McNabb May Not Be The Right Choice

A.J. Feeley almost pulled off a magical moment by driving the Eagles downfield for a late score which could have defeated the mighty Patriots. Bad luck, or rather bad judgment, led to a turnover that all but sealed the deal. Still, with his performance, Feeley put QB controversy back into the spotlight in Philly. Does he deserve a shot to be the starter?

Eagles coach Andy Reid said Monday that Donovan McNabb would be the starting quarterback this week against the Seattle Seahawks if his thumb and ankle injuries heal.

McNabb sprained his right ankle and jammed the thumb on his throwing hand two weeks ago in the second quarter of the Eagles' 17-7 win over Miami. He was replaced in that game by A.J. Feeley, who also started in McNabb's place Sunday night and nearly led the Eagles to a monumental upset of the New England Patriots.

Feeley threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to the Patriots. He also had three interceptions. But the offense seemed to have a lot more energy with Feeley behind center than it did with the struggling McNabb.

Reid indicated that McNabb's ankle and thumb would need to be perfect for him to start Sunday.

"I want to try to get him back to 100 percent before we stick him in the game," Reid said. "As a coach, you'd be foolish to stick somebody out there with a bad thumb and bad ankle."

Feeley has led the Eagles to six touchdowns in six quarters since replacing McNabb. Two of his three TD passes against the Patriots went to wide receiver Greg Lewis, who had caught a total of four passes all season before Sunday.

"A.J. played well," Reid said. "He was confident and decisive with his decisions. For the most part, he got the ball out on time and did a nice job. He had good command of the huddle. He didn't let the crowd or anything affect his play."

Defense Steps Up

The Eagles defense has had trouble getting pressure on quarterbacks of late. The unit went into the New England game with just one sack in the previous three games, but the Eagles sacked Patriots QB Tom Brady three times. It equaled the most times he had been sacked this season. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson went with a 3-3-5 alignment against the Patriots' four-wide receiver sets and frequently had SLB Chris Gocong put his hand on the ground and be a rush end. Gocong sacked Brady once and pressured him a couple of other times.

"We had a lot of different guys giving pressure," Johnson said. "We were mixing things up, and they went to a lot of four-wide. We felt anytime they did that, we would pressure them. Basically, that was our game plan, and we felt every chance we had, we had to bring pressure."

Turnovers Rear Their Ugly Head

The Eagles have a poor minus-7 turnover ratio. They've turned the ball over 11 times in the past four games, including three interceptions against the Patriots. Their defense, meanwhile, hasn't been able to force many turnovers. They've got a league-low 11 takeaways, including three in the past six games. "When you're playing a good football team, turnovers can affect the game," coach Andy Reid said. "We had too many of them (against the Patriots), and we need to start causing them."

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