Thursday, August 20, 2009

Philly Rehab

I used to respect Donovan McNabb. A lot.

Not anymore.

The more I heard him talk about his role in bringing Vick to the Eagles, the more disgusted I got. And it has nothing – nothing – to do with Vick and his dogfighting.

On that front, the guy has paid a huge price, and one he deserved to pay because of his own arrogance. So I reject Commissar Goodell's micromanaging the return by saying he'll “review” the case at some point about 6 weeks into the season to give him full clearance.

Vick should be cleared to play now. Period.

But he should be brought in to a team for purely football reasons only. Not the mushy rehabilitation theme that McNabb has struck up for a fellow, former Pro-Bowl, black quarterback.

Oh. Whoops. Was that the race card? Sorry. Slipped out.

But since it's on the felt table, let's just play the hand, shall we?

Does anybody really think McNabb would go out of his way to lobby for a competitor to his job if it was … oh.... say.... Jake Delhomme, the disgraced former Super Bowl QB who grew up with dogfighting on the bayou but is now really, really, really sorry?

I didn't think so.

So that's fine, McNabb is on a “help-a-brotha-out” tour here, and that's his own risky game to play. It might work out. Or not.

I see one of the following things happening.

1. Vick returns and is a modestly exciting, part-time, wildcat QB who scores one TD, but otherwise is a non-factor. He stays out of trouble.
2. Vick is used briefly in wildcat situations, is counter-productive, and shelved as the backup. Season ends quietly, never needing him.
3. Vick is used as an injury replacement to McNabb for 2-4 games, and he's.. um... not good. Period. Experiment ends after the season, everybody wishes him luck.
4. Vick is used as an injury replacement to McNabb for 2-4 games and he's... AWESOME! Now, there's serious question about whom to keep going forward.
5. Vick gets in trouble again off the field, everybody is embarrassed, and he's suspended again.

Now from a football standpoint, I just don't see much upside in any of these scenarios. And my gut says that #'s 1&2 are more likely than 4&5 but we'll see.

There is a longshot scenario, one Eagle fan posed to me... It goes something like this: Eagles shine up the rusty quarter, and trade him next year as a good citizen and QB ready to start for a 2nd or 3rd round pick. I doubt this entirely, because of how lukewarm the compensation was for a guy like Matt Cassell without all the baggage.

The bigger picture is this: McNabb has been one of the most prickly, sissy-ish, starting QB's when it comes to looking over his shoulder. A guy who clearly chafed at the Eagles using a #2 on Kevin Kolb, suddenly now is lobbying to bring in Vick?

McNabb's reasons are almost purely personal and social. The whole “he's paid his debt” and I have a “personal relationship” with him things.

From a pure football standpoint, I think the reasons are very fishy, at best.

Amazing too, that McNabb was already nearly on the curb this past season, and for the two years before that.. To think he could actually be successful in bringing Vick in for his own reasons, is a stunner in its own right.

If you are Vick, you better thank your lucky stars that Tony Dungy and Donovan McNabb put so much personal capital into your comeback.

If you are an Eagle fan, however, it's hard to respect McNabb for this move. If the socially minded QB had just been able to hit wide open receivers on crossing patterns last January in Arizona, they might have been in the Super Bowl.

Oh well. Vick's rehabilitation is very important to McNabb, so the fans are just going to have to sit down in back and shut the hell up.


  1. Czabe,

    I'm a life-long Eagles fan and I agree with your assessment. This is not about football. McNabb wants to help a friend/fellow black QB out, and Reid wants to set an example for giving people a second chance, in the hopes that someone will give his sons one. That's all well and good, but what about Eagles fans who happen to be animal lovers? We are either forced to root for the Hitler of the dog world, or stop rooting for the team we've loved our whole lives. I've completely lost faith in Reid and McNabb. They are both good guys, but due to their various flaws they are incapable of winning the Super Bowl. This year will be no different, and for once I won't be disappointed. I would rather that our first Super Bowl win not be tainted by a doggy killer. I look forward to the day when Reid, McNabb and Vick are no longer Eagles.

  2. I choke a tear during "Turner & Hooch"... Swallowed my tongue when the dog in "k-9" got capped... and the Vick thing kinda floored me, but the situation isn't so unreal... Come on... You've NEVER been in a situation that you felt you could help someone really be better... If everyone in the world just threw their arms up and said, "Not my problem, why should I waste my time and/or breath on that?"... This world would DOUBLE suck ass... Why not drop a duece on Dungy's chest while your at it... He's a moron too, right... Second chances is what life is built on... He screwed up ROYAL... But the scales could tip back... Hey I love my dog, but the "Hitler" of dogs... JESUS!!! Go to a "F"ing puppy mill dude (you got a few to choose from) then tell me Vick is Hitler... Vick killed dogs... Stallworth killed a HOMO SAPIEN!!! But that is yesterdays news... Oh homicide, yeah that happens everyday... No big whoop... Good lord... I love the show czabe... I rarely miss it...

  3. j swaz - Stallworth didn't intend to kill anyone, while Vick's sole intent was to torture and kill dogs for 6 years. Let someone else help Vick be better. He doesn't make the Eagles a better football team, and that is Czabe's point. The Eagles did this as a social experiment, not to help their football team. If the Lions wanted to sign him for example, that would help their team, but the Eagles already have a QB. So we Eagles fans get all of the baggage that comes with having Vick on our team w/o any real upside. We are the laughing stock of the league now. It's bad enough that we've never won a Super Bowl, and now we have to hear about Vick from every other fan out there. Just because there are other injustices in the world doesn't let Vick off the hook for what he did. I will let him prove that he has truly changed before I give him the benefit of the doubt. So far it's all just lip service with words spoon fed to him by his p.r. guys. If you want to forgive the guy, good for you, but don't tell me how I should feel. And oh yeah, thanks for ruining the ending to k-9 for me.

  4. Dog fighting aside, what seems to get lost in all this is the fact that Vick was part of a major gambling operation. He wasn't just watching dogs fight, he was taking book on them. If I am not mistaken Illegal sports gambling is prohibited by NFL players. Vick got a huge second chance. I have to believe if I got busted for dog fighting, illegal gambling and did two years in the pokie that my employer wouldn't take me back with open arms. Truly a few double standards are in play here thanks to Dungy and McNabb

  5. Is this supposed to be satire? Otherwise, I'm not sure I follow Czaban's logic here. When McNabb was one of the most "prickly, sissy-ish" QBs in the league, he was deserving of Czaban's respect. But now that he's seemingly dropped those insecurities to help a friend salvage his career, he isn't? Does that make sense to anyone else?

    Its funny watching Czaban voice his sheer disgust at hearing McNabb's support for Vick, and in the same paragraph vehemently proclaim his indifference to Vick's brutal and ugly crimes. Czaban's issue here seems to be that its one black guy helping another. I hate to get all Glenn Beck-y in here, but Czaban clearly has a hatred of black people and black culture. It obviously bothers him that these two men share a camaraderie rooted not just in their shared profession, but their shared ethnicity. McNabb understands Vick's situation as well as anyone in the league. The two were close prior to Vick's legal problems. It only makes sense that McNabb would reach out to him. And really, that's all the power that McNabb has. The decision makers, Lurie and Reid, clearly had their own motives. McNabb could be as supportive as he wants, but that doesn't get him into an Eagles uniform. Czaban doesn't criticize Reid for maybe letting his sons' legal troubles cloud his judgement in recruiting Vick. He doesn't go after Lurie for going against his own social conscious in signing Vick. The two men who actually have the power to put Vick on the field, Czaban ignore. But McNabb is the villain for being friends with another black man. That says a lot more about Czaban than it does about anyone else.

  6. Czabe,

    I used to respect YOU a great deal Czabe. No more! These days, whenever you talk about a black athlete or a black politician, your angle is tinged with race and just a little malice. I’m not looking for you to censor yourself or be politically correct. But I have to ask Czabe, what is up with all the racial comments lately? Are you seeking to become the Rush Limbaugh of Sports Talk radio? Either way, I’m glad you’re letting us see who you really are. This is good.

    So let me get this straight. You believe Vick has paid his debt and should be reinstated immediately. Got it. You believe teams should sign Vick only for pure football reasons. Got it. McNabb lobbied for Vick because he wanted to “help a brother out” and not because he believed Vick will help the Eagles organization. HUH?????

    Oh, okay, I understand now. The story involves a black quarterback in a white quarterback league. I get it. That must mean that everything the black quarterback says or does is motivated by race. I understand.

    Sure, McNabb lobbied for Vick, but so did many other players and columnist around the league. Sure, McNabb felt that Vick has paid his price and deserves reinstatement, but so do many other players and columnist around the league – including you. Both McNabb and Coach Reed have repeatedly said that they believe Michael Vick will help their team win football games. Your assertion that McNabb is lying when he says this is long on irresponsible speculation, short on reason, and just a little bit sad.

    You inject an inflammatory racial tone into almost every story involving a black athlete whether the issue is there or not. I’m starting to question your motives.......