The fundamental qualities of a backup quarterback are as follows: have experience, have an arm that can be trusted in an emergency situation, and even if he’s not torching the opposing secondary (he probably won’t), the backup shouldn’t make crippling mistakes. A punt and the ability to control field position is always far more ideal than an interception or fumble that puts the defense in a difficult position.

Donovan McNabb possesses just one of those qualities, and it’s the only that’s arguably optional: experience.

Like the withering grandfather who’s only capable of telling you stories about when moon pies cost 12 cents, age and the experience that comes with it is McNabb’s only redeemable quality now. He’s not even the cool grandpa who can tell compelling and riveting stories about the time he reeled in Slithering Sam, the fiercest fish of the great lakes, a fish so big that he couldn’t be categorized as belonging to any one fish family. The locals just called him “the thing.”

There’s little reason to have any confidence whatsoever in McNabb now, which is why it’s puzzling that he still seems to have so much confidence in himself.

I suppose he has no other choice, at least outwardly, because being a sulky depressing human is a sorry way to live, and it’s not good for business. But he must know that no ones believes him when he says that there’s an “80-90 percent chance” he’ll be on an NFL roster in 2012, right?

He said those words. He really did, and we can only assume that he meant them. He took it a step further in his conversation with NBC SportsTalk Thursday night, and specifically said there are three teams interested in his services.

“I have about three teams that I’m looking at. I think teams are looking at what they have. They’re evaluating their young quarterbacks, their backup situation. Obviously, their starters they feel very confident in, but if things were to go wrong in training camp, or maybe the competition isn’t where they need it to be, they’ll obviously pick up the phone and call.”

Let’s at least acknowledge that McNabb’s sort of right, in the most obvious way. A massive injury either during training camp or once the season starts would lead to desperation, and if a team needs to promote its current backup to a more prominent role, then McNabb’s phone would indeed ring since there’s a roster spot to fill, and the team in question would probably prefer to employ someone who’s played football in the NFL.

That’s a pretty basic scenario, and it applies to any veteran who’s out of work as the calendar flips to July, and it becomes obvious that only an injury will land them an NFL paycheck. But given his performance last year, McNabb’s estimate of the odds of that happening is absurd.

Late last season Jeff Garcia was the McNabb of 2011, and it took an unprecedented and incredibly unlucky run of injuries that decimated the Texans’ QB depth chart for his phone to finally ring. Garcia gained employment after Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart went down, and even then the Texans were far more willing to strap their fate to T.J. Yates, a rookie, and a nobody fifth-round pick.

McNabb couldn’t provide the required veteran experience and leadership to be Christian Ponder’s backup, and before he was mercifully cut he was placed behind Joe Webb, and third on Minnesota’s depth chart. He displayed fundamental flaws in his basic throwing mechanics, which resulted in his woeful Vikings debut in which he completed 46.7 percent of his passes for 39 yards. It also took him only six starts to get sacked 16 times.

He’s of little use to any team at this point, and everyone sees that expect Donovan McNabb.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • It feels like we hear about a new concussion lawsuit against the NFL by a former player or a group of former players nearly every day now, which has unfortunately made them become white noise. But pay attention to this one from former Buc Arron Sears, because it’s the most serious one so far, and the most depressing. [Pewter Report]
  • The more I read about Robert Griffin III, the more I’m becoming convinced that for at minimum the next decade or so he’s going to be one of the most selfless dudes to ever play quarterback. Long before he’s taken a single meaningful snap, he just simply gets it. What is it? Click to the right, dear reader. [Rich Tandler]
  • Sure, the overlap between hockey and football fans pretty much doesn’t exist. But dammit, I’m not going to let that stop me from directing you towards a solid cross-sport analogy, and a painful one if you’re a fan of Pittsburgh sports. [Total Steelers]
  • Maybe it’s the bit of business nerd in me, but I’m endlessly interested in the league’s mission to make stadiums feel more like your comfy, well-worn couch on gamedays. Even the Packers, a team that doesn’t have to worry about attendance and won’t have to for 80 years or so, are still aware of this process, and they’re taking measures to crank up the awesomeness of Lambeau Field. [PFT]
  • Andre Carter has been waiting for a contract from the Patriots. He’s still waiting. [Boston Herald]
  • The Titans let Jason Babin walk last summer, and when we consider both his performance in Philly and the bargain contract he signed, there’s plenty of reason for fans in Tennessee to insert their face into their palms. [Music City Miracles]
  • We post our share of ridiculous items around here, mostly because we enjoy fun. So you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that I saw this Drew Brees cab video yesterday morning long before it was available everywhere else and even your grandmother who can only navigate to two webpages saw it. I didn’t post it because it’s not ridiculous; it’s simply dumb, and a waste of your time. But hey, since when has that stopped any of us from watching stuff on the Internet? Whatever, here you go…[Shutdown Corner]

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