Since his arrival to Redskins training camp, Donovan McNabb has been telling anyone who would listen that his return to Philadelphia in week four is nothing but another game. Now, with the game less than a week away and plenty of national media attention, McNabb is reiterating that point.
“I’ve always said that I look at it just like a normal game,” McNabb said. “This is a game the Washington Redskins need. It wouldn’t matter if it were the Cowboys or the Giants. After the last two weeks, this is a must-win situation for us. We just look forward to the challenge.”
Right, Donovan. Are you looking forward to the challenge of winning the game, or the challenge of beating your former team? Every athlete that’s traded from one team to another relishes the moment they get a chance to return to beat their former employer. This is the most important return of an athlete since Terrell Owens came back in 2006, and although they left on two completely different terms, the passion is the same, and the hype is bigger. McNabb does not want to leave a loser.
Same with the Philadelphia Eagles front office. They’re blessed by the play of Michael Vick and the fact he’s returned to his pre-jail skill level, otherwise they’d be trapped with Kevin Kolb and an uninspired offense to face McNabb and his weapons coming into Philly. Though the Skins are 1-2 with two unimpressive losses to the Texans and Rams, McNabb’s averaged over 300 yards and a touchdown in both games and is starting to find some favorite targets in Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. Both options could break a play for a touchdown at any point, and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman wanted their offense to have the chance to respond quickly if they broke one against Philly, which is mostly why Vick is in there instead of Kolb.
But McNabb won’t let anyone know he cares. He told ESPN 980 in Washington this week he believes he’ll be cheered, which is incredibly wishful thinking. He may get some cheers from some fans, but the majority of Eagles fans seem to either be happy he’s gone because they disliked his play or are happy he’s gone because they disliked the frustration of his attitude and the “will they, won’t they trade him” stories every season. Now, he will get plenty of cheers throughout the game—whenever he throws one of his trademark worm balls, Lincoln Financial Field will erupt with joy. Whenever he overthrows a receiver on a fade route, high fives will resonate throughout the stadium. And when he throws an interception and leaves the field laughing, for once, Philadelphia, we can laugh too.
We can laugh not because a professional athlete who finds his mistakes to be humorous is funny, because that’s a slap in the face to his fans. We can laugh because we aren’t the ones getting slapped anymore. We can laugh because Vick will take the field and stand in the pocket and throw the ball to a receiver over the middle and not throw it behind them, but actually lead them so they can gain extra yards and not get pancaked by linebackers. We can laugh because Vick will dance in the pocket and scramble and at the very least attempt to gain yards instead of just throwing the ball out of bounds.
We can laugh because in Vick, we have the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September. Through two and a half games, Vick has thrown for 750 yards and six touchdowns for a 110.2 quarterback rating, which is much better than McNabb’s 833 yards for two touchdowns and an 89.2 rating. We can laugh because when McNabb does throw that interception, and he will throw at least one, it will probably be an overthrown cross route right to Nate Allen, the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for September thanks to his two interceptions, one sack and 11 tackles.
So let McNabb say he doesn’t care when it’s more than obvious he does. Don’t let it make you angry, because he’s not lying to us anymore. He’s Washington’s problem now, and they can deal with his excuses and the pathetic way he thinks making mistakes is a joke. On Sunday, don’t let your blood pressure rise because you’re booing the guy. Just laugh.