Not surprisingly, my suggestion that the Bills trade a first-round pick for Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb stirred up some passionate responses. Roughly 60 percent were in favor of the move, but the 40 percent who opposed it clearly were more vehement.
A few readers compared the move to the one the Bills made eight years ago for Drew Bledsoe. But I maintain there are major differences. While McNabb isn’t as good as he was in his prime, he is not the washed-up quarterback that Bledsoe was when Buffalo acquired him from the Patriots. Drew was coming off a life-threatening injury and had lost his job to Tom Brady, who promptly guided New England to its first Super Bowl title. Bledsoe was reborn for about 12 games that first season in Buffalo, then reverted to the sack/turnover-prone QB he had become in the years leading up to the injury that cost him his job. I think McNabb’s statistics from the past two seasons reflect a quarterback who is still near the top of his game, and I believe he has about three solid seasons left.
Another critic compared McNabb to Matt Casell. Again, I don’t believe the comparison is accurate. Casel's football resume included just one successful NFL season (and a lackluster college football career) before he left New England for Kansas City, where he struggled mightily for a bad Chiefs team. McNabb has proven himself over a dozen seasons, and was a three-time Big East Conference player-of-the-year at Syracuse Unviersity.
Many Bills fans are still pining for Michael Vick, saying he would be a better option than the immobile McNabb behind Buffalo’s inexperienced offensive line. Yes, Vick could probably do a better job of running for his life, but he’s been about as accurate throwing the football as SU basketball center Arinze Onuaku has been from the free-throw line. To me, Vick is a much worse option than McNabb, who would bring leadership, an ability to read defenses and a much more accurate arm. Vick is NOT the answer, folks. He was an electrifying player (emphasis on the word WAS) but he never was a good quarterback.
This debate, though fun to engage in, probably has become moot anyway because sources in Philly are saying that McNabb doesn’t care to go to an organization in a serious rebuilding mode. The more likely scenarios include him staying with the Eagles or being traded to Minnesota (depending, of course, on Brett Favre’s status) or Arizona (McNabb lives there in the off-season and the Cardinals aren’t exactly enamored with Matt Leinart as Kurt Warner’s replacement.)
If McNabb’s not an option, then I’m taking a serious look at drafting Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame. I believe he has the grit, swagger and arm to succeed in Buffalo. Of course, in order to procure him, the Bills are going to have to trade up and be willing to suffer through a transition year while he learns the NFL ropes, surrounded by a supporting cast in serious need of a talent upgrade.
• Happy 201st birthday to Abraham Lincoln. And belated birthday wishes to Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame president Tony Liccione, who turned 61.
• My wife, Beth, is so happy to have her dining room table back now that I’ve finished the heavy work on three different books. Hey, what can I tell you, writers need room to spread all their stuff. (More on the specifics of the books in an upcoming blog.)
• I think Johnny Damon is a fool for listening to super agent Scott Boras and making a ridiculous contract demand from the Yankees. How much money does one person need? Too many athletes and celebrities measure wealth only in dollars and cents. Why not return to a place where you are welcomed by teammates and fans and where you have a chance to win another World Series?
• I was going to try to convince Beth that a trip to the Carrier Dome to watch Syracuse play Sunday would be a great way to spend Valentine’s Day, but I could see how being surrounded by close to 30,000 orange-clad, vociferous crazies might not be considered romantic.
* One of the readers opposed to my McNabb idea said it was a good thing I wasn't the Bills GM. Hey, I might not be qualified, but I definitely think I could have matched the records of the office-holders of the previous 10 years. It's pretty hard in today's NFL to go a decade without a playoff appearance and record just one winning season.
* I'm thinking it's a mortal lock that Wayne Gretzky lights the Olympic cauldron tonight.