Typically speaking, when the Philadelphia Eagles lose a game, criticism rains down hot and heavy. The city of brotherly love is a tough town to play in. Very rarely are fans, media members, and ex-players reserved with their frustrations.
Donovan McNabb is one former Eagles player who’s made a name for himself as a heavy critic of the team upon retiring from the NFL. The team’s starting quarterback from 1999 to 2009, McNabb has never shied away from offering criticism on the state of the Eagles. Before his trade to the Indianapolis Colts, former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was a frequent victim of McNabb’s disapproval.
However, despite the team’s lackluster performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, McNabb offered a surprising message.
Donovan McNabb on the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles: ‘I’m kinda encouraged’
Spirits were sky-high following the Eagles’ crushing Week 1 win over the Atlanta Falcons. However, it didn’t take long for reality to come crashing back down in Philly.
The 2021 Eagles are a rebuilding team, and their Week 2 loss to San Francisco proves as much.
Jalen Hurts barely completed over 50% of his passes. First-round WR DeVonta Smith only recoded two total catches on seven targets. Nick Sirianni struggled with play-calling. There were too many penalties. The list goes on and on.
With all of that said, appearing on SportsRadio 94.WIP, McNabb had an encouraging message for Eagles fans.
“For me, when I look at this football team, I’m encouraged because I didn’t particularly think we had a great draft and I didn’t think we were wowing anyone with free agents. From the first game, I was shocked by how things were flowing from both sides, including special teams…But I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing. I’m seeing at least a football team that is fighting. There is a great effort from a lot of players on the football field, and it seems like they are buying into what Nick Sirianni is selling. I’m expecting this team to continue to elevate as we go through the season.”Donovan McNabb via SportsRadio 94.WIP
McNabb is a big Jalen Hurts fan
It’s too early to say whether the Eagles are “buying into what Nick Sirianni is selling,” but it’s worth acknowledging that they did fight to the end against the 49ers. If one or two plays had gone the Eagles’ way, it’s plausible they would have achieved a different result.
One of the biggest reasons McNabb appears so high on this version of the Eagles is due to Hurts. McNabb seemed open to the idea of starting Hurts over Wentz from the moment he was drafted. Thus far, the former Eagles QB is still all the way in on Hurts being the long-term answer in Philly.
“…Jalen Hurts is our guy. It took them a while to even think Jalen Hurts was the starting quarterback, which we all knew he was. So now, people are on edge from that aspect,” McNabb said.
Can the Philadelphia Eagles live up to McNabb’s lofty expectations?
So, can this version of the Eagles live up to McNabb’s lofty expectations?
Short answer, no. Long answer, maybe.
If Sunday’s loss at the hands of the 49ers showed us anything, it’s that the Eagles are still pretty far away from being a playoff-caliber team. Many of the issues that had people down on them during the offseason emerged upon facing a formidable opponent. While the Eagles have a relatively easy schedule this season, they’re going to struggle to win games consistently should they play as they did during Week 2 every game.
Upon viewing the Eagles from a more zoomed-out perspective, there’s a chance they establish themselves as a formidable opponent in 2022 and beyond. They own 2-3 first-round picks in the 2022 Draft, and their cap space is slowing but surely freeing up. A lot of their potential success hinges on Hurts’ ability to be a starting QB, but he still has 15 games to prove his value in that regard.