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5-3 START; LOST TO COWBOYS, BEARS AND REDSKINS

McNabb Is Taken Off Bench, and Eagles Get Off the Mat

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By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

McNabb

63.2 comp. pct.

This Story

92.0 rating

Westbrook*

16 avg. carries 70.3 avg. yards

*Westbrook was inactive for two games

When Coach Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb for half a game last month and then reinstated him the following day as the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback, Reid said that sometimes a player must take a step backward temporarily to ultimately move forward.

At the time, it sounded like a rationalization, NFL coach-speak for there being only four days before the Eagles' next game and not enough time to properly ready young quarterback Kevin Kolb to make his first professional start. There was speculation that Kolb would have gotten the start if the Eagles hadn't been scheduled to play a Thursday night game that week, and that the beginning of the end of McNabb's long stay in Philadelphia was at hand.

But it's beginning to appear that maybe Reid was right. Since Reid sat him down in favor of Kolb in the second half of a loss in Baltimore, McNabb has rebounded with three crisp performances. The Eagles have won all three of those games and are back in the playoff race in the NFC as they prepare to play the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field.

A day after the Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns, 30-10, on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field to improve their record to 8-5-1, Reid said he thinks McNabb is playing as well as ever.

"I know that I've always said this: I think the city of Philadelphia is very fortunate to have him," Reid said at a news conference at the Eagles' training facility. "I know we are as an organization. The things that he's done here, playing that position for the number of years that he's done it, I think is phenomenal."

Asked if he feels better now about McNabb's future with the organization than he did a few weeks ago, Reid said: "I haven't even gone there. I honestly haven't. We're kind of in the grinder right now."


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