Missing Donovan

Posted: June 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 51 Comments »

Donovan McNabb was a hot topic on Twitter tonight.

Dan Graziano of ESPN”s NFC East blog wrote a nasty post that ripped McNabb for some comments that he made in regard to RG3. Derek from Iggles Blog took umbrage and went after Graziano.

Here is the source material that began the whole deal, an interview from a Washington Post writer.

Graziano thinks McNabb can’t be taken seriously in regard to RG3, due to some comments he made about RG3 not being a good fit for the Shanahan offense last spring. Graziano thinks McNabb is still bitter at Shanny and is getting in digs at him.

Derek’s point is that Dan is speculating about McNabb’s comments and is being completely unfair.

This argument doesn’t get me too fired up, but the state of Donovan McNabb does bug me a bit. That’s Donnie Mac. That’s #5. And he’s trying to get a meeting set up where he and his dad can talk to RG3 and his dad to offer some advice. I like the sentiment, but it just feels weird to me. McNabb mentioned it a couple of times in the interview in the article, as if this was the modern version of the Yalta summit. Is he that bored? Is he that arrogant? Is he just that damn nice?

I’ve been a big Donovan McNabb fan since he first beat UNC in the late summer of 1995. That was the first game of his career. I watched it and probably have it on tape somewhere. I’d never heard of McNabb before then, but he impressed the heck out of me. 4 years later he became the Eagles QB and led us to a great decade.

Did I ever get frustrated with McNabb? Sure. There were plenty of times he drove me nuts. That would have been true of just about any QB, though. You think Packers fans didn’t get mad at Brett Favre after some of his INTs? You think Colts fans didn’t get mad at Peyton after some playoff meltdowns?

Mostly, I loved the McNabb era. For every bad moment, there were 5 good ones. Maybe more. Not only was he a good player, McNabb was a good guy. He was a family guy. He smiled and had fun with his job. It drives me crazy that some pro athletes look so miserable, despite the fact they are living out their (and our) dreams.

Things changed in April 2007. The Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb and McNabb was never the same. He simply did not handle that well. Andy Reid had been as much mentor as coach, but now Reid was choosing a new QB. Donovan saw the writing on the wall and that changed his relationship with coaches and the team forever.

We didn’t know this at the time. Reid and McNabb said the right things publicly. The team was 8-8 that year, almost got to the Super Bowl in 2008 and then went 11-5 in 2009. That’s a good run for an unhappy QB.

Reid traded McNabb on Easter of 2010. He sent McNabb to a team that he wanted to go to. Donovan would finally get to play in a run-heavy offense. His mobility would be perfect for the bootleg plays and Shanahan was a wizard at getting production from lesser skill players. Life was going to be good.


McNabb, like many veteran players, had gotten accustomed to doing things a certain way, the Reid way. McNabb did not want to learn the Shanahan way and they clashed. That led to McNabb being demoted to the #3 QB spot. In 2011 McNabb went to the Vikings, a team run by a former Reid protege, Leslie Frazier. Donovan was back among family. Life would be good.


The Vikings staff tried to get McNabb to work on his mechanics. He would hear none of it. McNabb started 6 games that year and was cut in December.

McNabb does have some wisdom to offer young QBs, but it is more than a little funny that he brought about the end of his career because he was uncoachable. McNabb did not want to adapt to new coaches and systems. He did not want to fix errors in his mechanics. Maybe 2010/2011 McNabb could have used an older McNabb to come back from the future and tell him to pull his head out of his ass. Has anyone done a sequel to Looper yet? We’ve got the football version right here.

Donovan seems to be in no-man’s land right now. His career is done, but it didn’t end well. And the messy ending was public. That had to diminish his media standing. McNabb seemed like such a natural for TV a decade ago. It was a no-brainer. I’ve seen him a few times and it is awkward. I think that is as much his role as him. In time I hope he settles into a role and becomes fun to watch. For the love of god, get him more air time and take it away from Jamie Dukes.

More than anything, I want Donovan to come home and be a more active member of the Eagles family. He is going to retire as an Eagle in September. That will be cool. Hopefully it will lead to him being more comfortable with being around the organization. We (us and him) need to embrace his career and remember the good times.


51 Comments on “Missing Donovan”

  1. 1 Mitchell said at 1:01 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    I became an Eagles fan because of Westy and McNabb not to mention Dawkins. I guess you could say I jumped the band wagon as a kid but I remain a fan and am happy that McNabb will retire an Eagle. No matter how much flak fans have him, he was still a good player and from what I can tell a decent person, especially in comparison to some other NFL players.

  2. 2 P_P_K said at 8:43 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    You got on board during one of the glory days of Eagles football. Donnie was a great qb and a great role-model. I hope fans will will come around to appreciating what we had in him, and show him more love as time goes on.

  3. 3 Derek / IgglesBlog said at 1:24 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Hi Tommy,

    To be clear, my point isn’t that it’s unfair to criticize McNabb. I also thought his remarks to the Post were poorly conceived. He accomplished pretty much the opposite of what he intended to do. Why would RGIII hear him out now?

    Sadly, this is the Donovan we all know too well. The guy just has an uncanny knack for saying exactly the wrong thing to inflame a situation. It’s a gift.

    My beef with Graziano was about his take on Donovan’s intentions. He wrote that Donovan’s remarks only “enlighten[ed] us about nothing other than his own jealousy and anger” and “he’s obviously still upset about the way things went for him in Washington, and quite frankly he’s taking it out in childish ways with regard to Griffin, who has done nothing to deserve it.”

    That’s absurd. McNabb has praised Griffin many times. He even did it in the very piece Graziano claims to be responding to (I have my doubts he actually read the whole thing and not just the ESPN summary).

    McNabb’s point was clear: You’re on top now, but things won’t always be this great, so be careful about the ammunition you’re giving your critics now — it will come back to bite you later.

    Can anyone honestly not understand why McNabb would feel this way? Yes, it’s a horribly negative, embittered way of seeing the world, but it’s also McNabb’s post-2004 reality.

    In these statements, I think we can also hear echoes of some of what happened at the end of McNabb’s tenure with the Eagles. Youth never listens. Especially when the old guys are tone deaf.

    Also, minor nitpick in that I didn’t “go after” Graziano. I just pointed out that he was doing exactly the thing McNabb was warning RGIII about. He went from there.

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 10:25 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Sorry for mis-representing your comments/intentions.

    There is a lot of truth in what you say.

    I do wonder how we’d feel if this wasn’t our former hero at the center of the discussion. The fact that the uncoachable QB is trying to offer his advice to the young guy is more than a bit ironic. If Donovan ever owned up to the fact that his ego and stubborn streak is what drove him out of the league, then his comments would completely be worthwhile. He’d be speaking from an honest, humble standpoint. Instead, I can see where others think he is trying to play big brother to someone in a “I wanna be seen as the good guy” way. Until he comes clean, isn’t he being a bit of a hypocrite?

    I like Donovan so I’m going to try and see the good angle. I do see where the rest of the world might feel differently.

  5. 5 Derek / IgglesBlog said at 10:43 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Nah, you didn’t misrepresent them. I was just adding some detail.

    I wonder how much of McNabb’s end-of-career issues were situational. He sure seemed coachable in 2009 when he had a 92.9 QBR and was playing for Reid and Marty.

    This isn’t, ever, meant to say McNabb gets a free pass. We all make mistakes.

    I just think in this case his heart is in the right place, even if his tongue is throwing worm burners.

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 11:05 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    McNabb was used to Marty/Andy’s methods so there was no question of him making major changes. They had given up on doing much with his mechanics.

    The coaches in WAS and MIN wanted Donovan to make some changes. He wouldn’t hear of it. He also got onto Shanny about how they needed to bring over some of the stuff that Donovan had done in Philly. I wanna say it was screen passes.

    Shanny is a huge control freak and didn’t like the QB trying to tell him how to build the playbook / run the offense. If you read Jake Plummer on Shanny, Mike sounds like one awful human being. That was truly a terrible personality match (DM/MS). Donnie was a veteran set in his way. Shanny wanted to micro-manage everything.

    I do tend to think Donovan is being sincere. The piece was a phone interview from Arizona to a WaPo writer. I’m assuming the writer called McNabb. If Donovan was trying to force himself into the situation aggressively, that would be different.

  7. 7 shah8 said at 11:33 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Shanahan, given how many ex-qbs of his hate his guts, I’m not liable to make many excuses for.

    In Mn, Dmac was operating without any training camp, or any real knowledge of the system. Of course, this excuse is perfectly acceptable for Ponder, but not for anyone else.

  8. 8 shah8 said at 11:30 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    That was pretty much my take as well. It’s showbiz and lots of nasty people make a sport of buttering you up just to see your face melt when they slap you. RG3 has actually been erratic in terms of speaking his mind, and he does actually need to zip it up. Not in terms of not talking, but in terms of not making cryptic comments as public statements, and learning to do that public spokesman patter as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

    People are nasty just about country accents, or the way you look, or even what school you come from. People will taunt you about your overbearing father and what expression you wore after the game.

    It can be a harsh gig, and RG3 plainly needed some kind of consultation, and even if he isn’t going to get it from DMac, at least he, or more likely, one of his crew, probably got the message that this is a real issue.

  9. 9 SteveH said at 2:18 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    First of all, Donovan’s advice has not been solicited, and unsolicited advice is annoying as hell. Donovan comes off almost like a control freak with his aggressive distribution of advice to someone who clearly doesn’t desire, or need it.

    Second, Donovan acts like his advice is such solid gold that there should be a summit of sorts, that he is so wise and important that this all needs to be made very official. This of course, is the same Donovan who never did win a super bowl, had an end of a career that was a train wreck, refused to take to coaching and frequently had a contentious and passive aggressive relationship with the media. He comes off as extremely self important in this regard.

    Donnie can claim righteous motives and all that but I’m not buying it. He might think he’s just trying to help, but this is really about Donovan being self important and wanting to make it seem like he knows something other people don’t know.

  10. 10 Average__Joseph said at 7:05 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    I agree with you, SteveH.
    Just An Average Joseph

  11. 11 S.Paxson said at 8:17 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Just riding coat tails trying to stay relevant..Good Ol Donnie can always be counted on to same something that makes him look like a petty fool. Will this boy ever grow up?

  12. 12 Cool Lester Smooth said at 9:49 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    I’m just gonna repost what I said on BGN:

    Hm, a young, black, mobile QB, drafted No. 2 overall and trying to carry a franchise back to relevance?

    I can’t imagine what McNabb would know about that. There’s certainly no reason for him to identify with RG3, and nothing from his experience that might be applicable to Griffin’s own.

    You’re right, there’s really no reason for them to be asking McNabb about RG3 other than the fact that he doesn’t like Mike Shanahan.

  13. 13 GEagle said at 10:41 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    why hasnt Donavan offered to mentor Cam Newton and his father? Not Dark enough for Donnie’s taste? Too Caramel complexion to sit under the great Donovan umbrella? lol..I hate this PC world, but if I have to live in it, then I prefer it to be equal. What would have happened if Aaron Rogers wanted to Mentor the next promising White QB Matt Barkley? lol could you imagine the shit storm? Why does the gay comunity get the special treatment of outlawing the use of derogatory gay terms EVEN WHEN ITS NOT EVEN USED IN THE GAY?SEXUAL contents? If the F****T word is completely intantly punishable, then how hasnt The N word completely been Policed out of pro sports,since its so disrespectful to African Americans especially that lived through Horrible times that as a people we shold be ashamed of?
    Like I said, I despise living in a politically correct world. Me personally, I dont believe in impowering words. There is no way in hell that a person can use a certain arrangement of letters to hurt me…but I understand if others are more sensative. But If I have to live in this politically correct world and have to censor myself, even when joking because of the religious, ethnic, cultural, sexial orrientation rights of others, I would like to see it evenly applicapable to all groups of people…and I dont understand how its OK, for McNabb to constantly be singling out Black players…because he can relate to being black? GTFO here, this aint the 70’s, its 2013, yes some people will always be ignorant, but get the hell over it. Im tired of this persecuted black man spiel out of McNabb and I think its a friggin slap in the face, to african Americans of our past who really had to endure racially based cruelty!!!
    Im going to rip my friggin eyes off, and Jam Knives in my damn ears if they dont take away this DOPES media platform soon!

  14. 14 Cool Lester Smooth said at 11:00 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Yeah. Not gonna engage.

  15. 15 shah8 said at 11:34 AM on June 4th, 2013:


  16. 16 GEagle said at 12:04 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Jesus to a comment asking for Equal Racial/Ethnical/Sexual orientation, sensativity FOR ALL groups of people? lol..Is it that bad to want every group of people to be held to the same sensativity standards and to treat everyone the same and stop seeing Colors, races, and empowering these barriers? I dont understand, did I disrespect anyone? lol

  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 12:19 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Send me an email. igglesblitz @ gmail

  18. 18 jshort said at 11:28 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here,
    or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a
    young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to
    him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things
    are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone and this old man is all that’s
    left. I got to live with that.

    Donnie must have seen shawshank to many times

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 12:50 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Great reference. That is some darn good writing by King/Darabont.

  20. 20 Stephen Stempo said at 6:38 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Not to change the subject but I don’t get espns adoration of mike shanahan. I’ve always thought of him as one of the most overrated coaches in the NFL. I mean is it because a lot of espn people have ties to Shanny? Honestly what has he done since ’98? He runs a decent run game I guess but he seems like a complete dick. I mean yeah, Donovan probably shouldn’t have attacked shanahan and it does look petty but if I’m not mistaken wasn’t shanahan kind of a dick publicly to mcnabb ? I love rg3 but I’m actually convinced that mike shanahan is going to ruin that kids career. I’m actually glad that Shanny is still the lolskins coach since it should keep them from winning anything significant unless rg3 does it all by himself. It’s just bittersweet. Maybe I’m wrong.

  21. 21 GEagle said at 6:48 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Stephen…you been messing up buddy. I want to grab my father, and meet up with you and your father, so we can talk!

  22. 22 P_P_K said at 8:38 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    “Maybe I’m wrong.”

    Nope. you are right on the mark.

  23. 23 GEagle said at 6:49 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Classic Donovan….what else can be said? lol……DMac is dense like a rock…how is he still so clueless?..I wonder what RG3’s dad says about this…would love to be a fly on the wall seeing RG3 LOL at Donovon….this Kid gets it, instantly faster then Donavon ever did…Don still doesnt get it…

  24. 24 S.Paxson said at 8:15 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    he will never “get it”

  25. 25 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 8:55 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    All things end badly, otherwise they don’t end. as time goes by the good will be remembered far more than the bad.

  26. 26 barneygoogle said at 9:21 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    I’m afraid I’ll always be a bit sour on McNabb. I think of so many games, where either in the 2 minute drill of the first half, or the last five minutes of the game, McNabb seemed disorganized, or throwing cinder-blocks, and unable to drive his team down the field.
    He did succeed a few times early in his career (mainly with his feet), but failed miserably so many times when he reached his “prime” years. He was no Manning or Elway in the clutch. The time-clock was not kind to him, nor Andy, and that’s what they both will be remembered for: time’s yours (not ours).

  27. 27 Thomas O'Leary said at 9:38 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    By “a few times earlier in his career” do you mean “Every year he was healthy between 2000 and 2009?”

    Because he was successful pretty much every year he was healthy between 2000 and 2009.

  28. 28 barneygoogle said at 11:44 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Donovan was a terrible two-minute quarterback. Time management by he and Andy-in fact- was the worst I have EVER seen from an over .500 team in 50 years of watching the NFL. Early on, he managed to pull a few games out with his running– never his head, rarely his arm.

  29. 29 Cool Lester Smooth said at 12:24 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Then I guess it’s a good thing he was so good during the other 56 minutes of the football game.

  30. 30 barneygoogle said at 4:38 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    McNabb had good and bad qualities–but a critical QB skill is running the 2-minute offense. In that he was poor, as was Andy’s coaching.
    Well, McNabb was great at the 2-minute “up-chuck.”

  31. 31 Jerry Pomroy said at 9:41 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    While he drove us all crazy at times, I appreciate what he did for the franchise & our beloved team. However, it seems that DMac is still carrying around the bitterness of what went down during his playing days. I will say that his smug remarks over the years really irked me. Just let it go man & find some peace and move on. You’ll be thankful you did.

    As for his seeking out RGIII to offer his advice. I gotta agree with some here. RGIII isn’t asking for your advice. It’s fine to offer, but it doesn’t need to be offered in public forum. Since it was, now if they don’t respond, DMac looks like a fool. If he really wanted to offer the kid advice, just seek him out in private. The fact that he wants to have a “meeting” & announce it publicly just tells me that DMac wants to spread his bitterness & wants everyone to think he’s relevant.

    One final thing about DMac that really bothered me was that he had this arrogance toward running with the ball. You were given the gift of mobility & that mobility could’ve extended some drives & won us some more games, but he let his pride speak over the sake of leading the team to possible victory. Randall was outspoken & could be a little arrogant, but he never once tried to defy the football gods & if he needed to run to help his team…he ran, despite his critics.

  32. 32 Cool Lester Smooth said at 9:46 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Maybe he lost some of that mobility after the whole “tearing his ACL” shebang in 2006.

    Lots of people never really come back from that.

  33. 33 Jerry Pomroy said at 10:31 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Possible, yes. But my point is more that he shunned at the lable from his critics about being a mobile QB, and it seemed like he was more concerned with proving them wrong than taking off with the ball. To your point, you could see that he lost some of his shuck & jive after, but there were still 3-4yd scampers for 1st downs that he could’ve ran for but you could see his mental hesitation to do so.

    Don’t get me wrong, I said it in my previous comment, I appreciate everything he did as a player. I just think he let too much get to him mentally & still is carrying that with him today. My favorite QB all-time is Elway & I saw a lot of him in McNabb early on. But eventually the comparisons faded when McNabb resisted in his using his natural ability to extend drives with his feet. Elway was never as athletically gifted running than McNabb,but he still ran for the 1st down marker despite his critics that called him slow & sluggish. So my point is that Donovan could’ve been more than very good & the Eagles all-time leading QB. Had he used his ability despite his criticisms, he could’ve been an NFL great. That’s all.

  34. 34 Cliff said at 9:48 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    I’ll always like McNabb. Just had to say it because there’s so much anti-McNabb going on in these comments right now.

  35. 35 GEagle said at 10:43 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    ok, so you like these comments?

  36. 36 bsuperfi said at 10:02 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    I think the thing about McNabb that got us so frustrated was the gap between where he was and where he could have been. He wasn’t a field general, but he had serious athletic ability and understood the game (that dude rarely threw INTs). The combination made him lethal, especially before the pass defense rules changed.

    That said, we all felt like he could’ve played better on the field. He came so close so many times, but couldn’t realize his potential. Philly fans love the guy who works his butt off and plays to a limited ceiling. McNabb wasn’t that guy. I’m not even talking about “guts” per se – he just didn’t show us that he lived up to his massive potential.

    If McNabb racked up just one super bowl victory, no one would care about his smile, air guitar, or chunky soup commercials. He’d be like Eli. The guy who couldn’t win until he did.

  37. 37 Mac said at 10:49 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Just saw this last night… had to post it because Donovan keeps popping up. I appreciate what Donovan did for the Eagles. I just think he needs to lay low for awhile to give people a chance to forget his run with the potatoes and vikes.


  38. 38 P_P_K said at 11:11 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    DMac qbd the Eagles to five NFC Chamionship games under a head coach who refused to get him quality wrs (the one he got him was a head case), who remains one of the worst clock managers in the game, who was regularly outcoached in playoff games, and whose obsession with the passing game almost killed Don. I’d say the summary of #5s career isn’t that he failed to rise, but that he was so damn good he overcame the problems laid on him by Reid. I’m not convinced he should be a HOF guy, but he’s the best qb in franchise history, yet people get on his case because he’s a dufus in front of the mic. I wish we could have seen Donovan under Chip and with the wide receivers we now have.

    Yea, Donnie should keep his mouth shut more but, c’mon, in most other cities your guy leads you to five chamionship games and you put up a statue.

  39. 39 Jerry Pomroy said at 7:57 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Does Jim Kelly have a statue in Buffalo? Honestly don’t know, so I’m asking.

  40. 40 GEagle said at 11:28 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Whats everyone think of the Eagles and Patriots having joint practices in August?

  41. 41 barneygoogle said at 4:43 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    It’s great, going against a well-coached team. Just no joint showers.

  42. 42 ACViking said at 11:32 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    How ’bout if Eric Lindros and D-Mac visit with the Griffin family?

  43. 43 TommyLawlor said at 11:54 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    Now that’s funny.

  44. 44 Ark87 said at 11:48 AM on June 4th, 2013:

    DMac has a lot in common with RG3 and likely has a lot of good advice based on the experiences of both his successes and failures…offering advice and not giving advice would be a classy move…if it was done privately, but the public nature of the whole ordeal give it a sour taste

  45. 45 Flyin said at 12:15 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    If Donovan retires an Eagle at the game I’m going to in September, I will respect and applaud him for the good memories.

  46. 46 ACViking said at 1:00 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Here are the career stats for two QBs.

    The first stat-line is for a HOF QB, who appeared in 169 games.

    The second stat-line is QB who played in 167 games and, by most accounts, is not a HOFer.

    94-49-0 2667 com 4149 atts 64.3% 33,124 yds 232 TDs 107 Ints 17 GWDrives

    98-62-1 3170 com 5374 atts 59.0% 37,276 yds 234 TDs 117 Ints 25 GWDrives

    Line 1 is the career numbers of Steve Young — 3 NFC Title Games, 1 SB win

    Line 2 is Donovan McNabb’s — 5 NFC Title Games, 1 SB appearance.

    Besides the SB win for Young, I’d say the one difference between the two of them was Jerry Rice. A fairly big difference, I think.

  47. 47 Arby1 said at 1:31 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    How many NFC title game wins for Young? I would say that’d be a HOF factor.

  48. 48 Tyler Phillips said at 1:58 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    1. Just the year they won the title I believe.

  49. 49 iceberg584 said at 4:07 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Yeah, just in 1994. Before that, Dallas beat them in the 1992-93 NFC Championship games, and from 1995-97, Young’s Niners lost in the playoffs to Green Bay three years in row, then when they finally beat the Packers in 1998 (the TO “The Catch II” game), they fell in the next round to Atlanta. So, Young’s career was filled with plenty of playoff futility which tends to get ignored because of his magnificence in 1994.

  50. 50 Jerry Pomroy said at 8:04 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    I think the SB win is what put Young over the top in getting into the HOF. With that said, I think if McNabb won one he’d be in much higher consideration to get in.

  51. 51 Scott J said at 6:04 PM on June 4th, 2013:

    Donovan has a way of letting his deep feelings emerge in interviews. I think he will always be bitter about the draft, and he will always feel unappreciated by us fans. The fans gave him a three minute standing ovation when he returned to the Linc as a Redskin, but if one person was booing, that’s all he would have heard.