how good of play callers MM/AR really are, because Westbrook was finished, McNabb was no longer a top 10 QB, Tra and Runyan were on their last legs, JJ couldn’t stay healthy and they still made it work.

    Which is why I think they would have made it work with Kolb, or any decent QB (VY need not apply), heck, if Kafka has a full offseason to work with them. They adjust the offense as needed (2006 with Garcia, 2nd half of 2008 when McNabb was misfiring), rebuild the OL, maximize the production of their skill players.

    And Howie should be serving time for grand larceny, getting a high 2nd and a 4th for McNabb.

  50. 50 Anonymous said at 7:01 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    We disagree on the arm I guess. I still think he can sling it. It was never about his arm for me. Just his head.

  51. 51 Anonymous said at 6:23 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Absolutely. McNabb was too obsessed with shedding the label of typical black quarterback and not focused enough on using those gifts to everyone’s advantage. Even in his last season as a starter he had a 27-yard run against Denver that was a beautiful thing.

    A QB that can both buy time to throw, and get you a first down running when all else fails is a wonderful luxury. QBs with quick releases and amazing accuracy seem to have more success, but absent that, the mobility is great. Some guys can’t run but can move in the pocket (Brady), and that’s great too.

  52. 52 Gregory Post said at 5:39 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Another “what if” scenario for you Tommy, got this from the Eagles website. Which player on the current roster has the best shot at the Hall of Fame IF they keep a high level of production? Vick? Samuel? Asomugha? Are Maclin or McCoy destined for greatness? Nobody on the roster as of now is a “lock”, but there is definite potential for that to happen for at least one if not two players on the roster.

  53. 53 Anonymous said at 12:29 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    i might have to go with maclin for longevity, consistency, and maybe a superbowl or two. but only because i doubt vick’s getting in…

  54. 54 Jack Waggoner said at 6:09 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    It’s an interesting question. Maybe. I tend to think not, it doesn’t seem like McNabb has been playing well lately, and I’m not sure it’s *only* because he was on different teams. If you give me McNabb from 5 years ago, then probably yes.

  55. 55 Septhinox said at 7:21 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    That’s not enough info for a thought out debate.

    Which McNabb? The 2007 version or the 2011 version. The 2011 version was benched for a rookie and eventually cut. He was then bypassed by Dallas and Houston for low end journey-men QBs. So, your asking if this person could have led the Eagles to the playoffs? Seriously?

  56. 56 Tom Gryn said at 1:22 PM on February 21st, 2012:

    2011 McNabb on the Eagles > 2011 McNabb on the Vikings and > 2010 McNabb with Washington.

    In Philly, DM wouldn’t have had to learn another new offense, and would have had more to work with at the other skill positions. And, as their seasons turned out, its not at all clear that either Dallas or Houston (or Chicago) made the right call by choosing the way they did.

  57. 57 Anonymous said at 7:39 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    Aside: In the 2001 NFC title game, Buck’s ankle went — not his knee.

    And that Rams game turned in two ways in the 2nd half. First, the Rams decided to pound the crap out of the ball and run it up and down the field. Eagles couldn’t stop ’em.

    The Eagles gave up the running game and put it all on D-Mac’s shoulders . . . despite the success Buck had during the 1st half.

    Yet there we were with 2-plus minutes left: D-Mac with a chance to win the NFC title game.

    Regrettably, as he did (or seems like he did) so many times after that — AZ NFC Title game anyone? — D-Mac had the ball with a chance to win it, but didn’t get it done.

    Unlike Eli Manning. Tom Brady. Ben Rothleisberger. Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees. And Peyton Manning.

    D-Mac was good. Not great. Just good.

    Having lost his legs (or having stopped working out) this past off-season, D-Mac — whom I really enjoyed and respected — does NOT get the Eagles to the SB this past year.

    Does it really matter if the Eagles made the playoffs?

    The SB is what matters.

  58. 58 Anonymous said at 9:46 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    I agree with the gist of most of the points you make in this post … but you can’t definitively end the argument the way you did, not when the most flash-of-brilliance/flawed team in the league through 14 games did go on to win it all.

    As flawed as the Eagles looked with all the talent all running in different directions, we can’t be as certain as we once were that they wouldn’t have gone on a run. I certainly posted as much back at the time, but after what I saw the Giants do, I’m a convert … no team that’s eligible to get in is ever out of it, until they actually are.

    Anyway the Eagles aren’t going to be in that position next year, since they’re clearly gonna be dominant …

  59. 59 Anonymous said at 10:58 PM on February 19th, 2012:

    “Off topic,” I guess, but I’ve decided my Draft 2012 Man Crush will be WR Danny Coale. This is an easy one for me because I’m an alumnus of Virginia Tech; however, Coale will likely be a 3rd round or later pick. I’ve been wanting to talk about Coale for a while, but now he’s finally starting to get some “attention” from the national media types.

    He’s got good size and speed. Tommy will have to tell us if he’s a good fit for the slot or not, but I remember him mostly as an outside WR. Coale is also a receiver who’s not afraid to catch the ball in traffic or run the type of plays Andy usually likes to give to Chad Hall. He’s also shown he does everything a coach asks him to do: special teams, punt, return kicks, etc.

    Coale isn’t going to be a replacement for DeSean, but I think he’s a solid selection in the 3rd round.

  60. 60 Kammich said at 3:23 PM on February 20th, 2012:

    There’s a funny stigma with draft analysis(not amongst legit guys like Tommy and a lot of you guys here, but the general media), where if there’s a white wide receiver, it becomes “Hey, he’s just like Wes Welker!” If there’s a black QB, its “Hey, he’s just like Michael Vick!”

    I know a lot of people who are immediately going to try to compare Coale to Welker, and they’ll be wrong. Because Coale isn’t some crafty, blue-collar, savvy route-running specialist… the kid can BURN. He has legit 4.3 speed, and a chance at being a legit deep threat in the NFL. I live in Virginia Beach on a part-time basis(long story), so I also see a lot of Tech games, and I like the kid a lot.

  61. 61 Anonymous said at 12:40 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    If McNabb was in goal, would the Flyers have beaten the Penguins Saturday?

  62. 62 Anonymous said at 12:47 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    Now I like where this thread is going…

  63. 63 Anonymous said at 7:55 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    What if he had been sponsored by Progresso instead of Chunkys?

  64. 64 Anonymous said at 9:41 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    Damn you!!! I wish I’d thought of this. Genius.

  65. 65 Kammich said at 3:26 PM on February 20th, 2012:

    I really think the Flyers goalie position is cursed. Ever since Pelle died, the position has been in an eternal state of flux(outside of some Hextall glory years). I really thought we finally had it shored up this year, but its still a fucking mess. Cursed, I tell you. Cursed!

    It probably doesn’t help that our two goalies look like they should audition for the evil Russian bad guy role in the next Die Hard movie.

  66. 66 Anonymous said at 5:16 AM on February 20th, 2012:

    I’m not sure, the older they get and become skimpy, unable to read in play-making performance. VY and Mcnabb makes faltering decisions, even when the lines are protecting them. If I could believe anything between Vince and Donovan outperforming each other, it would have to be Mcnabb, he has the quicker arm of the two. I don’t like seeing balls floating in the air, taking too long to reach the pocket and getting picked or slapped away.

    The reality of the question is VY won 1 out of 3 games during Vick’s absent. Hypothetically in those 3 games, could Donovan have outperform Young to the point of winning 2 out of 3, it would be more of a possibility. Say he does win all 3 games and a possible 1 more game to keep Vick rested, perhaps unlikely. If it were a likely scenario, he does win the 4th game, the possibility would continue for Vick to be ready to jump in and Mcnabb out-playing himself, and Vick could keep the winning streak momentum. In truth, could Mcnabb gives us that 1 game differential to make the playoff, considering at the time, put us on the top of NFC EAST and winning the last 4 games of the season. IMO it’s highly possible, goes to show that Mcnabb would have been a better backup.

  67. 67 Raul Estrada said at 7:46 PM on February 20th, 2012:

    Nope. He would’ve had a worse relationship with DeSean Jackson as he was sulking the season away.