There are plenty of ways to examine and analyze tonight’s trade that sent QB Donovan McNabb down the road to Washington from the Eagles’ point of view — but we knew this was coming from Andy Reid and Philly. They put themselves in this position when they drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007, and this move was — in reality — inevitable at some point. And, Reid now gets what he wanted with Kolb as the starter.
However, looking at it from a football standpoint, how can you not view this as a good move for Mike Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder in Washington? The ‘Skins get an immediate upgrade over Jason Campbell at the quarterback position for a discounted price. I’ve always thought McNabb carried first-round value, and no matter how controversial the debate that takes place when we talk about the former Eagles QB as a “franchise level” player, the guy can play football — and he produces.
A second-round pick in this year’s draft and either a third or a fourth next year? There isn’t a rookie prospect in the second round this year who can provide the immediate impact and production that McNabb will.
A cheap price to pay for Shanahan to get what he’s wanted since he took the job in Washington — a quarterback to run his system.
Shanahan’s system is built on movement from the quarterback position. A tough system to prepare for from a defensive player’s point of view because of the mis-direction, the boots, the play action and the number of times the quarterback is outside the pocket. It’s confusing, and it forces defenders to rely so heavily on their run/pass keys and their technique from their pre-snap reads to their first steps after the ball is snapped.
McNabb should not only fit this offense but also produce good numbers that will reflect on his ability to still win football games and aid in the development of a receiving corps in Washington that needs help.
Sure, we can all agree that the Redskins’ offense has holes — major holes in some areas. The backfield is now a collection of former Pro Bowl players who can’t see their names printed without questions about whether they can still produce, and an offensive line that’s far below average.
A work in progress, and as with every coaching change at this level, there is turnover and time to adjust in the locker room. But with this move, gone is the speculation about Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen or even Colt McCoy. Rookie players who can’t show us this season what McNabb can from a veteran perspective on the field.
Now it’s time to use that fourth overall pick to start rebuilding the offensive line with talent from a collection of top-level rookie prospects and turn this franchise back into a winner under Shanahan.
It’s a step, not a guarantee to challenge for the NFC East title this season. But it does start the process with a proven winner who still has years left as one of the more valuable players in the NFL at the quarterback position.
And a cheap price to pay to start winning again.
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