by Drew Costley
The Washington Redskins have an extra weapon in their arsenal that will give them the upper hand in today’s match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles: Donovan McNabb’s experience with the Eagles.
Philadelphia coach Andy Reid built the Eagle’s franchise around McNabb for the past decade before the organization let him swim down the Potomac to Washington last off-season. That experience will help McNabb inform head coach Mike Shanahan and improve Washington’s strategy on both sides of the ball. But wait, there is more!
Before quarterback Michael Vick replaced Kevin Kolb in week one, trading McNabb was a questionable decision at best. Neither Vick or Kolb had proven themselves in an Eagles uniform.
Although he did not say it, that trade put a chip on McNabb’s shoulder. The Redskins’ QB does not usually express his qualms publicly, but instead channels his energy into his fiercely competitive spirit and takes his beef out on the field. No other team knows this better than the Redskins, who were once a division rival of McNabb’s.
Out of the 19 times McNabb faced off against the Redskins during the 11 years he was in Philly, he completed 354 of 608 passes (58.55 percent) for 3,949 yards, 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. This resulted in a quarterback rating of 81.1 and a dominant 12-7 record against Washington.
The Redskins desire to win has been in question in recent weeks due to preventable losses to the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams. The Redskins gave up a 17-point lead at home and ended up losing to Houston in overtime and lost handily to the Rams. During that same time span, Vick was busy leading the Eagles to consecutive victories against the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars respectively. The team’s were headed in opposite direction in terms of momentum.
Despite McNabb’s history of injuries he has shown a resolve reminiscent to Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas. McNabb is a player who has thrown four touchdowns on a broken ankle. Character aside, McNabb practiced against the Eagles defense day in and day out the past eleven seasons.
This experience alone is not enough to carry Washington victory – the team must show up and play at the Pro Bowl level that McNabb plays at on a regular basis. If they do that, today will be the perfect opportunity for McNabb to instill that same resolve into his new team and turn around the team’s momentum.