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

October 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

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.

  • Megan Shoup

    I understand your frustration, we all have them. But I think he's always been a little inconsistent so I'm thankful we've won some in spite of that. But I do think his intangibles and leadership have brought something to this team to help them win. Just like Shanahan and Bruce Allen have changed the culture.

    I think he will play better…he has a lot to play for! So I'm confident better things are to come from him…hopefully consistently better play!

    While I don't want them to sign him for 5 years, I think a 2-3 year contract would be perfect and we could look for an heir apparent to groom and give the time you always want for a rookie QB to be ready to step in.

  • Willypops

    I agree. News of the move to acquire McNabb put a damper on an otherwise enjoyable Easter dinner! The Redskins did give up a lot to get him , especially since he was only under contract for this year. I hope I'm wrong but I fear that he may be entering the downside of his career. Maybe Andy Reid saw it and that's why he had no qualms (perhaps it was a method to his madness) about trading McNabb to a division rival. Unless he gets back to playing at least up to his career average level of performance the second half of this season, I wouldn't make an effort to keep him at any where near the kind of money and length of contract that he will probably seek. If the Redskins do that, then I think they will have sacrificed the future long-term success of the team (again). Reid benched McNabb last year (maybe it was the previous year) for poor performance not unlike what we're seeing from him now. I've never been a big Grossman fan and I'm not ready to see him in there yet, but you have to wonder how long the Redskins can tolerate the kind of stuff we've seen from McNabb to date?

  • geoffnelowet

    I agree with most of what you're saying, and I can't stand when players refuse coaching or think they simply don't need it, and I really don't want to see McNabb given this unwarranted treatment, but I feel like McNabb deserves a pass to some extent for his play. I think he's in a really bad situation on offense. Pass protections has been marginal at best, and he doesn't have many options to throw to. This is also his first year with Shanahan. I have seen a number of overthrows and questionable decisions, though, on his part.

    I definitely think we'd be in about the same position with Campbell right now. McNabb isn't carrying us to victory by any stretch, and if we're STILL trading 2nd round picks for one-year rentals (ie Jason Taylor), we're simply not moving in the right direction as a franchise. If McNabb walks after this year, then this trade deserves an F.

  • Steve Shoup

    @geoffnelowet I don't mind McNabb getting a pass, but I just have a problem with the double standard. Obviously McNabb is frustrated after that play, but it is Kyle Shanahan's job to tell him what he did wrong. McNabb might not have had good protection on that play, but he needs to recognize that quicker and get the ball away so it doesn't end up 7 points for the Bears. If this was just a one time deal, i'd give McNabb more of a pass (or if he responded with a great game the rest of the way), but McNabb has made a number of questionable decisions this year and it has burned the Skins. One play that McNabb lucked out from becoming a scapegoat was the final play in regulation of the Green Bay game. Its a Hail Mary, so I couldn't care less if it gets intercepted, but McNabb threw that a good 20 yards ahead of his receivers (despite zero pressure). That set up a great return by the Packers and caused an injury to Trent Williams, in which they are lucky it wasn't more serious. If the ball gets picked off so what, but he didn't even give his receivers a chance to catch it, draw a penalty or most importantly tackle the defender.

    I agree the need to resign him, especially since we won't be likely picking at the top of the draft to get a Luck or Locker, but they can't afford a blank check. If McNabb wants to be paid like an elite quarterback he better play like one. Right now he is well below average, so he has quite a bit of room for improvement.