For the first time since its inception this summer, the Donovan figure on the McNabb-O-Meter leans Eagles green, gaining a slight 51-49 advantage in favor of the quarterback's return. As you can see, that's a huge departure from our last read taken on November 20, shortly after the team had fallen to 5-4. Much has changed since then though. The Birds are on a three game winning streak, tied for first in the East, and the head coach just received a contract extension. There's no place to go but up from here... right?
Statistically speaking, McNabb is having one of the best campaigns in his career, and from the looks of things, he's only getting more comfortable as the season progresses. There are still a few bugs in the system, but consider what he is accomplishing with all the young, new players in the starting lineup. We may be only just beginning to realize the true potential of this offense. The Eagles are currently sixth in the NFL in points per game (27.2) despite ranking 24th in touchdown percentage (47.2%) inside the red zone. If they can clean that up, there may not be a better unit in the league.
What's really going to swing the decision though is how he performs in the playoffs. If there are signs that it is Donovan McNabb that is slowing down the offense's progression, he's in trouble. Or to put it another way, he can't afford to do anything that even resembles choking in a clutch situation. We're not talking about simply coming up short again, but failing spectacularly with the plethora of weapons that surrounds him now would be enough to make anybody wonder whether the grass gets any greener.
Here is what we know: the head coach who regards McNabb as a Hall of Fame talent is here to stay, and the franchise has made a serious effort to find the pieces that can put them in a position to win. All the quarterback needs to do is lead, and everything else should fall into place.