I think it is safe to assume Donovan McNabb was not all that happy when Donte’ Stallworth went north to catch passes for the Patriots. Donte’s departure left Donovan with Reggie Brown as the only current high caliber receiver in the Eagles arsenal. Also worth noting about Brown, in his two seasons with the Birds he has had number 81 and 18 lining up on the other side of the ball. Could Hank Baskett turn into a to level wideout? Sure it’s possible, but it’d be hoping for a whole lot from an undrafted player.
Let’s take a look at the events over the past few days. At a benefit on Wednesday, Donovan spoke his mind and did the unthinkable. Donovan criticized the Eagles.
The signing of Curtis satisfies a plea made by Donovan McNabb at an Autism benefit Wednesday night after the franchise quarterback was asked about losing his top deep threat Stallworth to the Patriots. "I'm just looking for some help that will stay longer than two years," McNabb said. "You look at quarterbacks throughout the league who have had the opportunity to work with the same receivers year after year. I have not had that ability.
"So, we've been just kind of going in and out with different receivers and having some success, but I am looking forward to hopefully getting somebody I can work with for years to come."
Some interesting words. It’s likely just a coincidence that the Birds had Curtis signed the following day. Adding to the uncomfortable atmosphere around the team, Joe Banner felt the need to call out the franchise QB – as if enough people don’t do that already. He basically called McNabb misinformed.
But Banner said the quarterback was not looking at facts. The reigning Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts have had essentially the same receiving corps throughout their run of success with Peyton Manning, but Banner said the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers have had success in recent years with changing casts at wide receiver.
''There really isn't a basis there for talking about the continuity [with regards] to receivers,'' said Banner, who also cited statistics that he said show the Eagles have ranked No. 1 among the NFL's 32 teams at retaining players in recent seasons.
Donovan McNabb is the one throwing passes. I think Donovan knows the value of building lasting relationships with his receivers. Banner calling out McNabb for asking for some receivers he can get to know inside and out is typical of the poor relationship Eagles management seems to have with the players and fans. The Eagles brass can talk all they want and rationalize the hell out of every move they make. It could all be completely accurate, but until we get a Super Bowl in Philadelphia, the fans won’t want to hear it.
>>Podcast of Banner's Interview on WIP [610 WIP]
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just pitch.
Don’t worry about the role.
That’s Adam Morgan’s mindset this spring.
“I’m just trying to show whoever needs to see it that I can be an asset to this team,” the left-hander said after his spring debut against the New York Yankees on Saturday (see story). “I’m just keeping it simple that way. I’m not trying to go out for that fifth (starting) spot. If the fifth spot opens up, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want to put me in the bullpen, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want me to be the backup catcher, I’ll be the backup catcher.”
The Phillies have plenty of candidates for backup catcher.
And the top five spots in their starting rotation, barring an unforeseen development, are accounted for.
But there is a way for Morgan to make this team.
“He’s definitely a bullpen candidate,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
Mackanin is on record as saying he’d like to have two lefties in what likely will be a seven-man bullpen. It might not work out that way, but that would be Mackanin’s preference.
Morgan is one of what appears to be four candidates along with Joely Rodriguez, Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett. Ramos and Burnett are experienced major-league veterans in camp on minor-league contracts. Rodriguez is the only pure lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. Morgan, of course, is on the 40-man roster, but he’s mainly been a starter in his career.
There’s a long way to go in spring training and it would not be surprising to see general manager Matt Klentak add to the list of lefty relief candidates with some type of pickup before the end of camp.
But for now, it’s just these four.
Morgan, who turns 27 on Monday, started and pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday and will likely continue to have his innings stretched out throughout the Grapefruit League season, just in case he’s needed as a starter.
Ramos and Rodriguez both pitched an inning Saturday. Ramos allowed a hit and a run. Rodriguez had a clean inning. Burnett was tagged for two hits and two runs on Friday.
Morgan made 21 starts for the Phillies last season. He also made two relief appearances and finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. He was sent to Triple A in July and returned in mid-August. He made nine starts after returning and pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer earned runs in four of them.
During his time in Triple A, Morgan started throwing a two-seam fastball or sinker. He’s continued to throw it this spring and believes it will help him.
“I learned to trust the two-seamer last year and that’s what I hope to keep moving forward with,” he said.
Will it take him to the Phillies’ bullpen?
He hopes so. He got a taste of relieving last season and liked it.
“Oh, yeah, I loved it,” he said. “Every time the phone rang down there, I was on high alert. It was awesome. It’s a rush.
“But wherever I land, I land. I’d be willing to play anywhere on this team.”