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Eagles must find elite QB to move forward

reuben frank csnphilly

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#1 herbicide

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:59 AM

Frank

Quote

Eagles must find elite QB to move forward

November 20, 2012, 11:35 am

Posted Image




Two years ago this week, same two teams, same stadium, same coaches, the Eagles beat the Redskins by 31 points.

This past weekend, the Redskins beat the Eagles by 25 points.

Did Mike Shanahan really get 56 points better as a head coach from since Nov. 15, 2010, to Nov. 18, 2012?

Did Andy Reid really get 56 points worse as a head coach over the past two years?

Of course not.

When the Eagles beat the Redskins 59-28 at FedEx Field in 2010, Michael Vick was at the absolute peak of his game. He passed for over 300 yards and became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes, rush for 80 yards and complete 70 percent of his passes in a game.

Meanwhile, Redskins QB Donovan McNabb was near the end of his terrific career. He threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Dimitri Patterson, and would only win two more games in his career, one later that year with the Redskins and another in 2011 with the Vikings.

Fast forward two years.

When the Redskins beat the Eagles 31-6 Sunday, it was Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III at the absolute peak of his game. He completed all but one of 15 passes in the sixth-most accurate passing performance in NFL history, and became the second quarterback ever to throw four touchdowns, rush for 80 yards and complete 70 percent of his passes in a game. Obviously joining Vick, who did it on the same field two years earlier.

Meanwhile, the Eagles ran out a quarterback in Nick Foles making his first NFL start and clearly overmatched. He committed three turnovers, was sacked four times, didn’t complete a pass longer than five yards to a starting wide receiver and never did get the Eagles into the end zone.

What does it all mean?

Simply that whoever winds up coaching the Eagles over the next few years – whether it’s Dirk Koetter or David Shaw or Chip Kelly or Brian Kelly or Vic Fangio – it won’t matter if he doesn’t have an elite quarterback behind center.

The Colts were 2-14 last year with Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins. With virtually the same team and Andrew Luck at QB, they’re 6-4.

The Saints won 11 or more games three times in their first 40 years of existence. Then they acquired Drew Brees and have averaged 11 wins per year since with a Super Bowl title.

The Cowboys won a Super Bowl with Barry Switzer, since they had Troy Aikman.

Look at Shanahan. Won a couple Super Bowls and averaged 12 wins a year with John Elway. In 13 seasons without Elway, he’s won one playoff game.

Bill Belichick was a buffoon in Cleveland when his QB was Vinny Testaverde. Give him Tom Brady and he’s maybe the best ever.

Heck, the Eagles had five playoff win in the 40 years before McNabb took over. McNabb then won nine in the next nine years.

Since he left? Yeah, nothing.

Let’s take a deeper look at Eagles history for a moment.

In the franchise’s entire 80-year history, only three quarterbacks have won more than one playoff game. One was Tommy Thompson in the 1940s, and he doesn’t even really count, since quarterbacks back then weren’t the centerpiece of football teams like they are now. Thompson completed a total of 19 passes in his three postseason wins, including NFL Championship Games in 1948 and 1949.

The other two are Ron Jaworski, who won three postseason games, and McNabb, who won nine.

And that’s it.

Just two quarterbacks have guided the Eagles to a deep playoff run in the last 60 years.

You can steal a postseason win here and there with a functional quarterback – Rodney Peete in 1995, Jeff Garcia in 2006 – if you do a few other things well, like run the ball with authority or defend exceptionally well.

But if you’re going to make a deep run, a legit run at a Super Bowl, let’s face it. Unless you have a historic defense, you better have a special quarterback.

No matter who your coach is.

So even if Jeff Lurie does fire Reid and replace him with the sharpest, brightest coaching mind available, it’s no guarantee of anything.

Because if the Eagles don’t find a quarterback, it won’t matter.

Think about it. In modern NFL history – since 1950 – the Eagles have really had three successful quarterbacks. Randall, Jaws and Donovan. Since 1950,  the rest have been temporary fill-ins, veterans on their last legs, young guys who weren’t ready. Nobody else since Norm Snead has won 20 games.

In franchise history, only four QBs – Thompson (1947-49), Jaworski (1978-81), Cunningham (1988-90, 1992) and McNabb (2000-04, 2o08-09) – have led the Eagles to the postseason more than once.

And consider this: The last time the Eagles won 11 games in a season with a quarterback other than Donovan, Randall or Jaws was 1949. Last time they reached the postseason in consecutive years with a quarterback other than Donovan, Randall or Jaws? Also 1949.

So let’s face it. Unless the Eagles find another Jaws or a McNabb, they’re not going to find their way back to the NFL’s elite. They just won’t. They can’t.

And no matter what you think of McNabb, only eight quarterbacks in NFL history have won more postseason games. And every one either is a Hall of Famer or will be: Elway, Aikman, Brady, Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Terry Bradshaw, Ben Roethlisberger, Roger Staubach.

So let’s put the coaching replacement talk on the backburner for a moment and look at a potentially more important question: Who’s the quarterback going to be?

The Eagles have a few routes they can take, but realistically, none of them appears very encouraging.

They could stick with Michael Vick, who turns 33, has lost a step, hasn’t won a playoff game since 2004 and is 10-13 in 23 starts since going 8-2 in his first 10 starts as an Eagle.

They could turn the team over to Nick Foles, whose performances so far in relief of an injured Vick have been unremarkable, although in his defense, he’s playing behind a woefully inept offensive line on a team mired in a two-month losing streak with a lame-duck coach.

They could go with one of the projected free agents, although assuming the Ravens keep Joe Flacco, there’s not a whole lot out there (Jason Campbell? Matt Moore? Tarvaris Jackson? No, didn’t think so).

They could try to trade for somebody like Colin Kaepernick or Matt Flynn, but that would come at a very high price in draft picks if you’re even able to pry a guy away from his current team.

And they could draft a guy, although even as bad as they’ve been, they’ll miss out on the two projected big-time QBs available – West Virginia’s Geno Smith and USC’s Matt Barkley. And anybody else would likely be a reach where they’re going to pick. Could they be so desperate they reach (or trade down) for a guy like Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas? They may have to.

There’s no easy answer, no simple solution. But keep all this in mind this offseason when the Eagles go through their anticipated offseason transformation.

Finding the right person to replace Andy Reid might not even be the most important challenge facing the franchise over the next eight months.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com


#2 DDD1952

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:14 PM

We had Sonny Jurgensen and traded him. Worst trade in our history. I would say he was successful.

#3 EaglesCB37

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:52 PM

We need to have a transition similar to the 49ers. They went 6-10, brought on Jim Harbaugh, drafted Aldon Smith, and with a few other key moves, went on to go 13-3. I think this offense could work around Foles if the offensive line is fixed. Not saying that for sure, but I think it's worth a try. So bring on a new HC, fix the defense this offseason, and ride into the 2013 season with Foles to see how he does. If he blows our season, we'll get a high draft pick to select our franchise QB, if he does an adequate job, then it's up to the FO. No quarterbacks in this draft impress me enough that I would trust them with our franchise's future.

#4 EagleFan_80

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:59 PM

This article is spot on!!!!

#5 greenblood0118

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:05 PM

View PostEaglesCB37, on 20 November 2012 - 12:52 PM, said:

We need to have a transition similar to the 49ers. They went 6-10, brought on Jim Harbaugh, drafted Aldon Smith, and with a few other key moves, went on to go 13-3. I think this offense could work around Foles if the offensive line is fixed. Not saying that for sure, but I think it's worth a try. So bring on a new HC, fix the defense this offseason, and ride into the 2013 season with Foles to see how he does. If he blows our season, we'll get a high draft pick to select our franchise QB, if he does an adequate job, then it's up to the FO. No quarterbacks in this draft impress me enough that I would trust them with our franchise's future.

Thinking the defense is one off-season away from being playoff-worthy is a big assumption, IMO.

#6 wvjerome

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:14 PM

I certainly believe the Eagles need to find an elite quarterback in order to become an elite team, but I will also state the Eagles “need to do a better job” of drafting talent. Prior to this season their last two drafts have not brought much talent to the Eagles. Players like Danny Watkins, Graham, Allen, the other TO, Jarrett, Clayton,  and so on have not panned out.  These poor drafts have left a void of talent on the Eagles roster. The Eagles have wasted high picks on guys like Curtis Marsh and Vinny Curry who barely are playing or not playing at all. Several of the Eagles offensive lineman and defensive lineman that have been drafted by the Eagles haven’t panned out. Jeremy Maclin really hasn’t been the player we all thought he would be coming out of college. Look at the drafts and it is easy to see why the Eagles are struggling right now.

#7 SilverChaosVII

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:17 PM

Spot on... except one thing.

They will be in position to get Barkley or Smith in the draft.

The problem is that both of them are overrated as hell...

#8 Krukslonelyball

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:22 PM

This is common sense for the very few non idiots. Then there's the guy

View Postwvjerome, on 20 November 2012 - 01:14 PM, said:

I certainly believe the Eagles need to find an elite quarterback in order to become an elite team, but I will also state the Eagles “need to do a better job” of drafting talent. Prior to this season their last two drafts have not brought much talent to the Eagles. Players like Danny Watkins, Graham, Allen, the other TO, Jarrett, Clayton,  and so on have not panned out.  These poor drafts have left a void of talent on the Eagles roster. The Eagles have wasted high picks on guys like Curtis Marsh and Vinny Curry who barely are playing or not playing at all. Several of the Eagles offensive lineman and defensive lineman that have been drafted by the Eagles haven’t panned out. Jeremy Maclin really hasn’t been the player we all thought he would be coming out of college. Look at the drafts and it is easy to see why the Eagles are struggling right now.

The WR haven't been able to show what they can do because they haven't had a good QB. Jackson looked fantastic with McNabb. Maclin looked great when he had a QB that was on fire.

All Eagles fans are doing is remembering the bad and being completely skewed because they're not getting many chances to make up for it.

But then again, Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell were absolutely elite WR's huh?

View PostSilverChaosVII, on 20 November 2012 - 01:17 PM, said:

Spot on... except one thing.

They will be in position to get Barkley or Smith in the draft.

The problem is that both of them are overrated as hell...

lol @ you pretending to know what you're talking about.
Geno Smith isn't overrated and Matt Barkley has been criticized heavily.

#9 EagleFan_80

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:24 PM

View PostSilverChaosVII, on 20 November 2012 - 01:17 PM, said:

Spot on... except one thing.

They will be in position to get Barkley or Smith in the draft.

The problem is that both of them are overrated as hell...

Exactly!!!  Also, No rookie QB is a guarantee elite NFL starting QB.  Just look at all the bust that have been drafted in the first round.  Personally, I think the birds need to start drafting and actually hitting on Star defenders.  This defense needs an identity!!!!!

#10 KzEaglefan86

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:39 PM

View Postgreenblood0118, on 20 November 2012 - 01:05 PM, said:

Thinking the defense is one off-season away from being playoff-worthy is a big assumption, IMO.
They were playing well at the beginning of the season before we made the move at D coordinator.  Since then, like the majority of the team, they've lost their intensity and seem to be just going through the motions at this point.  Honestly, with the right coordinator and a newly lit fire underneath them, I don't think they are too far away.  Safety upgrade is a must, though.

#11 EaglesCB37

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

View Postgreenblood0118, on 20 November 2012 - 01:05 PM, said:

Thinking the defense is one off-season away from being playoff-worthy is a big assumption, IMO.

Not saying they'll be playoff worthy, but getting the right coach and drafting upgrades at CB, S, and LB will help us in getting there.

#12 SilverChaosVII

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

View PostKrukslonelyball, on 20 November 2012 - 01:22 PM, said:

lol @ you pretending to know what you're talking about.
Geno Smith isn't overrated and Matt Barkley has been criticized heavily.

lol it's what I do for a living. You're the nobody on a message board trolling.

Geno Smith is the product of a particular college scheme. He is a good quarterback. He has the potential to be a mid-tier guy in the NFL.

Barkley is a joke... just watch the tape (I know you TATErs pretend to do that all the time)

#13 SilverChaosVII

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:59 PM

View PostEagleFan_80, on 20 November 2012 - 01:24 PM, said:

Exactly!!!  Also, No rookie QB is a guarantee elite NFL starting QB.  Just look at all the bust that have been drafted in the first round.  Personally, I think the birds need to start drafting and actually hitting on Star defenders.  This defense needs an identity!!!!!

He were discussing this in another thread. You don't take a chance on a QB in draft unless you are 100% sold on the idea of handing them the franchise.

If you don't believe they are going to be that guy, then you don't do it. Period. End of story. You don't reach and take a chance no matter how desperate you are.

Is Barkley that guy? No chance.

Is Smith that guy? Ehhhhhhhh. He has the potential, but like I said... with QBs you need to be 100% sold on them. It's not even close to that with Smith.

#14 CaliEagle

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:06 PM

The Eagles first need to find a functioning offensive line in order to develop any QB.

#15 54lance

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:25 PM

View PostEaglesCB37, on 20 November 2012 - 12:52 PM, said:

We need to have a transition similar to the 49ers. They went 6-10, brought on Jim Harbaugh, drafted Aldon Smith, and with a few other key moves, went on to go 13-3. I think this offense could work around Foles if the offensive line is fixed. Not saying that for sure, but I think it's worth a try. So bring on a new HC, fix the defense this offseason, and ride into the 2013 season with Foles to see how he does. If he blows our season, we'll get a high draft pick to select our franchise QB, if he does an adequate job, then it's up to the FO. No quarterbacks in this draft impress me enough that I would trust them with our franchise's future.

I think we will have a transition similar to the 49ers, but going back to when Seifert left and the struggles they had leading up to when Harbaugh came in.  I'd love to think that Reid is our Singletary and all we need is the right coach because all the talent is tere.  Truth is we're far from that.  I'm guessing we might see a couple of coaches ala Nolan, Singletary before we see someone like Harbaugh.

#16 greenblood0118

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:38 PM

View PostKzEaglefan86, on 20 November 2012 - 01:39 PM, said:

and a newly lit fire underneath them, I don't think they are too far away.  Safety upgrade is a must, though.
THERE...that crap right there...freakin' STOP IT. BAD MESSAGE BOARD DUDE...BAD!

This I'm-somebody's-corny-a**-mom-mentality has got to stop...this isn't the Bad News Bears.

#17 InfiniteSeriesN

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:09 PM

find an elite QB?

oh sure, no problem, they're falling from sky.

#18 The Eagles win!

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:26 PM

View PostInfiniteSeriesN, on 20 November 2012 - 08:09 PM, said:

find an elite QB?

oh sure, no problem, they're falling from sky.

Realistically, the only reasonably high probability way to get an elite QB is to have the #1 overall pick.  Manning, Elway, Aikman, Luck, etc...  Nearly every year there is one elite QB prospect, and of those about 1 in 5 actually live up to the billing.

Now, I don't see Geno or Barkley as being one of those elite passers - so even if we're in a position to draft one, most likely it would be a waste.

IMHO, the best move is to use our likely top 7 pick to load up on picks and rebuild.  If we go all in on a rebuilding project, next season there is a good chance we hold the #1 overall pick, and get a crack at a better QB prospect (most likely a Jr entry).

#19 KzEaglefan86

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

View Postgreenblood0118, on 20 November 2012 - 05:38 PM, said:

THERE...that crap right there...freakin' STOP IT. BAD MESSAGE BOARD DUDE...BAD!

This I'm-somebody's-corny-a**-mom-mentality has got to stop...this isn't the Bad News Bears.
Yea, you're right.  Effort has nothing to do with it.  The defense collectively just got worse around the same time.  Probably some voodoo magic or wizard's spell is the culprit.

#20 time2rock

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:35 AM

View PostSilverChaosVII, on 20 November 2012 - 01:47 PM, said:

lol it's what I do for a living. You're the nobody on a message board trolling.

Geno Smith is the product of a particular college scheme. He is a good quarterback. He has the potential to be a mid-tier guy in the NFL.

Barkley is a joke... just watch the tape (I know you TATErs pretend to do that all the time)
Curious, what are your thoughts on Aaron Murray should he decide to declare ?  I know his size is a bit concerning, and hard to say if he (or any other QB in this year's class) have what it takes to be a franchise type QB, but he seems like a decent player.