Then, when the TV cameras caught McNabb giving offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg the "cut" sign early in the second quarter of Thursday's preseason game against Jacksonville after he and Reid used the Wildcat six times on the Eagles' first four offensive series, well, the rush to judgment picked up even more speed.
But as McNabb tried his best to explain yesterday, he is all for the Eagles using the Wildcat. Thinks it will be a very effective weapon. He just had a problem with the excessive use of it early on against the Jaguars, before the offense had a chance to get into a rhythm.
"I always believe that before you can come up with gimmicks or come up with something else, you've got to get your base offense going," McNabb said. "I think in Game 3 of the preseason, that's something that teams take very seriously because that's really the last time that the [first team] get an opportunity to kick off the rust and get ready for the regular season.
"There were a lot of instances where it seemed like we were forcing a lot of different things just to say that we ran it, instead of just running our offense and running how things may go as far as during the year."
The Eagles went three-and-out on three of their first four possessions. On the other one, they drove 78 yards on 13 plays, including a 13-yard pass from Vick to wide receiver Hank Baskett out of the Wildcat to set up a David Akers field goal. Vick's last appearance of the night came with 12 minutes, 36 seconds left in the second quarter when he completed a 2-yard pass to running back LeSean McCoy on a second-and-15 play from the Philadelphia 20-yard line.
"You've got to understand, [Vick] isn't going to be coming in every second down [in the regular season]," McNabb said. "So, we were just running plays to see how it would work or to see how the defense would react to it."
With most of the starters, including McNabb, not expected to play in Thursday's final preseason game against the Jets, last week's game presented the only preseason opportunity for the Eagles to work in the Wildcat formation with the No. 1 offense. Instead of using it a half-dozen times over the course of a game, which is likely to be the case in the regular season, they used it a half-dozen times in the first 17 minutes. No surprise that it disrupted the rhythm of the offense.
That said, McNabb thinks the Wildcat has great potential. Particularly with Vick running it.
"As I said before, it's definitely going to help us out in so many ways," he said. "It's definitely going to take pressure off of [Brian] Westbrook. It's going to take pressure off of all the guys because now the defensive coordinator won't be able to put eight in the box because we can either throw out of it or run out of it.
"You're talking about an [Eagles] offense that really scored a lot of points and did a lot of things last year, and now we're adding another dimension to it. A lot of good things could happen in this."
While McNabb won't play Thursday night against the Jets, Vick will. Reid said on his weekly radio show yesterday that Kevin Kolb would start at quarterback and Vick would be used in the first half out of the Wildcat and in the second half behind center.
When he will be able to play in the regular season still isn't known. The suspension imposed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is for a maximum of five games, but could be less than that. Goodell has yet to announce exactly how long it would be.
Many people have speculated that McNabb is not going to enjoy being taken out of the game or moving to wide receiver when Vick comes in to run the Wildcat. In last week's game, he lined up at wide receiver for three of the Wildcat plays and was taken out of the game for the other three.
McNabb reiterated yesterday that moving somewhere else in the formation when Vick comes in, or even leaving the field altogether, would not be a difficult transition for him.
"It's not challenging at all," McNabb said. "Other quarterbacks have done it, and there's really no problem with it. Because if you look at the whole situation, it's another opportunity for us to present pressure on the defense.
"Like I said, I may line up at receiver, tight end or running back. You never know where I may line up. But if I come out for a play, I'll be right back in the next play. I'm all for trying to confuse the defense or the defensive coordinator.
"But it's also important for the offense to be able to execute the plays to continue the drive on, continue to score, continue to put pressure on the defensive coordinator, so that they have to prepare for a so-called Wildcat or, when [Vick] comes out, they have to prepare for when we're out there as well."