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McNabb is gone and Kolb era begins, but careful what you wish for Eagles fans


"On The Mark" with Mark EckelMark Eckel

Donovan McNabb  is now a Washington Redskin  and Eagles fans, for the most part, are celebrating the dawning of the Kevin Kolb Era.

One thought, be careful.

For all of McNabb’s faults, the man won a lot of football games. His record with the Eagles was 92-49-1, for a winning percentage of .647. Since 2000 when he became the full-time starter he was 90-45-1 for a percentage of .667. That’s pretty good. Actually, that’s real good.

Did he win a Super Bowl? No, but neither did any other quarterback who ever played for the Eagles. And neither has owner Jeffrey Lurie, team President Joe Banner, or head coach Andy Reid who are all still with the team in the same capacity.Kevin Kolb: the next Donovan McNabb or Bobby Hoying?

Anyway, the Eagles without McNabb in that same time frame went 16-18 for a winning percentage of .470. If you throw out 1999, the Eagles were still just 12-10 without McNabb. So the thought that the team did just as well without him, isn’t quite accurate.

For every Jeff Garcia saving the 2006 season, there was Mike McMahon ruining the 2005 season. For every A.J. Feeley, winning because of the defense, there was Doug Pederson letting the defense down.

Now, we don’t know if Kolb will be out of the Garcia mold and win in place of McNabb, although Garcia eventually failed in the playoffs as well, on in the McMahon mold and just be awful. Something tells me he’ll fall somewhere in the huge gap in between, but we don’t know. We really don’t know. All we have on the next Eagles quarterback is two and a half games to base an opinion. In the second half against Baltimore in relief of a benched McNabb during the 2008 season he looked McMahon-ish to say the least.

In his two starts last year in place of an injured McNabb, he looked good in a win over a bad Kansas City Chiefs team and put a numbers, but threw three interceptions against the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. That’s it.

You can’t judge a player, especially a quarterback on 10 quarters of work. So anyone who wants to say Kolb is going to be a Pro Bowl player based off what they saw last year is just being foolishly optimistic. Remember Bobby Hoying, circa 1997?

Hoying’s two games against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, where he out dueled his boyhood hero Boomer Esiason, were more impressive than Kolb’s two starts against Kansas City and New Orleans. This town fell in love with Hoying, who also had just as much pedigree, if not more than Kolb coming out of good program at Ohio State, and we all know how it turned out. Hoying went in as the starter in 1998 and never threw another touchdown pass. The Eagles finished the season 3-13. Ray Rhodes was fired. Reid was hired and McNabb became the team’s first pick, and the second overall pick of the draft. Now, 11 years later the Eagles are turning the page again.

McNabb and his six Pro Bowls, seven playoff appearances, four NFC Championship Game appearances and one Super Bowl is in Washington where he will face the Eagles twice this season. He will also be coached by Mike Shanahan, who once took a quarterback who always came close, and helped him win two Super Bowls late in his career. You may have heard of John Elway.

Is McNabb the next Elway? His critics will scoff at that, but they were scoffing at Elway at one point, too. The Broncos, under Dan Reeves, even drafted Tommy Maddox to eventually replace him, as the Eagles did with Kolb.

Denver stuck with Elway, hired Shanahan and won two Super Bowls, while Maddox was last seen being cut by an Arena League team.

Suffice it to say, McNabb is happy to be in Washington, as opposed to say Buffalo or Oakland, and he will circle the two Eagles games on his calendar. According to an ESPN report, one of those games will be Oct. 25 on Monday Night Football at FedEx Field. According to my own speculation the other could be at the Linc, opening day.

Kolb vs. McNabb to start the season might be too good to be true.

Contact Mark Eckel at meckel@njtimes.com