Knowing McNabb will not be at full strength for as long as he can keep playing, the Eagles hope their superstar can perform close to the level that has made him a five-time Pro Bowler when they meet the Kansas City Chiefs.
McNabb plans to remain Philadelphia’s starting quarterback despite an abdominal strain that is expected to continue bothering him and will eventually need surgery.
“I’m ready to go,” McNabb said. “I don’t have any concerns right now. … It’s just something you have to deal with and realize some days you’ll feel great and some days you won’t.”
Regardless of how McNabb feels at game time, it seems likely his mobility will be limited due to the sports hernia as well as nagging chest and shin injuries. Though his rushing totals have gone down every year since he had a career-high 629 yards in 2000, McNabb has run only four times for eight yards this season. He rushed for 220 yards and three touchdowns in 2004.
His passing numbers, though, have not suffered even though at times he’s been inaccurate. McNabb has attempted more passes (126) than any other signal-caller, ranks second with 77 completions, leads the NFL with 964 passing yards and is tied for first with eight TD passes.
Trainer Rick Burkholder said rest will not fix the problem and it takes eight to 12 weeks to recover from the type of surgery McNabb would need.
“His pain may get worse, it may get better, the condition won’t,” Burkholder said. “It’s not like he’s going to do a career-ending problem to his abdomen or his groin.”
McNabb will likely feel a lot of pressure from a Kansas City defense looking to show its performance last week was a fluke.
After looking very improved in the first two weeks of the season, the Chiefs defense appeared very vulnerable on Monday night in a 30-10 loss at Denver.
Kansas City, which gave up a combined 24 points during its 2-0 start, allowed 221 rushing yards, failed to force a turnover and had only one sack against the Broncos.
The offense wasn’t much better, getting held out of the end zone until Trent Green threw a virtually meaningless touchdown pass to Samie Parker with 2:12 to play. It was Green’s first TD pass of the season after he had a career-high 27 last year.
“I’m disappointed in myself,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. “The coaches lost, too. When you come out and lose like that, the coaches got beat, and the players got beat. It’s not just the players.”
Vermeil, who led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 1980, has plenty of reason to get his team motivated for this game. He was irritated following last week’s loss after hearing Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey’s comments during the game that the Chiefs ‘were playing a little different. They’re not playing as hard.’
“That’s why I don’t allow players to be miked. I don’t know what (Bailey) was referring to,” Vermeil said. “That’s a player’s opinion.”
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