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Donovan McNabb To Cardinals: Was This The Plan All Along?

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Did the Cardinals punt a season for a shot at Donovan McNabb?

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Wade Phillips was put down humanely yesterday as Dallas Cowboys coach following eight games of incompetence non pareil that led to a 1-7 record and the attempted cancellation of this season's Super Bowl in Dallas by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The move came as a mild surprise despite the record and the desperate eyes Phillips showed to press conference cameras post-game, clearly trying to blink in Morse code that his captors are forcing him to hold up this game stat sheet to prove he's still alive. Barely.

Phillips' dismissal was unexpected because the scuttlebutt around the NFL suggested Jones didn't care to pay a head coach to twiddle his Proven Winner thumbs during an expected lockout. (Head coaches generally get paid their full salary during a work stoppage; assistant coaches have clauses in their contracts to cut them off fairly quickly in most cases.)

Jones worked around that by promoting from within with once-and-future head coaching ingenue Jason Garrett taking the unusually undesirable post of the leader of America's Team. Garrett has likely been asked not to nail any pictures to the walls in his new office. A Cowher or Gruden awaits.

Which brings us back to the Arizona Cardinals. Max Hall sits quietly on the bench, hoping no one notices he's still collecting an official professional paycheck. Derek Anderson has reached the point that each successful completion is met on the sidelines with a hug from a volunteer and a Certificate of Accomplishment.

(One such gifting came from the Fox booth Sunday one pass after Anderson overthrew Larry Fitzgerald by 12 yards. Nice timing, fellas.)

Mostly, hugs have been handed out by opposing defensive linemen. After six sacks Sunday, Anderson spent his film session this week showing Ken Whisenhunt where on the doll the Minnesota Vikings touched him. (Hint: it took three hours to point them all out.)

Which leads us back to Wade Phillips. Why hold onto him as your field leader unless you hope for mild competency until you can score your prize for next season?

Which leads us back to the Arizona signal caller. Why hold onto him as your field leader unless you hope for mild competency until you can score your prize for next season?

Which leads us to Donovan McNabb. Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic did an excellent job of summing up the recent rumors surrounding McNabb's free agency possibilities after the season ends and pushed hard for the Cardinals to sign the 34-year-old for next season.

Which leads us back to the impending lockout. Do you bet that the only half-decent quarterback truly available for cash alone will choose to play out his final years near his home in Arizona over re-signing with the conditioning guru, Mike Shanahan?

Or does the gamble go back further? Did some in the the Cardinals organization think they had a puncher's chance at McNabb even before he went on the trading block last summer? Ditch the golden boy on first pout and clear the way to make Arizona the continuing home for aging stars?

Yes, McNabb has struggled somewhat this season. Yes, he has been known to miss a few games due to injury. But for a shortened 10-12 game schedule in a passing offense with bonafide excellent receivers and the chance to condition himself miles from his home? Does that sound like a great situation to sell to a 35-year-old McNabb?

Bob McManaman, I'm not sure you had to convince the Cardinals about the McNabb Plan; they've just been waiting for us slow-witted scribes to catch on.