Friday, September 30, 2005

It's Donovan's call

It's a matter of trust.

Everyone that surrounds Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, including the fans, coaches and players, need to trust the star quarterback that he knows his body and he is doing what's best for the team.

While this is hardly controversial, it has been great fodder for debate with the majority of you taking the position that McNabb should sit out now and get surgery to repair recently diagnosed sports hernia.

McNabb certainly looked hurt as he was playing against the Raiders. You could see it in his face and in his movements, but, once again, his numbers were very good. He didn't run, most likely because he couldn't run. He could pass, however, throwing the ball 52 times, completing 30 for 365 yards.

We have become so enamored with McNabb's running and scrambling abilities that if he were unable to do that because of injury, we'd call for his benching. Donovan has worked very hard since his arrival in the NFL to be the best he can in the pocket. And it shows.

In a conversation I had with former NFL offensive lineman and football analyst Randy Cross on Sirius NFL radio, he disagreed with me on whether McNabb should be playing, but he did say, "This definitely puts the linemen on notice. They know they have to protect that pocket and protect the quarterback."

And they have been. The OL is much maligned, but they have allowed only five sacks thus far and one of those was a McNabb lateral pass to Brian Westbrook that was recovered by the Falcons. Yes, he did take the big hit to the chest in the Falcons game, but the line has been doing its job. Think about it, that is four sacks in 133 pass plays this season. The pocket has been protected.

With that evidence, I am comfortable knowing that McNabb can operate as a drop-back passer and, with all the weapons at his disposal, win virtually every week.

None of this takes into account the pain that he feels in his abdomen and chest. But that is where the trust comes in. Trust No. 5 to tell us when it becomes too much and he can't play.

So far, there has been no evidence of that, no matter what it looks like.

Relax, sit back, and enjoy the show.