The marquee matchup of this weekend is an NFC East duel for a change. This division is always fun, no matter how good the teams are. Young grasshopper vs old grasshopper. Mentor vs mentee. Speed vs speed. Righty vs lefty. You name it, this matchup has it. As Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick provide the NFL with a huge quarterback showdown in Week 4.
It is no secret that Michael Vick has been the talk of the NFL this season. His rejuvenated and exciting play has been heart warming for the entire League. He has demonstrated outstanding fortitude and work ethic on his long journey back from prison. Donovan McNabb was the big chatter of the off-season. His departure from Philadelphia to Washington caused earthquake like effects in the NFC East and instantly turned the Redskins back into a playoff contender.
So at this point in the season, Vick’s Eagles are flying high atop the NFC East with a 2 and 1 record, while McNabb’s Skins are 1 and 2, still searching for an offensive identity. The Eagles boast the 9th ranked offense in the League. And really, had Vick started the Week 1 game vs Green Bay, their ranking may be a few spots higher. Their rushing attack has been nearly unstoppable, while their aerial attack has been very solid. Michael Vick has demonstrated the poise and maturity of a Pro Bowler. He does not look like a guy who had not started a game since 2006. On the year, Vick has completed 61 percent of his passes, thrown 6 TDs, and 0 INTs. Not to mention he still possesses the best burners we have ever seen from an NFL QB. He is averaging an eye-popping 7.4 yards a carry. Talk about a QB that can be effective with both his legs and arm. Vick has done it all. And does not look to be slowing down any time soon as he has seemed to take this new-found fame (good fame) in stride. Could Michael Vick fly the Eagles to an NFC East Title?
The other big QB in this game is Mr. Chunky Soup himself. Donovan McNabb. One of the most loved and hated QBs in the history of the game (hated for no reason). A guy who has the ability to use both his arms and legs to make plays similar to Michael Vick. When he was drafted by the Eagles with the 2nd overall pick in 1999, most Eagle’s fans booed their hearts out. And rightfully so. Syracuse wasn’t exactly known for producing big time NFL stars. Many thought the Eagles should have taken former Texas running back, Ricky Williams. I will state, I think the Eagles made the right choice on this one. McNabb became the full-time starter in his 2nd season and never looked back. All this guy did was “Win, Win, Win.” The guy, amidst many injuries, threw for over 29,000 yards, with 194 TDs, and 90 INTs. Simply put, he grinded out games and found ways to win for the City of Brotherly Love. Which sadly, never provided him with the love and TLC he deserved. I will state that there may be no tougher player in the League than Donovan McNabb. He played in 6 Pro Bowls, while he led this franchise to multiple NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl Appearance. And let’s be honest. He never exactly had an amazing receiving group to work with. The one year he was given a big time receiver (TO), he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance. So in his brief tenure in DC, Mr. Chunky Soup has not been so great. He has completed 61% of his passes and only thrown 2 TDs (and 1 INT). Give the guy time to figure out the system. He is one of the most resilient players of all time.
Last season, McNabb and Vick crossed paths as members of the same team. Donovan took Vick under his wing and mentored him. Sadly, the Eagles ushered McNabb out at the end of the season in favor of the future, Kevin Kolb. In actuality, the future was and is Michael Vick.
Strap in folks, as mentee takes on mentor in a royal rumble in Philadelphia Sunday. Will the homecoming be all Donovan McNabb could have hoped and dreamed of?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.