Feeley's play raises more uncertainty for McNabb's future

When Eagles quarterback A.J. Feeley plays the way he did Sunday night, questions regarding Donovan McNabb's future in Philadelphia are bound to intensify.

Eagles coach Andy Reid has yet to make a decision on who will start for the Eagles at quarterback next week against the Seahawks. Full story ...

Each time the Eagles have called on Feeley this season or in other ones, he has produced. Plus, Philadelphia invested its top pick last April in Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb, whom the organization is enamored with.

Now, more and more, it's looking as if the speculation that followed wide receiver Randy Moss last off-season is going to follow McNabb this off-season.

In a way, it already has.

One team admitted it called the Eagles before the trade deadline to inquire about McNabb only to be told that Philadelphia wanted three first-round picks in return for its veteran quarterback.

When teams inquire about McNabb this off-season -– and there will be, at the very least, a small line of them with all the organizations in need of a quarterback -- the Eagles' asking price will determine whether or not the face of their franchise returns.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is enamored with draft picks like few in the league, and an attractive enough package of them could be enough to pry loose McNabb and make the blockbuster happen.

But when Philadelphia gets the type of performance it did Sunday night from Feeley -- who threw for a career-high 345 yards and three touchdowns, and outplayed New England's Tom Brady -– then they are considered more apt to entertain offers.

However it shakes out, it will be one of the off-season's hottest storylines. Already it is taking shape.

Hot seats

Carolina's John Fox and Baltimore's Brian Billick are similar in many ways.

Each have had tremendous prior success. Each is considered a superb coach. Each has serious offensive issues on his current team. Each has three years, after this season, remaining on his contract to the tune of about $15 million total.

And each is under increasing fire.

Both teams plan to honor their commitments to their coaches, but both teams also are in crisis.

Fans are voicing their displeasure on game day. There were a number of empty seats during the drubbing the Panthers received Sunday from the Saints, and the empty seats grew in direct proportion to the margin on the scoreboard. This is always a dangerous and damaging sign for any head coach.

Baltimore has three remaining home games for the fans to voice their feelings and for team owner Steve Bisciotti to make his decision. Those three games are Monday night against New England, Dec. 9 against Indianapolis and Dec. 31 against Pittsburgh.

A source close to the Ravens' situation said Monday the team will not be making a head coaching change after this season.

"And I say that with 100 percent certainty," the source said.

Bisciotti is constantly engaged in meetings with general manager Ozzie Newsome and Billick, and those meetings detail how Baltimore got to where it is and how to correct any mistakes. There are no meetings, nor are any scheduled, to figure out potential new head coaches.

But it also should be noted that many coaches receive votes of confidence in November or December that turn around in January. Unless the Panthers and Ravens turn around their seasons, the question regarding the futures of their head coaches will simmer.

Backs to the future

When Minnesota opened its season, it did so with running backs Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson sharing the workload.

Now, with Peterson expected to play Sunday against Detroit, Vikings coach Brad Childress plans to go back to rotating backs.

He does not want to rely exclusively on Peterson the way he was starting to before the rookie running back tore his lateral collateral ligament Nov. 11 against the Green Bay Packers.

"I would say we'll ease him back in," Childress said. "You're not going to go back there and turn over the whole load to him. Those guys (Peterson and Taylor) have been good playing off each other. There are conditioning factors involved, there's fatiguing factors involved when you get involved in playing a 65- or 70-play game. We'll have a pulse on how he practices and who gets what."

But Peterson's return could help change the NFC playoff chase. With Detroit and the New York Giants each losing on Sunday, the Vikings are alive in their pursuit of a postseason position.

Brown out?

Tuesday is the day in which the Patriots must decide whether to activate wide receiver Troy Brown, place him on injured reserve, or release him.

Hard to imagine the Patriots cutting one of their more legendary players, leaving two viable options for Brown.

The Patriots could activate him, but that would mean having to make a roster decision with another player such as veteran wide receiver Kelley Washington.

The Patriots also could opt to put Brown in injured reserve, meaning he would be out for the season, unable to contribute to this team the way he did last year, when Brown stripped the football from Chargers safety Marlon McCree in what was the biggest play of New England's postseason.

It's great to have the riches New England does at wide receiver. But it also leads to some difficult decisions.

Extra points

» To make room for running back Ricky Williams, the Dolphins cut running back Samkon Gado.

» Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard still has not thrown an interception this season.

» Congratulations to the Raiders. Playing an AFC West game no longer is a black hole. Oakland's win Sunday over Kansas City snapped the Raiders' 17-game AFC West losing streak that dated back to Nov. 28, 2004.

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