Shhhh. Nobody’s talking about Donovan McNabb anymore. Maybe that’s the best thing.
Outside of Philadelphia (and maybe behind a few locked doors in Dallas), hardly anyone’s discussing McNabb’s performance last Sunday – 361 passing yards, 21 completions in 33 attempts. Zero sacks. Zero picks.
No, we’re buzzing about Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Matt Ryan and (for totally different, strange reasons) Vince Young. Not McNabb.
Right now, McNabb is the NFL’s Invisible QB.
And no doubt, that’s the best thing.
It’s not surprising that McNabb, once one of the game’s most dynamic playmakers, came into the season with about as much buzz as Britney Spears’ recent appearance at the VMAs. Two major surgeries (hernia, torn ACL) transformed him into a one-legged tackling dummy. He was sacked 65 times over the last two seasons, having lost the mobility that was so much a part of his trademark.
He’s been injured and faltering so long now, it’s as if football fans forgot he was still in Philly. Or didn’t care anymore. It’s seems like eons since the Eagles reached Super Bowl XXXIX, and no one’s touting them as one of the team’s likely to get there this season.
Maybe that’s the best thing, too.
But very quietly, McNabb has gotten healthy and, while not back to his “old self,” he just might be a better self. More mature. Smarter. More self-assured. More secure.
(In fact, he looks like the QB Vince Young needs to aspire to be. Or at least the kind Young needs to reach out to right now, one who’s endured the downs, boos and injuries – survived and now seems poised to thrive again.)
McNabb has enough mobility to elude tacklers once again. Yet he was less frenetic, and possessed a better sense of where he was on the field and an even better sense of his options. He didn’t throw a single interception.
So sleep on Donovan McNabb, circa 2008, if you want. But remember this: QB ratings of 131.0 don’t happen by accident. It happens when talent and confidence are aligned – and perhaps when no one’s paying attention.