I think the Redskins have long-term questions about Donovan McNabb's work ethic, mechanics, footwork and ability to play well in the clutch. That's why coach Mike Shanahan has spent the past few days explaining and re-explaining why he pulled McNabb from the final minutes of Sunday's game against Detroit, with the outcome still very much in doubt.
"The cardiovascular endurance that it takes to run a two-minute, going all the way down with no timeouts, calling plays, it's just not easy," is one of the more interesting ways Shanahan has put it. "If I thought it was the best situation to do, then Donovan would have run the two-minute offense."
I didn't hear this while doing Sirius Radio this morning, but I read it on profootballtalk.com. It's a quote from Tim Hasselbeck, the former Eagles backup, who was on the Mike and Mike show on ESPN radio this morning. "One of the things that drove them crazy in Philadelphia was the lack of tempo at which [McNabb] practiced ... It was always something where you're leaving the quarterback meeting and it would be, 'Hey, listen, the head man wants a little more tempo today.' Nearly every single day. That's been the deal with Donovan McNabb. I know exactly what Mike Shanahan is talking about."
What do I see happening with McNabb going forward? I see maybe a one-year deal to play there in 2011 -- if McNabb would be willing (doubtful) and if the Redskins can't find a quarterback they like better.
The Redskins were among the teams that scouted the Washington-Stanford game Saturday in Seattle. I don't want to make too much of that, but with Andrew Luck and Jake Locker as first-round prospects, it's interesting, and
I hearken back to the pre-draft days this year. The Redskins were very interested in Sam Bradford, even after the trade for McNabb. Everyone thought Mike Shanahan was smoke-screening his interest before the Redskins took Trent Williams, the tackle from Oklahoma, but I think he had legitimate interest in drafting Bradford.
And today's news is that the Redskins have brought in JaMarcus Russell, among other free agents, for a workout during their bye week. I don't view this as anything other than a fact-finding mission by the Redskins. I doubt very seriously Russell has the traits Shanahan is looking for in a quarterback. That is, unless he's been scared straight and scared into being a student of the game, which he never was in three seasons in Oakland.
The bottom line in all of this: McNabb has two months to prove to Shanahan that he's their long-term quarterback. There's an awful lot of smoke here. McNabb's going to have to put out the fire with how he practices and how he plays.
I'm sure Randy Moss would be a good get for some team making a playoff push in the second half of the season, but I wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole.
As one NFL executive told me this morning: "This is Manny Ramirez being waived by the Dodgers.'' With one exception: That happened with one-sixth of the season remaining; this happened halfway through the season. Given that, I think a lot more teams still in contention could be interested in a quick fix for the price of $3.3 million for the rest of the season.
I'd stay away. There's something off-kilter about Moss. Something weird. He might engender love from his teammates, but overall, he just doesn't fit into a team well. What kind of guy pushing for a new contract, the last rich contract of his life, would be the kind of consistent distraction that Moss has been?
This season, instead of being a solid guy and working hard and doing everything he can to show he's still an impact player, he's been a consistent "me'' guy in a game that hates that. From Moss' self-centered rants at press conferences to his childish and needless boycott of the media (do you realize that, to satisfy the NFL's media "demands,'' all a player has to do is talk to the press twice a week for five minutes apiece?), the team that takes him is going to wonder if he's going to go off on them the way he went off on the Patriots and, evidently, the Vikes this year.
I'd guess about four teams would claim him. I think Washington, Seattle and Tennessee seem most likely. Maybe St. Louis too.
Now for your e-mail:
• TOO MUCH OFFENSE.
I think it was about even; I don't recall. But even if it were, I think 63 offensive players and 37 on defense is about what I would have predicted because of the traditional obsession with the guys who handle the ball with those who don't. It's the kind of inequity I've been conscious of in our Hall of Fame voting the past few years.
• FAIR ENOUGH.
Very fair point. I guess what it comes down to is this: I trust Baltimore to be able to put up points more than I trust Kansas City. I would worry about Matt Cassel in a big spot later this season much more than I'd worry about Joe Flacco. The way I rank the teams is based solely on how I think each one would do against the team directly above it on a neutral field. That changes every week, and this week I thought the Ravens deserved to be much higher than the Chiefs.
• NO CONNECTION.
I think to draw the connection between those two events would be wrong. Sanchez loves Holmes. And adding a better receiver to the mix is certainly a positive. I think it more has to do with -- especially on Sunday against Green Bay -- his receivers not dropping the ball and Sanchez being more accurate. In the long run, I see the Jets keeping Holmes, not Braylon Edwards, and part of the reason is because he has more upside.
• BOTH ARE BRILLIANT.
My point about Walsh and Manning was not to denigrate Walsh in any way, but simply to say that when Manning is given extra time to prepare for an opponent, I wouldn't trust anyone -- coach or player -- more than Manning to come up with solutions. Walsh was a brilliant strategist and offensive architect -- putting together a playbook, teaching his offense, and getting the right players for his scheme in place. I can't imagine anyone in an offensive meeting room better in my lifetime than Walsh. But I also can't imagine anyone better than Manning in taking disparate pieces of lesser offensive talent and not missing a beat with them during a game. Jacob Tamme had six catches in his career coming into this year and last night against Houston, in the Colts' first game without Dallas Clark, Tamme had six catches and was an integral part of a division victory the Colts had to have.
• THE APOCALYPSE IS NEXT.
Well, thank you. That's the first journalistic praise I've had about Favre in 15 years.