A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Donovan McNabb’s future. Yesterday, the Vikings placed him on waivers, ending his career in purple and gold. There has been a lot of speculation about where he will go from here. I’m feeling very confident about where he ends up: retiring as a free agent.
There are two main teams that people have been talking about Donovan going to. The first is the Houston Texans. Had this move been made a week ago, maybe they would have taken a chance on McNabb to replace the injured Matt Schaub AND Matt Leinert. However, they signed Jake Delhomme this week, so they already have the terrible QB roster spot filled (Delhomme is just awful. I’m sure Garret would agree).
So that leaves the Chicago Bears. McNabb is from Chicago, so it would be sort of like a homecoming for him. If the Bears put in a waiver claim for McNabb and get him, they would likely be starting McNabb over Caleb Hanie. What does that get them? Nothing. McNabb has nothing left in the tank. He has shown that the past two seasons. No reason for a team to spend over a million dollars on a QB who cannot get the ball into his receivers’ hands.
So what is everyone’s favorite Donovan McNabb moment? I have two from his time as a Viking. The first was when the Vikings were up 28-0 on the Cardinals in the first quarter. McNabb had a wide open receiver on a quick route. I don’t remember who it was, but they were standing still at the line of scrimmage (I think it was a WR quick screen). Donovan turns to his right, winds up…and throws it at the receivers feet. The entire Metrodome booed him. I joined in. We didn’t care that we were up 28-0. NFL quarterbacks need to make that throw. He couldn’t. He needed to be done. He just doesn’t have the arm left for this anymore.
My first memory has to do with his skill. My second memory has to do with his heart. On a Sunday night nationally televised game against the Bears, the Vikings were backed up in their own territory. McNabb dropped back into the end zone and was facing some serious pressure from Julius Peppers and the Bears’ D-line. Instead of fighting to get back to the line of scrimmage to avoid the safety, Donovan laid down. No contact was made. Safety. Any NFL contending team that saw this would not want that on their roster. I fully expect that to be McNabb’s last game.
As I said exactly a month ago, I think we’ve seen the last of Donovan McNabb. I added my post from then below if you care to read on.
Donovan McNabb. 5 time NFC champion, 6 time Pro Bowler, and now he’s sitting on the bench behind Viking’s rookie Christian Ponder.
McNabb always seemed successful in Philadelphia, but there was always something about him that drove fans there crazy (I’m sure Joey can attest to this further). He’d been on Minnesota’s radar ever since Brad Childress became the coach for the Vikings in 2006. To a degree, it seemed like his arrival in purple was inevitable.
Instead, McNabb gets traded within the division (which should say something about how much the Eagle valued him) to the Redskins. And when push comes to shove he is benched. FOR REX GROSSMAN! Nothing against Rex here, but come on. Next thing you know, McNabb is traded to the Vikings.
Donovan was worthless for the Vikes. They simply could not move the ball with him. He lost the ability to throw the long ball with any accuracy and teams were loading the box to stop Adrian Peterson. The effect? An ineffectual Vikings offense.
I went to the Vikings game against the Arizona Cardinals, and thanks to some great field position, they shot out to an early 28-0 lead. And guess what? McNabb was still booed. And you know what? I booed too. It doesn’t matter whether you are up by 28 or down by 28, as an NFL quarterback you cannot under throw the ball every time. Receivers catch with their hands, not their feet.
Leslie Frazier made the right move by benching McNabb. He stagnated the Vikings offense, and rookie Christian Ponder seems to be effective at moving the ball and managing a capable offense. His success seems to mean that McNabb will be riding the pine pony for the rest of the season.
So what’s next for McNabb? He’s 34, which makes it unlikely that he can be the centerpiece of any NFL team’s offense. As Donovan has shown this season, he cannot serve as a veteran stopgap for a team looking to buy some time for a young QB to develop. Barring any injuries to Ponder, I think we’ve seen the last of Donovan McNabb.