McNabb warms the bench, but it's Reid who ends up on the hot seat

November 24, 2008|By MIKE PRESTON | MIKE PRESTON,mike.preston@baltsun.com

The only thing injured on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb yesterday was his pride, and his benching might eventually cost coach Andy Reid his job.

Quarterbacks and head coaches are often tied together when it comes to job security, and when one goes, the other often shortly follows. Just ask former Ravens coach Brian Billick and Kyle Boller.

Reid benched his star quarterback after a miserable first half in which McNabb completed just 8 of 18 passes for 59 yards and had two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 13.2.

It was a bad move by Reid. The Eagles were down by only 10-7 at the half, and McNabb has rallied his team in similar situations many times throughout his 10-year career. Also, hasn't McNabb been to the Pro Bowl five times?

Maybe McNabb has played poorly in the past couple of games, and Reid was definitely looking for a spark. But he replaced McNabb with second-year player Kevin Kolb.

Kevin Kolb?

He turned this kid loose against one of the best defenses in the NFL, one that was embarrassed a week ago against the Giants.

The kid had no chance.

"It turned our antennas up," Ravens safety Ed Reed said of McNabb's benching.

Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle said: "Kevin Kolb. I'm not trying to be nasty or anything, but I don't even know who he is."

Kolb completed 10 of 23 passes for 73 yards and two interceptions. He finished with a quarterback rating of 15.3 and might have finished off McNabb's and Reid's careers in Philadelphia.

Second to none

The Ravens' secondary turned in its best performance of the season with four interceptions. It also knocked down eight passes, and not one Eagles receiver caught a pass behind the secondary.

Reed returned an interception for a record 108-yard touchdown.

"Considering what we're working with, I think we're just getting used to playing with each other," Rolle said.

It also helps that the Eagles' receivers haven't been any good since Terrell Owens during the 2005 season.

What was he thinking?

I agree with Reed when he said it wasn't a smart decision when he tried to lateral to Rolle at the Philadelphia 12-yard line after picking off a pass by McNabb late in the first half.

It was stupid, goofy, idiotic and selfish, something players would do from the University of Miami.

And did I mention stupid?

Up to speed?

Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco is learning that the game is played at two speeds in the NFL. There is the speed played by sorry defensive teams such as the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, and then there are fast defensive teams such as the Eagles and Giants.

Flacco hasn't progressed in the past two weeks. It appears the game is moving too fast, and he is trying to get acclimated again. Some of his decisions are in slow motion.

It's either that or he has hit the proverbial rookie wall.

Go with hot hand

According to fullback-halfback Le'Ron McClain, there is no logical reasoning in how offensive coordinator Cam Cameron subs his halfbacks.

But Cameron needed a better feel for the game yesterday. McClain was the hot runner during the first two series of the game, and then he disappeared for the rest of the first half.

Also while we're at this, please use McClain at the goal line. Sometimes Cameron gets too cute instead of playing smash-mouth.

A sign?

McNabb and the Eagles were hit for a delay-of-game penalty on their first possession.

No one asked him what happened, but I bet McNabb didn't know there was a play clock in the game, just like he didn't know an NFL game could end in a tie in overtime.

Isn't that special?

Why is it that when assistants become head coaches, their areas of expertise often become the weakest part of the team?

Billick came to Baltimore as an offensive genius, and the Ravens didn't have much offense in his nine seasons here. Marvin Lewis went to the Bengals as a defensive guru, and Cincinnati has had one of the worst defenses in the league during his tenure.

Harbaugh comes to Baltimore with the reputation as a special teams whiz, and the Ravens struggle, including allowing a 100-yard kickoff return yesterday on which Quintin Demps was never touched.

Psst. Psst. News flash: Steve Hauschka gets more distance on his kickoffs, but Matt Stover is a much better tackler.

Defense steps up

After allowing 207 yards rushing against the Giants last week, the Ravens were on a mission. They held the Eagles to 206 yards of total offense and only 86 rushing yards.

"We needed this," said Ravens defensive tackle Justin Bannan. "That was a pretty good offense we faced. They have lit up a lot of people up."

Listen to Mike Preston every Monday from 4 to 6 pm on Fox Sports (1370 AM).

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