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Redskins Need to Keep McNabb as the Starter, but Hold Him Accountable

Steve Shoup

Until reading the Washington Post this morning, I was probably going to let Donovan’s McNabb’s performance slide, as despite his best efforts the Redskins won. Now the Post article has given me some pause, and I wanted to address where I stand on the Redskins quarterback situation.

If you have followed my writing in the past, you know that I was against acquiring McNabb from the beginning. I believed that the cost was too high in terms of draft picks for a one-year fix at Quarterback for a 4-12 team. Even if they resign him, that has no value in what the Redskins gave up to acquire him. Also, it has been made pretty clear that McNabb wants Brady-Manning money, which I don’t think he comes close to deserving. While McNabb represented an upgrade, it was a short term fix, and would take a  good (not great, and certainly not elite (i.e. Franchise) quarterback. Not to mention to take him out of the one system he has run his entire career, and surround him with inferior weapons, and a weaker offensive line. This was not a recipe for success, despite the Redskins 4-3 record.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic with a winning record, but I remember starting out 6-2 two years ago and collapsing in the 2nd half. I also know this that McNabb really can’t take a lot of credit for this 4-3 record. In two of those wins (Dallas and Chicago) it was the defense that won the game, and in the Chicago game McNabb almost gave the game away. As for the other wins, McNabb was a mixed bag. He started out sensational against the Eagles, but had an awful 2nd half that almost allowed Philly to come back and win. Against the Packers McNabb was horrible in the 1st half, but after a couple of key injuries he got it together in the late 2nd half/overtime. As for the losses, you can easily put the Rams game at his feet since he could never sustain a drive against the Rams defense, against the Colts McNabb put up a ton of yards, put couldn’t get it in the endzone. McNabb missed some wide open receivers deep, had a couple of costly INT’s, took some bad sacks, and worst of all had horrible clock management late in the game. McNabb played a lot better in the Houston loss, though a couple of those negatives showed up when the game counted. In fact the Redskins have seen McNabb take quite a few needless sacks (although he has escaped a few as well), overthrow deep receivers, and have trouble managing the clock in late game situations.

Now that all being said, I’d easily go with McNabb over Rex Grossman, who at this point is no better than a solid back up in this league. Grossman might know the system better, but McNabb is the more dynamic player. On top of that the team invested so much into McNabb that his upside outweighs his mistakes right now. But I will say this, if the Redskins had a young quarterback waiting in the wings (i.e. a Colt McCoy, Jimmy Clausen) I’d be more inclined to go with the future, instead of trying to make excuses for McNabb.

I also think the Redskins might be getting to the point where they consider letting McNabb walk after this year. That would be a tough pill to swallow considering what they gave up to get him, and since they don’t have any replacement already on their roster, but they can’t be considering giving him a raise at this point. I don’t care what the Redskins record is at the end of the year, all that matters is what McNabb’s numbers warrant (Remember Matt Cassel). As of Now McNabb’s numbers don’t warrant half of the $12 million+ he is making this year, and aren’t in the same galaxy for what he wants to be paid next year (he is probably looking between $15-17 million a year over 4-6 years).

Washington can’t make that financial commitment if they want to be competitive going forward (it’s not as though they have a lot of young cheap talent, since they keep giving up draft picks). A week ago I would have been content doing between $11-13 million a year up to 3 years, but now I’m beginning to think that is too high. Unless he drastically picks up his game I don’t know how the Redskins can think to offer more than $8-10 million a year.

One final note on accountability with the Redskins and the fans/media love for McNabb, is that they need to start treating him like an equal and not like he is somehow above the rest of the team. Everyone got on Clinton Portis in the past for having preferential treatment, but seems to have no problem with McNabb getting the royal treatment. I also don’t get how there really isn’t any news story about McNabb blowing off his offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan, after he threw a horrible pick six, yet Albert Haynesworth was BLASTED for standing away from an apparent defensive meeting. The Haynesworth story turned out to be completely false (though it doesn’t seem like many Skins fans know that, as they still use it against him) as it was a meeting of linebackers and defensive backs, and as of yet the Redskins haven’t tried to play Haynesworth that far out of position. Yet it is clear as day, that McNabb didn’t want to be ‘coached’ after his bad decision (that nearly cost them the game), and there was barely any comments about it in the broadcast or in the news reports. Why is Haynesworth attacked for doing nothing, and McNabb is protected even when he is disrespectful? And take Haynesworth out of the picture, is there another player that could talk back to the coach and blow him off, and not have any repercussions? When McNabb starts playing like Manning or Brees he can get a pass, but until then he needs all the coaching he can get.

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