Archive for December, 2010

Don’t make McNabb a scapegoat – Shanahan deserves some blame for Redskins’ disappointing season.

December 19, 2010

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan deserves some blame for Washington's 5-8 season. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Donovan McNabb deserves part of the blame for the Redskins’ disappointing season, but Washington could have been successful with the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback if coach Mike Shanahan had made better personnel and coaching decisions.

Shanahan benched McNabb for the final three games of the year Friday.

If the Redskins had avoided a few disastrous mistakes, McNabb could have led the Redskins to a respectable season this year.  In that scenario, McNabb could have continued to start next season while a rookie quarterback drafted in 2011 would have been groomed a year before starting.  Now the Redskins will play Rex Grossman or acquire a veteran next year to hold the fort down anyway before a draft pick starts.

McNabb didn’t perform up to expectations, with 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, but he didn’t have much help, and he shouldn’t be made the scapegoat for the Redskins’ problems.

To see how the Redskins could have won with McNabb at the helm, and which mistakes could have been avoided, click here for my article on Examiner.com.

Advertisements

Cooley talks about Redskins’ season, Shanahan, Dallas, and Mitchell

December 15, 2010

Chris Cooley participated in a promotional event for FedEx Office Tuesday in Washington. Photo by Mike Frandsen

I caught up with Redskins tight end Chris Cooley Tuesday at FedEx Office in Washington for a brief interview for Examiner.com. Cooley was participating in a FedEx promotional event.

Cooley, in his seventh season with the Redskins, said that the team is very motivated to play Dallas this week.

He likes the discipline Shanahan has instilled in the team and is optimistic about the future.

Cooley defended himself against criticism by former Redskin Brian Mitchell.

The former Pro Bowl tight end said he’s 100 percent healthy now and he hopes and expects to end his career in Washington.

When asked about ex-Redskin Colt Brennan, Cooley said the former quarterback is up and walking around after his car accident last month.

Click here to read the interview on Examiner.com.

Graham Gano is the latest in a long line of bad to mediocre Redskins kickers

December 15, 2010

Redskins kicker Graham Gano probably won't be signing autographs for Redskins fans next year. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Is Graham Gano the worst kicker in the NFL?  There’s no doubt that he is – the statistics back that up.  Gano has missed 10 field goals on the year, which leads the NFL.  But a more important question to ask would be:  How much better would the Redskins have been in recent seasons with kickers who were merely average or above average instead of bad?

Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gano missed two field goals that any high school kicker should make.  Either of the chip shot field goals Gano missed, a 24 and a 34-yarder, would have given the Redskins enough points to win a game that they lost 17-16.  Never mind the botched snap and hold on what would have been a game-tying extra point – the Redskins should have never been in that situation.  True, it was rainy, but those are kicks that have to go in.

In fairness, Gano did kick a game-winning 33-yard field goal in overtime to give Washington a 16-13 win over Green Bay.

This brings up an often overlooked issue:  the Redskins have had some of the worst kickers in the NFL during the Dan Snyder era, a time when NFL teams have been so close in talent that special teams can make a huge difference.  Kick returner Brandon Banks has kept the Redskins in several games this season, but during the previous decade, Washington had one of the worst kick return units in the league, and its punters were nothing to brag about either.

(This just in – the Skins today cut Hunter Smith, whose failed hold cost the team an extra point that would have sent the game against the Bucs into overtime.  Smith was one of the worst punters in the league – par for the course for Washington the last 15 years or so.  I might even be underestimating the importance of special teams.  If Skins kickers, punters, and return and coverage units were good the past decade, maybe the Skins would have even averaged 10-6 instead of 7-9.)

This inattention to detail has been symbolic of a franchise that was once known for its blue-collar work ethic, but has gained a reputation of overpaying stars at glamorous positions.

Talk all you want about Tom Brady, but he hasn’t won a Super Bowl without Adam Vinatieri.  Neither has Peyton Manning. So when you complain about questionable coaching decisions or Donovan McNabb, don’t forget double G.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.