Philadelphia Eagles

McNabb vs. Garcia? Not even a question.

While the NFL season is rife with ridiculous comparisons and commentary, nothing has bothered me as much as the ludicrous assertion that the Philadelphia Eagles are a better team with Jeff Garcia than they are with Donovan McNabb.  Look, I’ll grant you the fact that the Eagles are a team transformed – six straight wins leaves the current squad looking nothing like the team that even the most fervent of fans had left for dead following McNabb’s injury and a blowout loss against Indianapolis.  Hell, I’ll even go so far as to say that the loss of McNabb is ultimately why the Eagles have seen such a change in their fortunes… but not because Jeff Garcia brings anything to the table that Donovan does not.At first glance, my stance may seem paradoxical… it isn’t.  First, let me clarify that this isn’t an attack on Garcia – he’s played inspired, efficient football since he took over the team.  In reality, the Eagles have succeeded because of the adjustments made in offensive play calling since McNabb went down.  Sure, it’s obviously helpful that Garcia isn’t a Detmer brother, but committing to the running game is what has turned Philly’s season around.  This is partially because Brian Westbrook is a should-be/would-be Pro-Bowler who averages 5.1 yard per carry, but there’s more to it than that.

Think about this: the first few losses of the season were characterized by close defeats in games where teams came from behind to win.  Why did this happen?  Because the Eagles did not run out the clock!  The Eagles had the ball less than their opponents in 7 of 9 games McNabb played, a stat that drops to 2 of 6 with Garcia.  Average time of possession over the first 9 weeks of the season is a solid 4.5 minutes less than in weeks 10 through 16 (27:06 to 31:36).  It might not seem like a big difference but, over that same stretch, I can’t be the only one who has noticed the defense playing loads better.  Seems like keeping the defense off the field keeps them fresh enough to make big plays, which in turn leads to wins.  Apparently, if you run the ball, you kill the clock and prevent the possibility of ridiculous comebacks while giving your defense a chance to breathe.  Who knew?

So, what does the Eagles success in recent weeks come down to?  Simple football logic.  Essentially, it took a season ending injury of a pro-bowler for Andy Reid to sober up and stop drinking the Martz kool-aid of run/pass calling.  Any way you slice it, Garcia is a perfect backup who knows the system and plays a smart game, but he’s still just that: a good backup.  

5 replies on “McNabb vs. Garcia? Not even a question.”

Great mini article. This was a great article.  I only sectioned it because I felt like you cut me off.  A story needs to be close to 1,000 words I think.   I have never submitted an article until it has 800+ words because people get the most out of reading the whole things.  Great content though.

Mini for a reason I understand the criticism, because it’s accurate.  At the same time, the piece is meant to be short and sweet… I’m making a simple point, and I feel like the weakness of many articles is that they spend too muh time droning on about specific points when a concise argument will do.  I’ll keep it mind though and, depending If other people feel this way (and if the Eagles win tonight), I may add in another paragraph.  Thanks for the feedback.

Okay I am just letting you know.  If you have something you want to write about and it will only be a couple paragraphs, then it is not something worth writing about.  I hope the Eagles win tonight because I am one of the most loyal fans outside of Philadelphia.  Thanks, and good luck.

Garcia If Garcia was doing this in his mid-20’s with a full career ahead of him, I think Eagles fans are looking at a huge moral struggle, but you’re right, McNabb is still the man.

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