What would you ask Donovan McNabb if you had 10 minutes to sit and chat? Contract stuff? No. A historical perspective of his 10 seasons with the Eagles? Eh, kind of boring. What he thinks about the West Coast offense and the success he has had? Maybe.
Perhaps a better line of questioning would be straight, to-the-point and matters to do with Eagles football. What is next for McNabb and for this football team? That is really all that matters, isn't it? Why look back when there is so much ahead?
McNabb enters this training camp is as positive a mind frame as he has ever enjoyed. He had the 2009 and 2010 seasons of his contract restructured. He stayed healthy throughout 2008 and brought the Eagles to within one game of the Super Bowl. McNabb looked around during the post-draft camps and saw the talent in place for the offense -- a rebuilt offensive line, the first three draft picks used on skill-position players, a true fullback in Leonard Weaver lining up as a starter ...
All of the positive momentum sets things up nicely for McNabb to have a great 2009 season. His success is not measured in completion percentage or touchdown ratios. McNabb has one goal in mind, and that is to win the Super Bowl. He has been to five Pro Bowls. He has been acclaimed as one of the game's best quarterbacks for many seasons. He has won plenty of playoff games.
But McNabb still chases the Lombardi Trophy. He has been the face of this franchise since 1999, and mixed with all of the good times and the many wins is the understanding that the Eagles have yet to accomplish the ultimate goal. They have been to five NFC Championship Games, winning one.
The latest heartbreak was the NFC title game loss in Arizona in January. McNabb did a lot of wonderful things to rally the team from a 21-point deficit to take the lead, yet he was criticized for not bringing the team back once Arizona took the lead late in the fourth quarter.
All of that is in the past, however. The questions McNabb and the Eagles face have to do what happens next, and how this talented team can get in gear from the very start of the season to reach new levels.
McNabb's game isn't likely to change a whole lot. He worked a lot on his mechanics and his accuracy in the off-season and he spent time a couple of weeks ago with his receivers perfecting the timing and cohesiveness with his receivers. McNabb reports to training camp on Sunday and practices Monday morning with the rookies and selected veterans, and he should be in the best shape of his life. Whether the Eagles tweak their offensive scheme and run the ball a touch more, or how they configure things now with a bigger, younger, more athletic offensive line in place remains to be seen.
It would be great if McNabb nudged his completion percentage higher -- he completed 60.4 percent of his passes last year and is at 58.9 percent for his career -- and if the offense, which set a franchise record for most points scored last season, had more consistency in certain situations (red zone last year, for example) and those are goals McNabb and the offense have this year.
Really, though, McNabb has everything going for him heading into his 11th season. It is way to early too take any of these statements too seriously, but it could be that the Eagles have the most talented offense they have had in the Andy Reid era lining up next week at Lehigh University. McNabb is healthy, happy and destined for great success.
Certainly, many things have to go right first -- the health of Brian Westbrook is a question, the timing of the offensive line is something to watch, and third-year man Brent Celek takes over at tight end on a full-time basis. Every team faces similar question marks. Not every team, however, has a quarterback as skilled and as accomplished as McNabb.
What is next for McNabb? The expectations should be high. The Eagles are looking for more of the same from McNabb, and then some. The offense in general has to be more efficient in short-yardage situations and in the red zone. There are many new pieces that have to get on the same page. McNabb has to orchestrate the entire thing, and make sure to coordinate all efforts to get the Eagles pointed in the right direction.
So the questions, then, are all about the here and now. Not about his benching from last season. Not about his contract status. Not about the presence of former second-round draft pick Kevin Kolb on the roster. Not about the past missed in the NFC Championship Games.
The focus is on now. And McNabb seems ready to take advantage of the present, and lift the Eagles to the top of the league.