Donovan McNabb Puts Carson Wentz On The Clock
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Earlier this week the top football mind in Philadelphia gave his thoughts about the quarterback position in the NFL.
“The quarterback position is not only the most important position in football, but you could argue it’s the most important position in all of professional sports," Eagles’ vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas correctly assessed when discussing the NFL Draft on Tuesday.
When it comes to the position in Philadelphia few understand the demands better than Donovan McNabb, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 1999 draft who developed into a six-time Pro Bowl selection under the mentorship of Andy Reid during a decade in Philadelphia.
Despite their success together both McNabb and Reid left the city with holes on their otherwise stellar resumes, the fact that five NFC Championship Games do not equal a Lombardi Trophy.
When you're good the expectations only increase and far too many consider the Reid-McNabb era as a failure because they never reached the pinnacle of the profession instead of what it really was, the greatest sustained success in franchise history.
Couple that with the boos at the '99 draft and McNabb has a boulder on his shoulder when it comes to the fan base here and he seems to be relishing in the fact that many short-sighted fans in a new generation place the Super Bowl LII championship in the column of Nick Foles and not Carson Wentz, the face of the franchise of the brink of a massive contract extension.
In McNabb's view, Philadelphia could even be turning the page on Wentz sooner rather than later unless the current QB1 garners some playoff success in the near future.
Speaking with CBS Sports Radio's Zach Gelb the former Eagles star even placed his own litmus test on Wentz to determine the long-term future in Philadelphia.
"I think in the next two years or so [Wentz] has to find a way to get out of the second round of the playoffs." McNabb assessed. "What Nick Foles was able to do taking them to the Super Bowl ... proved that some people can get into that offense and be very successful."
Sure sound like McNabb is taking a Chip Kelly-like overview by insinuating the real star in Philadelphia is the scheme, in this case, Doug Pederson's quarterback-friendly offense.
What followed, however, was even stranger because Wentz was on his way to be the league MVP in 2017 before tearing his ACL/LCL in Los Angeles in December of that season.
"He hasn’t been healthy, he hasn’t really proven to me besides the year before he got hurt ... of really (being) an MVP candidate," McNabb incorrectly stated. "He needs to get back to that mode. I think personally if he can’t get out of the second round in the next two, maybe three years. Really two years to be honest, they should look to possibly draft another quarterback because you just don’t know about his durability. Staying healthy is very key in this league."
It's fair to point out Wentz's durability issues and he himself has stated the need to prove the doubters wrong while it's also fair to just chalk up McNabb's assessment of Wentz's career as simply a misspoken gaffe while ruminating off the cuff.
However, to place Wentz's future in doubt because of an arbitrary playoff run that will be dependent on many factors is not something to throw into the hopper when you are talking about a well-run organization.
What can be said is failing to reach the postseason in 2019 would be a massive disappointment for Philadelphia, an organization which believes the window remains open for another Super Bowl run. Projecting two consecutive seasons out of the playoffs would be viewed as disastrous and five straight years without a postseason appearance for Wentz.
McNabb, perhaps better than anyone else, understands who will be shouldering the blame in that scenario especially in the wake of Foles' postseason success.
"The team only goes as far as their quarterback takes him," McNabb said. "They put so much of their eggs in the basket in the basket with Carson Wentz and he’s gotta prove that the next two years.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen