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Philadelphia Eagles

McNabb’s flaws coming to light

He is one of the classiest guys in the NFL.  He’s had one of the best winning percentages in the league since he became a starter.   He’s one of the superstars of the league. He’s the best quarterback in Philadelphia Eagles history. He shrugs off controversy and always says the right thing.  So what’s wrong with McNabb?  He just isn’t a leader, no matter how many times he tells you he is.In case you haven’t seen or read Donovan McNabb’s interview with Michael Smith on ESPN, let me break it down for you.

  • Donovan claims the deterioration of his relationship with TO started as early as week 12 of the 2004 season.
  • TO never challenged McNabb during Owen’s altercation with Hugh Douglas in the locker room.
  • This season “everybody turned into superstars…Some guys don’t work hard.”
  • Donovan doth protest too much: “I think the team was divided,” McNabb said. “As far as him taking the team from me, no, I don’t think so. I never felt that way. … I didn’t feel like I lost the team. I did feel like, ‘I am the leader of the team,’ and I am the leader of the team. But when you see guys talk in little cliques and guys not all being together, and you hear guys talk about somebody else, that bothers you a little bit.”
  • He still holds a grudge, even if he says he doesn’t: “That nobody really came to my defense, that showed me a lot. That nobody came out to say he’s wrong in the media when somebody asks you a question, it was like, ‘That’s his situation, that’s been them, his contract, I think Donovan has handled it well…’ Come out and say, ‘It should not have happened. That was wrong. This is Donovan’s team.’ Again, I’ll always remember what happened.”

The most draw-dropping quote however is when Donovan categorized TO saying that the Eagles would be undefeated with Favre at the helm as “black on black crime”.


It was definitely a slap in the face to me. Because as deep as people won’t go into it, it was [a] black-on-black crime. I mean, you have a guy that has been criticized just about all his career and now the last criticism is that I’m selling out because I don’t run anymore.

Now, TO’s comment about Favre was idiotic but certainly not racially motivated.  TO was merely responding to a comment made by Michael Irvin, he did not bring up Brett Favre as an example.  For a self proclaimed leader, McNabb certainly is very thin skinned and he’s afraid of confrontation.

I called a team meeting before the Washington game [Nov. 6]. I said, ‘Look, if anybody got a problem with somebody on this team, talk to them as a man. If you’ve got a problem with me, we can talk about it.’ I said this to the whole team. ‘If you’ve got a problem with the guy next to you, talk about it. Don’t sit and hold a grudge and feel hatred toward somebody and not even explain to someone why you hate that person.’ I wasn’t specifically talking to him [Owens] but he’s in the room. So I’m saying it for everybody to understand, ‘Look man, I’m tired of it. I can only take so much.’ When that happened, I didn’t get a talk.

Why not just confront Owens? Why is the onus on the other guy to come talk to you, Donovan? Shouldn’t the leader of the team be the one that gets into people’s faces? Marino never had a problem doing that. Steve Young never had a problem doing that. McNabb thinks that by throwing the ball into Owen’s court, it absolves him of any responsibility for the situation. Donovan assumes that he’s taking the high road but sometimes, the high road isn’t the right road. I’m not defending Owens here because, clearly, TO is a petulant child that needs to be corralled. What was needed from “5” was that he put TO in line but, unfortunately, McNabb wasn’t the person to do it and it “divided the team” (Donovan’s words).

I’m certainly not the first person to question McNabb’s leadership. Even his own former teammate and current (for now) team ambassador, Hugh Douglas, spoke out on it yesterday. “The thing that Donovan needs – it’s been proven, especially this year – he needs other people to lead. He’s not a leader. He doesn’t want to lead. He is the leader on the field as a quarterback; he isn’t a team leader. He needs a good supporting cast.”

You can blame TO all you want for tearing apart the Eagles season and potentially the franchise for years to come. But in the end, you must also blame McNabb, the self proclaimed leader who shows very little in the way of leadership. Donovan thought it was a good time to air his side of the story and elicit sympathy for his cause. Unfortunately, all it did was expose his flaws.

In the end, it all comes down to Andy Reid who has tried to make McNabb into something he is not, but that is another column.

By Vin

Vin is a Philly boy who shouldn't be invited into your house because he'll judge you on your book and music collection. He owns Dawkins, Utley, Iverson, and Lindros jerseys, which is all you really need to know about him. He can be reached at [email protected]

4 replies on “McNabb’s flaws coming to light”

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a flaw Donovan McNabb has never seemed like an ‘in your face’ kind of guy. What did we expect for him to do? Get into a fight with T.O.? Is the onus really on McNabb when the genesis of it all was T.O.’s contract dispute with management?

Also, I don’t have a problem with McNabb not being the ‘vocal’ leader of the Eagles. Where is it written in stone that the quarterback, or even best player has to be the vocal leader on the team? Have we ever heard about Joe Montana getting in anyone’s face? It’s widely acknowledged that Joe Greene was the leader of the Steelers. And, who will dispute that Michael Irvin was the leader of the Cowboys?

McNabb doesn’t have to be the locker room leader. Vocal, locker room leadership is more about personality than anything else. The Eagles need an enforcer, a unifier. As evidenced on many great teams, it doesn’t have to be the quarterback.

You’re right but… It doesn’t HAVE to be the QB but Andy Reid has set DMac up to be that leader and therein lies the problem.   On the SB Ravens, clearly it was the defense and notably Ray Lewis who lead that team and they won it all.  

The flaw is both Andy’s and Donovan’s.  Donovan for thinking he can be the leader – he’s said so many times “I’m the leader of this team” that it makes you sick.  And it’s Andy’s fault for trying to put Donovan in a role he’s not suited for.

Huh? The coach doesn’t determine, or set up anyone to be a locker room leader. Locker room leaders are not appointed by a coach, and are rarely conscious decisions made by the players. Locker room leaders step up, and the team rallies behind them.

It’s funny, no one talked about McNabb’s leadership abilities before T.O. went ballistic in his second season in Philly. Was leadership a problem while they were going to 4 straight championship games, and one Super Bowl? So, why does it become a problem when a known malcontent disrupts the entire organization because he wants to be adored and given more money?

Maybe the real problem was T.O. Maybe, management should have set him down earlier. It was not just the locker room that he disrupted and disrespected. McNabb is the leader of the team, the on-field leader, where it counts the most!

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