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Donovan McNabb, Revisited

Posted by Brian Tinsman on July 29, 2011 – 7:27 pm

I guess the good news for football fans is that Brett Favre won’t be returning to Minnesota for another year (sorry ESPN).

For the first time tonight, the organization confirmed and announced what many of you already knew: that Donovan McNabb is headed out of town.  It has been a hot topic to sit on, and one that we can finally provide some information about.

At tonight’s press conference with head coach Mike Shanahan, he discussed the process that it took to deal McNabb after only one season.

“I thought he did fit within our system and did the right things that he could be a top notch player for us,” he said.  “At the end of the day, it just didn’t work out quite the way we wanted it to.  We would have had  to make a commitment of three or four years and I was not wanting to do that with the year that I spent.”

Essentially this confirms what pundits had predicted all along: McNabb didn’t fit the system and the money that he was going to be receiving made it a deal breaker.  Shanahan then went on to explain how much of a good guy he thought Donovan was.

“Doesn’t mean that Donovan can’t still play at a very high level,” he said.  “I think the world of him. He really handled himself in a class manner. In the best interest of this organization in evaluating everything I thought it was better to go on.”

That’s pretty high praise for a guy that the organization traded for a pair of sixth round picks.  This calls for a trip down memory lane to establish where it all went wrong.

Background- Welcome to town:

Donovan McNabb’s tenure with the Washington Redskins was a brief one, but it covered the full emotional spectrum.  He was brought here to be a savior and provide the team with an opportunity to win now.  Throw in the fact that he was the former franchise quarterback of a division rival, it was a dream scenario in the district.

Nine months later, those dreams had turned to nightmares, as the team finished at 6-10 and McNabb was benched for the last three games.

On the season, McNabb had a 58.3 percent completion rating for 3,377 yards and 14 touchdowns with 15 interceptions in 13 games.

Maybe the the pieces around him weren’t up to snuff.  The running game was sputtered and struggled to stay healthy, forcing the offense to become one-dimensional.  The receiver corps also struggled with injury and and a bad combination of youth and age.  The offensive line took time to develop in the zone-blocking scheme and McNabb had no time to look downfield.

At the end of the day, for many reasons, it simply didn’t work on the field.  Complicating matters off the field, was the fact that McNabb was due a large contract as part of his extension, an albatross under the new salary cap.

Why the trade makes sense:

Just like the Jarmon-Gaffney trade earlier this week, this trade is a net-positive for the team.  You can’t undo the decisions to bring him to Washington, so you take lemons and trade them for next year’s oranges.  Something like that.

The organization wants to try other options at quarterback, and got value back for a player that didn’t fit the system.  Even if it’s not a replacement of the price that they invested in getting him (secoond and fourth round picks), McNabb brought back picks to a head coach and general manager that do very well in the late rounds of the draft.

Another factor to consider is the cap flexibility that comes from shedding a large contract.  McNabb was not a player that factored into the team’s plans, but was due to earn a large chunk of the $120 million cap.  By shedding him, it allows the team to replace him with a splashy addition or shore up multiple positions on the roster.  This is a savvy move for an organization that needs to address multiple areas.

Why this trade might stink:

While the Redskins were able to get him out the division, he is still in the conference and goes to a Vikings team that is looking for the final piece at quarterback.  The Vikings could be a contender in the NFC, depending on the targets they sign for him to feed the ball to.  They have a good running game to take the pressure off him, and even Shanahan admitted that there’s a chance that he could have a very good year.

After bringing him to town on Easter Sunday, 2010, McNabb will return to DC with the Vikings on Christmas Eve, 2011.  McNabb had a good showing against his former team in Philadelphia last season, and will be motivated when he comes back to play the Redskins.

The Fallout:

In Washington, Mike Shanahan has a reputation for building through the draft and finding diamonds in the rough in the later rounds.  Those two picks will be used to build the next great Redskins team more than McNabb would have.

In Minnesota, there’s no guarantee that McNabb will fare any better than he did in Washington.  By the time the Redskins face the Vikings in Week 16, there’s a chance that he’s backing up rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.

This trade shouldn’t make anyone very excited, but the Redskins should feel relieved.  It’s bittersweet, but it brings closure to a huge distraction here in Washington.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Donovan McNabb, Revisited”

  1. By RussianBreadMaker on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    Why are you revisiting McNabb? He’s gone.

  2. By Patrick on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    Not to nit-pick. But I think you mean Christian Ponder? Jake Locker is a Titan. There’s so much going on right now it’s easy to get confused.

  3. By Brian Tinsman on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    You, sir, are 1000% correct 🙂 thanks for the heads up

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