Sunday, November 28, 2010

McNabb Must Go; Defensive Schemes Must Change

If it wasn’t clear before that Andy Reid knew exactly what he was doing when he traded Donovan McNabb to a division rival, it should be perfectly clear now. If it wasn’t clear that the 3-4 defensive scheme does not fit the Redskins personnel before, it should be perfectly clear now.

Even with a 3-4 defense, if the Redskins had an average quarterback who made good decisions they would be 7-4 at worst (Swap losses to the Vikings and Lions for wins). If they had an above average QB who made good decisions, they would be 9-2 now at worst (swap additional losses to the Texans and Colts for wins).

How many times will we have to see McNabb under- and over-throw wide open receivers who inexplicably have gotten five yards behind the defense before the coaching staff realizes he is not the answer? Today the difference between winning and losing was the underthrow of a wide-open, seven-yards-behind-the-defense Anthony Armstrong.

But, it is not the poor throws that have been the most frustrating thing about watching McNabb this year; it is his poor decisions. I expect an aging quarterback who is obviously three or more years past his prime to make poor throws, but not poor decisions.

Today, while deep in Redskins territory he threw a seven-yard pass to Santana Moss at about the fastest speed he could throw it. Moss had no time to get his hands up to catch it. It ricocheted off of his face mask and bounced way up in the air and was intercepted at the Redskins nine-yard line. The Redskins prevented the Vikings from scoring a touchdown, and the field goal they scored was less than the margin of victory, but is was a backbreaker to say the least. Throwing the ball that hard was not a physical shortfall of an aging quarterback, it was a poor decision. McNabb could have decided to dial it down. His decision to let it fly cost the Redskins a win.

That wasn’t the only poor decision to cost the Redskins a win. His decision to throw into triple coverage against the Lions when he had a four-point lead with four minutes left in the game was what got him benched the first time. The interception turned a win into a loss. The Redskins are now 3 – 1 against the best teams in the NFC (Eagles, Packers, and Bears) and 0-2 against two of the worst teams (Lions and Vikings).

His decision to run out of bounds to stop the clock with a lead against the Eagles with about 3:53 in the first game should have cost the Redskins a win. The Eagles had enough time to make a reasonable 32-yard throw (not a Hail Mary throw) into the end zone because McNabb had killed the clock by running out of bounds earlier in the quarter. The pass hit an open Celek, Philadelphia's tight end, in both hands in the endzone, but he did not hold on. The Redskins were lucky to win that one. It would have been the first of three losses that McNabb’s poor decisions had cost them.

As for their defensive scheme, I wrote earlier about it and pointed to Washington Post articles that wrote the same thing: The Redskins have an inordinate amount of talent on defense. They should be near the top of the league in defensive statistics. Instead, they are dead last. They were a top-ten defense since Gregg Williams took over in 2004. The only reason they are not a top-ten defense this year is that the coaching staff has changed the scheme and that change keeps the best defensive player in the NFL (Haynesworth) on the sideline. Today, when Haynesworth was in the game, he blew up practically everything that the Vikings wanted to do. When he was on the sideline, the Vikings did just about everything they wanted to do.

In addition to keeping the best player off the field, the new scheme has several players playing out of position, as they alluded to on today’s broadcast. Andre Carter was an excellent defensive end who had eleven sacks last year. This year he is an ineffectual outside linebacker.

It is so frustrating being a Redskins fan.


At December 10, 2010 11:33 AM, Blogger brent said...

Not so sure I agree with you on McNabb, but I like your fervor. Nice little blog... let me know if you want to swap blog roll links. I run


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