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McNabb to the Redskins: In Which We Look For the Silver Lining

There are plenty of Redskins fans who will blindly accept the trade for Donovan McNabb as a great one. After all, they’ve heard of McNabb, know he’s a good quarterback and that Jason Campbell sucks. They’ll tell you things like “McNabb’s a winner!” and “Campbell had his chance!” These fans are idiots.

But there’s this other group of fans over here, the informed folks who will look beyond the shiny thing the team has acquired and see that the Redskins are essentially doing what they’ve always done under Snyder: Mortgaging the future to win now. There’s no other way to spin it when you consider they just got five years older (and marginally better) at QB and gave up two critical draft picks over the next two years. This team may be able to improve slightly if they draft the right players with the limited picks they have left (file under: wishful thinking), but they’ll essentially need to win with the roster they have in place now.

But wait, I was supposed to be finding the silver lining in this trade, yes? OK, let’s THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS. A few to consider:

McNabb may be marginally better than JC, but he is better. Football Outsiders ranked Donovan as the 16th most efficient QB last season; Campbell was 20th. McNabb was superior to Campbell in really any stat you wanna look at, except completion percentage. But again, he was only slightly better than JC in all areas. Of course, this doesn’t take into account “intangibles,” such as yelling effectively at teammates and “leadership in the huddle.” People have criticized Campbell in these areas, yet praise Donovan. I’ve never been in an NFL huddle or locker room with either gentleman, so I can’t comment. Bottom line though: Right now, McNabb is a better quarterback than Campbell.

If the aforementioned is true, then the Skins have a better chance of winning now. We’ve been talking about building for the future for a decade, but at some point, you have to do what you can to put a team in place that can win now. McNabb under center gives the team a better chance of making the playoffs this season, especially if the team can draft him some o-line help with their precious few picks.

Jason Campbell is a free bird. Anyone who’s read this site for any amount of time knows that the Brothers Mottram love them some JC. Whether you’re with us on that or not, there’s no denying that the man never got a fair shake in DC. Between the constant rotating of coaches, systems, and shitty offensive lines, he didn’t have a chance to be successful. Despite that, he proved that he can be an above-average QB, and probably a top tier one if given the right opportunity. This trade will hopefully allow him to move on to another team and get that shot. We’ll be rooting for him.

Shanahan & Allen have a plan. I heard the news halfway through my four-hour drive from Wilmington to Charlotte Sunday night. I spent the remaining two hours trying to figure out how this all makes sense. The one certainty I can draw from it is this: Shanahan and Allen were convinced, for whatever reason, that Campbell could not be the quarterback of this team. So they had no choice but to trade for someone who could. Right or wrong, at least they made a plan and followed through instead of being hamstrung by a QB in which they held no confidence.

Jimmy Clausen won’t be a Redskin. Hopefully. This deal almost assures us that the Skins won’t draft at QB at No. 4, meaning I won’t require four Xanax and half a bottle of Jack on draft night. Even though I’m still skeptical about this trade, it’s far better than the team taking Jimmy Clausen in the first round. Faaaar better.

Former Managing Editor at UPROXX; former Senior Editor at @SBNation; former ska-zine editor, fan of bad sports teams and good beer.



  1. DK

    April 5, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    Understand the concerns…but I think what you have to consider is that Shanahan needs a “proven” vet at signal caller to be comfortable. I’m sure Shanny and the Skins FO will attempt to sign McNabb to a contract which will ensure he’ll stay at QB for the next 4 or 5 years. And of course, during this next 4 or 5 years, a QB will be drafted to replace McNabb as the starter (all while being groomed under McNabb for the 2 or so years). Shanny isn’t getting younger, you know he’ll be here for a 5 or so year window or so. McNabb gives the team the best chance to compete for a Super Bowl in this timeframe. AND it’ll stick it to the Eagles and rest of the division considering #5 has a chip on his shoulder the size of Albert’s 3rd helping of Easter ham.

  2. Puttz

    April 5, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Skins still might draft Clausen. McNabb only has a few years left. At some point they will need to get a long term fanchise QB. While I hope this means they will draft Okung or trade back for picks, THERE IS NO GUARANTY THAT WE DON’T TAKE A QB AT 4!

    Offseason Champs, Baby!!! FML!!!!

  3. David Arnott

    April 5, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    I don’t understand 3 things: First, the Iggles are dumb for trading away their franchise QB. They don’t grow on trees, and they’ve made themselves significantly worse. Second, if the Skins didn’t want JC, that’s fine, even though I agree that he hasn’t gotten a fair shake and will get a chance elsewhere, and I do think you’re underselling Donovan’s abilities in this post, but the Skins aren’t one major piece away from contention. Why are they trading multiple draft picks for one guy? Even if they get peak performer Donovan, he’s signed for this year and that’s it. Then what? They’d better be planning to extend him through the rest of his useful seasons, because otherwise, they would have been better off just keeping Campbell this year and letting the new QB take over next year. Finally, I don’t understand the anti-Clausen sentiment. Dude has been the best QB his age since he was in middle school. He played a pro-style offense in college and was stellar on a mediocre team. He has no significant injury issues. I’m telling you now: Clausen is the best QB prospect in this draft, hands down. Teams are going to regret passing on him.

  4. Chris Mottram

    April 5, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Fine points, Arnott. To specifically address the anti-Clausen stuff, it’s more about wanting the Skins to address much more glaring needs with their picks than it is about thinking Clausen won’t be a good QB. I called out Clausen here ’cause Bradford is going No. 1. But really, I’m just happy they (hopefully) won’t take any QB at No. 4.

  5. WhatsInaName

    April 5, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    I think another point in favor of this trade is McNabb’s familiarity with NFC East defenses. Yeah, nothing’s static and nobody’s gonna play the exact same combination of scheme and personnel as they did last year, but I think he’ll be able to give a little extra insight to Shanny & Shanny. Another set of eyes, if you will. ;)

  6. 44ever

    April 5, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    I’m NOT one of the “blindly” accepting, but I do like this trade. (Didn’t at first, but there is much to like.) And I think it needs to be taken into context of the entire off-season plan.

    Shanah-allen has quietly assembled a better offensive line (not great but improved) that should get much better after the #4 pick. They’ve lit a fire under the RBs which has been Club Med for the last several years. Those guys will gut you for the ball now. They’ve refocused the D on TURNOVERS (why did this take that long?!) and now have the best QB in the division (and he will be 3 years from now), an undeniable leader and a shot at the playoffs from here on out, not just one year.

    When on, he can compete with the best in the league. Remember MNF this year? He toyed with our Top-5 defense, absolutely toyed with it. (I was THERE, man. It sucked!)

    Shanah-allen has built a foundation of hard work where there wasn’t one and now has a competitive team where there wasn’t one. And we haven’t even had 1 mini-camp yet. I now trust their moves because there IS a plan (and they aren’t done yet.) I expect another YOUNGER QB to be here in 2 years. (Someone Kyle wants as his QB down the road.)

    Everyone knows there’s no guarantee on high draft picks (Shuler, Howard, Westbrook, Rodgers, Wilson, etc.), there’s no way to land a QB with this ability at pick 37 or certainly even later next year.

    I’ll still hold my full enthusiasm until I see it on the field when it matters. But when DMc goes off for 4 TDs in a 30-something rout in the first month, I think we all will see the worth in taking this risk. If not, our backup went to a Super Bowl, right? ;)

  7. DocJ

    April 5, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Clausen Sucks. Theres some anti-clausen sentiment.

  8. ThisGuy

    April 5, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    The best thing about this trade is it will totally vindicate JC17. When McNabb is forcing wobblers into double coverage as the pocket collapses, is pile driven into the ground at step 2 of his 5 step drop, starts bitching about broken ribs, takes passive aggressive shots at his teammates through the media, ends up missing 6 games, ends up with shittier stats than JC17’s last year, and then the ‘Skins are on the hook for McNabb’s inevitable $75 million extention, and meanwhile JC17 is doing better on a team that actually wants and supports him, it will be crystal clear. It’s clear to me now, today, that this is exactly what is going to happen.

    Also if this trade tells us anything about Clausen, it’s that we’re MORE likely to draft him, because a) it shows that Shannahan and Allen are QB horny, b) reckless with draft picks, and c) erroneously seem to think we have no needs that could be filled by high draft picks.

    In short, I have lost all faith in Shannahan and Allen, and am thiiis close to screaming at the top of my lungs, right now.

  9. Randy_Hawkins

    April 5, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    I agree with ThisGuy. We’re screwed for years to come.

  10. Jamie Mottram

    April 5, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    Chris should post here more often.

  11. trent

    April 7, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    I am skeptical, and will remain skeptical, no matter what, until the actually play a game. I trust Shanahan/Allen to at least come up with something resembling an O-line, unlike what we had last year. Beyond that, I have no faith. I’ve been burned so many times in recent years that I just don’t get my hopes up or down.


  12. GrtWitHntr

    July 30, 2010 at 4:28 AM

    ThisGuy, I Love it! McNabb wasn’t even a winner when he had a very above avg. line in Philly (John Runyan, William Thomas, Shawn Andrews, etc.) As a Philly fan I am absolutely thrilled to see McNabb in a Redskins uniform. The only thing better would have been him in a Cowboys uniform but alas, even Jerry Jones isn’t as much of an idiot as Dan Snyder!

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