The Redskins season -- so far -- has to be considered a moderate success. At 3-3, they've done a pretty good job of weathering the storm of a difficult early season schedule, and they've really only lost one game, to the Rams, that looked bad at the time. But with the Rams playing better, that doesn't even look too awful now, and the Skins have also beaten Dallas (doesn't look that impressive now), Philadelphia (solid win), and Green Bay (also solid). The two three-point losses to the Texans and Colts were tough to stomach, but they were certainly in both games the whole time and barring a couple of missed opportunities, could actually have won those games. The Colts and Texans are also both 4-2, so it's not like they're slouches either.
The next two games, both on the road, are crucial. First, the Redskins head to Chicago in Week 7 to play the Bears, and then they travel to Detroit to face the Lions in Week 8. If the Redskins win both of those games, they'll be 5-3 heading into their bye week, which is right before another difficult part of their schedule. Here's who they face in weeks 10-13: Philadelphia, at Tennessee, Minnesota, and at New York (Giants). The Redskins will likely need to finish at least 2-2 in those games, meaning they need to win these next two games before their bye.
The Redskins have been better than last season, but they obviously still have things to work on. The defense gives up way too many yards, the offense needs to score more points, the offensive line could certainly block a little better, and the defensive backs could do a better job of catching would-be interceptions when they're thrown right to them, etc.
But here's something else the Redskins will need if they're somehow going to finish above .500: better quarterback play from Donovan McNabb. I know what you're thinking: Wait, I feel much more comfortable with McNabb at quarterback compared with Jason Campbell and all the other QBs the Redskins have had over the last several seasons. And yes, for the most part, I feel the same way. McNabb has the intangibles factor and the better ability to lead the Redskins on a game-winning drive, but that doesn't mean he's played all that well so far this season.
Let's take a look at McNabb's stats through six games this season versus Campbell's first six games last season:
McNabb: 78.8 QB rating, 58.1 completion percentage, 1,561 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT, 0 fumbles lost
Campbell: 82.9 QB rating, 65.6 completion percentage, 1,197 yards, 6 TD, 6 INT, 2 fumbles lost
Sure, Campbell turned the ball over three more times, which definitely is something quarterbacks want to avoid, but he also put together better overall numbers while playing with essentially the same weapons in the passing game and a worse offensive line. And yes, I do realize that this example is a small sample size and just a tiny slice of the whole pie to examine. (By the way, McNabb currently ranks 24th in the NFL in QB rating and 26th in completion percentage.)
I am in no way trying to say that I'd rather have Campbell as the quarterback of the Redskins than McNabb. McNabb simply brings things to the table that Campbell never will: better pocket presence, a quicker release, the ability to create plays, and being better at throwing deep passes. Simply put, McNabb's career numbers dwarf Campbell's, and McNabb is unquestionably the better quarterback -- not exactly a stunning statement. Still, the Redskins need McNabb to play much better than he has, meaning that he needs to do a better job of hitting open receivers and completing a higher percentage of his passes. Yes, he's in his first year in this offense, so he gets the benefit of the doubt in that regard. That may also mean that he'll progress in this offense as the season goes along. But even though I like that McNabb throws a great deep ball, there's nothing wrong with checking down a little more and moving the chains instead of going for the home run.
Especially when some of those home-run balls are going in the direction of Joey Galloway.