Taking a look at the Redskins position by position as training camp gets set to begin Thursday.
The skinny: Donovan McNabb takes over for Jason Campbell, which almost any NFL scout or GM would say is an upgrade. It was telling that when the Redskins acquired McNabb, teammates were giddy and practically doing cartwheels. Those I talked to had to be reminded of what this meant for Campbell at which point they called it bittersweet. But the point was this: they had to be asked about Campbell before they even spoke about what it meant for him. As many did, they liked Campbell but lacked a true confidence in him. The opposite is true with McNabb. He won them over soon after the trade.
Cause for optimism: McNabb is a six-time Pro Bowler being coached by a two-time Super Bowl winner in Mike Shanahan. The latter’s system should fit well with what McNabb does, get out of the pocket and make plays on the run. But he looks pass first, second and third. The bootlegs and rollouts should work well.
Cause for concern: McNabb’s health. In the past six seasons, he’s played in all 16 games only once (in four of those seasons he’s missed at least two games). That means Rex Grossman will have to win a couple games if the Redskins want to make the playoffs. Yes, Grossman started on a team that went to the Super Bowl. But that was in spite of him and not because of him. Grossman does know the system, but whenever he QB’d vs. a rush in the spring, interceptions or knockdowns seemed to follow. In seven-on-seven situations he was accurate and fine. But the rush was an issue.
The verdict: Better. Hard to say otherwise considering the trade-up they made at the starting position. Not to mention having a coach like Shanahan, who is quarterback-friendly and does a good job at using a quarterback to his strengths. It matters. … Is Grossman better than Todd Collins? Yes, in the sense that he knows the system. But neither is, or would be, a great option this season for various reasons.