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Report: McNabb Trade Means Eagles Won’t Make Playoffs

As part of his “5 teams who made the playoffs last year who won’t in 2010”, Hunter Ansley believes the Eagles traded their way right out of the post season after dealing McNabb to the Redskins.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles didn’t really act like a team that wanted to be in the playoffs once the postseason started last season. Armed with a veteran quarterback, a scintillating array of young offensive playmakers and a puncher’s chance against a team known to wilt in the playoffs, the Eagles choked. Hard.

Dallas had already beaten them twice that season, so motivation was available in spades. Of course, the whole “it’s impossible to beat a team three times in one season” argument is a myth. Since the merger, there have been 20 instances of a team heading into the playoffs with a chance to complete a three-game sweep. Those teams are 13-7. But Philadelphia had owned the Cowboys from December on, and they entered last season with a 6-0 record in six such games since 2000. That sounds like a great stat until you realize Donovan McNabb was the starter in every one.

With McNabb now under center in DC, Washington just became slightly harder for Dallas and New York to beat. They’ll be a lot harder for Philly. That’s not to say they can’t go 4-0 against the Redskins and Giants again this year, but it definitely can’t be counted on, and that may make all the difference. Without a sweep of the Giants, the Eagles are just 9-7 last season. Without an additional sweep of the ‘Skins, they could have been 8-8.

This year Dallas is gunning for a backyard Super Bowl, Washington owns the Eagles’ quarterback, and New York is still a team with more teeth than they showed in 2009. The NFC East is historically tough, and Philadelphia will enter 2010 with a fourth-year quarterback who has never played in more than six games in a season and has never taken a playoff snap. It’s tough to judge Kolb solely on a loss to New Orleans and a win over Kansas City, but he did become the first NFL quarterback to throw for over 300 yards in each of his first two starts. Still, for all the talk about how good Kolb will be, and there’s a chance he could be great, he holds just a 68.9 career passer rating.

Young quarterbacks need two things above all else – a ground game and time in the pocket. Kolb will be the first Philadelphia QB to start a season without Brian Westbrook since 2002 and his blindside protector is the highly-overrated Jason Peters. Considering Andy Reid’s penchant for placing the onus on his passer, even a revamped defense may not be enough to keep the Eagles afloat it 2010. Losing the leadership that guys like McNabb, Westbrook, and Brian Dawkins provide, over a span of just two offseasons, will take a toll on any team. With no offensive stars with more than three years of experience, it’s a toll Philadelphia may be too young to pay.

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