Tuesday, November 16, 2010

McNabb's last seven games

Last night's embarrassing blowout loss to the Eagles -- with a final score of 59-28 -- showcased this current Redskins team's weaknesses. And yes, there are plenty of them. Here are a few: The defense gives up way too many yards and can't get a consistent pass rush; overall team speed is lacking; the offense doesn't have many playmakers; the offensive line is rather awful; and the Redskins have not gotten consistent quarterback play from Donovan McNabb. None of this should be surprising at this point.

Well, let's go back to that point about McNabb: that he hasn't been consistent. Actually, that's not quite true. With all of the deficiencies of this team contributing, McNabb has been consistently mediocre. That might seem a little unfair after last night's terrible game; after all, of course it's not McNabb's fault that the defense allowed that many points and a whopping 592 total yards. McNabb doesn't deserve all of the blame -- far from it. But he does deserve his fair share, especially since he's going to be in Washington for a few more years after signing an extension.

Last night, McNabb completed 17 of 31 passes for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. That was good enough for a 69.4 quarterback rating. One of those interceptions was returned for a touchdown. McNabb was sacked twice and hit six times, and he was under consistent pressure from the beginning of the game. Still, the Redskins failed to convert one third down the entire game (0-10). That just can't happen.

Let's try to forget about last night's game for a moment. McNabb's last solid performance probably came against Houston, when he threw for 426 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. He didn't turn the ball over and had a 119.0 QB rating. Since that game (all the way back in Week 2), McNabb hasn't posted a QB rating over 80, and his only multi-touchdown game came last night. Take a look at the numbers:


And then yesterday's game against the Eagles. So, yeah, not very good. Here are some other numbers:
  • His quarterback rating of 75.2 ranks 29th in the NFL.
  • His 57.1 completion percentage also ranks 29th, just ahead of Jason Campbell (56.7).
  • McNabb is actually ranked ninth in passing yards (2,266), one yard ahead of Matt Ryan. But McNabb also only has nine touchdown passes (tied for 24th) while also throwing 11 interceptions (tied for fourth most).
Whether it's the current offensive scheme, the lack of playmakers, or just not being familiar in a Redskins uniform yet, McNabb has not played well in Washington. He also turns 34 on November 25. It's nice that the Redskins have some quarterback stability (not sure if that's the right word) with McNabb after signing him to an extension. The deal likely ensures that he'll be in Washington for the next three or four years, and in that time, maybe the Skins can draft and develop a young quarterback to be ready by the time McNabb departs. Also, with the quarterback position filled, the Redskins can finally focus on key areas in the next few NFL drafts, like offensive and defensive line, wide receiver, running back, and obviously other positions. Maybe that finally means they'll stop trading away draft picks for players that don't produce. If it takes giving McNabb that extension for that to happen, maybe it's worth it.

Then again, the Redskins have just committed a lot of money to an aging quarterback who hasn't shown, except for one game against a terrible defense, that he can still produce at a high level. I don't think McNabb is done, and obviously the Redskins don't either. But they painted themselves into a corner when they traded for McNabb, and the only thing that would have looked worse than signing him to an extension would have been to let him walk.

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