Reid plans to stick with struggling McNabb

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb isn't losing his starting job after a mediocre half-season.

No matter how far the Philadelphia Eagles plummet in the standings, coach Andy Reid plans to stick with the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback for at least the remainder of this year.

"That's where I'm looking at things," Reid said Monday when asked if McNabb will remain the starter, barring another injury. "Again, nothing is guaranteed. That's how I'm looking at it, yes."

A 38-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys before a national audience on Sunday night dropped the Eagles to 3-5 at the midpoint of the season. Further, it exposed all of Philadelphia's weaknesses.

If anyone was clinging to hope that a few of the early losses were fluky and the Eagles still could find a way to contend, the Cowboys erased those wishful thoughts.

An offense led by a still-recovering McNabb is too inconsistent and lacks big-play capability. The Eagles have scored more than 17 points just once, in a 56-21 win over Detroit in Week 3.

The defense was solid through the first seven games against weaker opponents. Facing a potent attack against Dallas, they were completely overmatched in a must-win game.

Given how far the defending NFC East champions have fallen -- nine teams in the conference have a better record and they're three games out of a playoff spot -- some are wondering if it's time to bench McNabb and turn over the offense to rookie Kevin Kolb.

But Reid isn't ready to start building for the future.

"It's easy to point the finger at one guy," Reid said. "But, I don't think that's where we're at right now. There have been a few drops and there's been some pressure. There have been some other things involved there, too. I'm not saying that there aren't plays Donovan wouldn't like to have back. I'm not saying that. I think everybody's had a little piece of that pie."

Dukes' take: Family first

![](/news/story?id=09000d5d803e67eb&template=with-video&confirm=true)Andy Reid is a great coach with an impeccable reputation around the NFL. There always will be a place for him on the sidelines in this league.

Unfortunately, I believe Andy is trying to prove wrong the people who have said he is not focused and should take a leave of absence. I just pray Andy is not trying to hold on to the Eagles' head coaching gig over his first priority, which is raising his family.

The NFL Network's Jamie Dukes explains further ... Column.

McNabb had a costly fumble and interception that led to 14 of Dallas' 21 points in the first half. Overall, his numbers this season aren't terrible, especially considering he's still not a year removed from tearing a knee ligament.

McNabb has a 59.9 completion percentage, 2,044 yards passing, nine touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 86.3. He's started every game, even though the initial prognosis after he got injured last November was that it could take up to 12 months for him to return.

Many players who have the same injury don't fully regain their old form until their second year back, if at all.

Ever since the Eagles surprisingly selected Kolb with their first overall pick in the second round of the NFL draft, there's been a lot of speculation that McNabb is nearing the end of his run in Philadelphia.

McNabb is signed through 2013, and is due to collect $52.4 million the last four years of his contract.

But will he even be here beyond this season?

McNabb's base salary next year is $6.3 million with a cap cost of $9.4 million. That jumps to $9.2 million in base and $10.4 in cap cost for 2009.

It's possible the final eight games will determine McNabb's future with the Eagles. If he improves and shows his knee is healthy, he should be here at least one more year.

For now, McNabb's biggest concern is salvaging this season.

"It's frustrating," he said. "It's not like we're playing bad, we're just not capitalizing on those opportunities we're given, whether it was in the red zone or eliminating mistakes. It's just not coming together the way we want it to. You can't go out and play well one week and then the next week you find yourself on the short end of it. We need to get a winning streak going and it has to happen now."

Notes: An MRI exam on Pro Bowl CB Lito Sheppard's left knee was normal and it's possible he could play at Washington on Sunday. "I think Lito's going to be OK," Reid said. Sheppard missed four games after injuring his knee in the season opener and came out in the second half against Dallas. ... SS Sean Considine was scheduled to have an MRI on his injured shoulder. His status wasn't known.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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