McNabb-Shanahan combo a winning ticket in Washington

Donovan McNabb made his first career NFL start against the Washington Redskins as a rookie. His next start will be for that very team, nearly 11 years later.

McNabb also was just named to his sixth Pro Bowl since the Eagles drafted him in 1999. That year also marked the last time the Redskins had an all-star passer: Brad Johnson.

Mike Shanahan has a proven vet at quarterback to trigger his offense.
Mike Shanahan has a proven vet at quarterback to trigger his offense.

The Raiders had hoped to grab McNabb and change the face of their franchise. Instead, it’s Washington who got the upgrade from Jason Campbell to return to the "QB haves" in the ultra-competitive NFC East.

"He brings instant credibility to a locker room," said form Raiders QB Rich Gannon, now a CBS analyst. "He comes with leadership, toughness and experience."

McNabb will be instrumental as a leader for coach Mike Shanahan’s new offense in Washington. The Redskins have some promising young receivers—Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas, Fred Davis—who need grooming. Shanahan’s priority in the draft will be rebuilding the line, such as finding a franchise left tackle.

The age on that side of the ball is at the wrong position, as Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker now crowd the backfield.
 
The least of the challenges will be McNabb grasping the scheme. Shanahan, like Eagles coach Andy Reid, adheres to the West Coast principles of a rhythmic, quick-release passing game, and McNabb’s combination of arm strength and mobility fit the mold.

"I’m eager to work with coach Shanahan," McNabb said in a statement Sunday night. "He’s been a very successful coach with a couple of Super Bowl victories on his resume."

There will be plenty of familiarity for McNabb, not just in how the offense will be run, but also from continuing to play in the high-pressure NFC East. He already is used to dueling with Eli Manning and Tony Romo twice a season and has had a decade to examine the intricacies of the Eagles’ attacking defense.

The Redskins finished 26th in scoring offense last season. They needed an immediate spark, and in the Daniel Snyder era of splashy acquisitions, getting a big-name vet such as McNabb is the norm. Washington is in a win-now situation, thanks to a demanding fan base and even more demanding division where the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys all have had great success in the past half-decade.

After whiffing on most of their previous big moves, which arguably includes breaking the bank to sign defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last offseason, the Redskins are on to something with the McNabb-Shanahan combination.

"Donovan knows how to win football games," said former Eagles quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski "The Redskins’ confidence level has to be going through the roof right now."

If the goal is a quick turnaround in the modern NFL, nothing beats bringing in a smart offensive coach and an established Pro Bowl quarterback. It seemed to work well in New Orleans. 

This story appears in the April 5 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only sports digital daily, sign up today.

Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

Donovan McNabb made his first career NFL start against the Washington Redskins as a rookie. His next start will be for that very team, nearly 11 years later.

McNabb also was just named to his sixth Pro Bowl since the Eagles drafted him in 1999. That year also marked the last time the Redskins had an all-star passer: Brad Johnson.

Mike Shanahan has a proven vet at quarterback to trigger his offense.
Mike Shanahan has a proven vet at quarterback to trigger his offense.

The Raiders had hoped to grab McNabb and change the face of their franchise. Instead, it’s Washington who got the upgrade from Jason Campbell to return to the "QB haves" in the ultra-competitive NFC East.

"He brings instant credibility to a locker room," said form Raiders QB Rich Gannon, now a CBS analyst. "He comes with leadership, toughness and experience."

McNabb will be instrumental as a leader for coach Mike Shanahan’s new offense in Washington. The Redskins have some promising young receivers—Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas, Fred Davis—who need grooming. Shanahan’s priority in the draft will be rebuilding the line, such as finding a franchise left tackle.

The age on that side of the ball is at the wrong position, as Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker now crowd the backfield.
 
The least of the challenges will be McNabb grasping the scheme. Shanahan, like Eagles coach Andy Reid, adheres to the West Coast principles of a rhythmic, quick-release passing game, and McNabb’s combination of arm strength and mobility fit the mold.

"I’m eager to work with coach Shanahan," McNabb said in a statement Sunday night. "He’s been a very successful coach with a couple of Super Bowl victories on his resume."

There will be plenty of familiarity for McNabb, not just in how the offense will be run, but also from continuing to play in the high-pressure NFC East. He already is used to dueling with Eli Manning and Tony Romo twice a season and has had a decade to examine the intricacies of the Eagles’ attacking defense.

The Redskins finished 26th in scoring offense last season. They needed an immediate spark, and in the Daniel Snyder era of splashy acquisitions, getting a big-name vet such as McNabb is the norm. Washington is in a win-now situation, thanks to a demanding fan base and even more demanding division where the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys all have had great success in the past half-decade.

After whiffing on most of their previous big moves, which arguably includes breaking the bank to sign defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last offseason, the Redskins are on to something with the McNabb-Shanahan combination.

"Donovan knows how to win football games," said former Eagles quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski "The Redskins’ confidence level has to be going through the roof right now."

If the goal is a quick turnaround in the modern NFL, nothing beats bringing in a smart offensive coach and an established Pro Bowl quarterback. It seemed to work well in New Orleans. 

This story appears in the April 5 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only sports digital daily, sign up today.

Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*