Say what you will about Mike McMahon, but give the guy his due. Put into a tough situation that got tougher by the game thanks to key injuries on the offensive side of the ball, McMahon has taken the high road. Through it all, he has maintained his composure and held his head high.
Thankfully, McMahon doesn't have the numbers to qualify to be listed among the league leaders. If he did, he would officially rank as the worst quarterback in the NFL. This way, he can remain as somewhat of a footnote. Someone who didn't "officially" have a chance to show what he can do. Watching the Eagles though, it has become painfully obvious that McMahon doesn't appear ready to lead an NFL team. In all honesty, he doesn't even appear to qualify as a backup quarterback in the NFL, which is a shame, really.
If McMahon had more talent, he would be of just the perfect mold to be a backup quarterback. His personality lends itself to accepting his role with the team and coming off the bench only when absolutely needed. The truth is that McMahon worked hard all season long and toiled without so much as a speck of attention until Donovan McNabb could no longer play. When McNabb's season officially ended, the Eagles had a decision to make and McMahon was the guy that they went with ahead of Koy Detmer.
On much of the local sports talk radio, fans wondered why Detmer wasn't given the nod. As McMahon played, the talk grew louder and louder. In all honesty though, would Detmer have brought much more potency to the Eagles attack? Nobody knows for sure.
McMahon was handed a tough hand to play with. Terrell Owens was gone and center Hank Fraley was already on IR when McNabb's season officially ended. Less than a month after McMahon took over, Brian Westbrook would exit with a season-ending injury, driving a huge stake into the heart of the Eagles ground game, which was the one thing that McMahon had going for him.
The truth is that McMahon has been pretty much the quarterback that he has shown in his career as a backup quarterback. Coming into the season, McMahon had completed 43.8% of his passes. This season, he's completed 44.3% of his passes. Even with and without Westbrook to provide the backup of a decent ground game, McMahon's completion percentage has stood right around 44% on the season. In other words, don't complain about what he's done for the Eagles. He's been exactly as advertised.
"It's been rough. Things don't always go the way you want them to go, and it's not always the ideal situation you would like to be in," said McMahon. "But you are out there, you're fighting, you want to play and you want to be successful. It's frustrating when you don't get the outcome you want. But it's part of the game. You just keep fighting." Even now, McMahon continues his fight even though he's nursing a sore rib and knee. Reid has tabbed him to start the finale against Washington and McMahon has promised to be ready.
The question is, as it is with a lot of issues surrounding the Eagles this season, what could McMahon have done if he had the proper weapons? Owens would have likely been a distraction, since he would have looked to expose every fault of McMahon's so as not to have any of the blame deflected his way. The numbers show that Westbrook's absence hasn't affected McMahon's numbers, so that's not an issue. You can argue that the loss of Fraley has been one of the toughest for the team to handle and you might be right. A strong center makes everybody on the offense look a little smarter and a little better. Again though, the odds are that McMahon wouldn't have been measurably better even with better weapons. As harsh as reality is, the reality for McMahon appears to be that he just doesn't have the talent that he'll need to succeed in the NFL.
That doesn't mean that McMahon won't be back in Philadelphia and it doesn't mean that he won't have a job in the NFL. His personality and the fact that he will throw himself out there without complaining and accept whatever role he's given could get him another job. Reid loves McMahon and could stick with him at least as a third string option next season. If he's higher than that, Reid is making a mistake.
The bottom line is that the talent isn't there, but you have to give McMahon respect for the job that he's tried to do and the professional way that he went about it. Not once did he complain about receivers patterns or missed blocks by the offensive line or running backs not giving him a viable option. Instead, he held his head high and did what he could. Besides, the numbers didn't lie and the Eagles knew what they were getting when they brought McMahon to town.