A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1
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    Helmet Om Field: QB Theory — Donovan McNabb Could be Redskins Rising Tide

    There are two schools of thought regarding the most important position in professional team sports.

    Some people believe that acquisition of a Pro Bowl level quarterback is the rising tide that lifts entire NFL franchises.

    The rest will believe it—if and when they see it happen to theirs.

    QB Theory generally holds that the elusive "Franchise Quarterback" every NFL front office relentlessly pursues makes everyone around him—receivers, offensive line, running backs, defense, scouts, coaches, general managers, owners—better.

    He makes a bad team competitive, a competitive team good and a good team great.

    A team does not have to have a Franchise QB to be the occasional outlier Super Bowl team (see Ravens, 2000) but does to become a perennial contender or dynasty (see NFL History).

    NFL executives certainly know it.

    Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo does.

    “I know that there is going to be a lot of talk about [acquiring] a No. 1 receiver,” the Bears general manager said at the time. “[But] it starts with the quarterback. It’s all about the quarterback. You don’t win because of wide receivers. You don’t win because of running backs. You win because of the quarterback.”

    So does former New York Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi ...

    More...
    Last edited by Om; 07-22-10 at 11:23 AM.
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    Nice piece, brother. Guess I am one of those stuck in between believer and non-believer. I am hopeful but pragmatic. I think a lot will depend on how fast one Trent Williams comes around. If he is the next Chris Samuels, we are good and I think your predictions for a fast start are pretty solid. If not, McNabb could be hurt by the bye week.

    I am reminded of the slow start the Colts had a couple years ago when there were so many injuries on their line and Manning was under constant pressure. Granted, McNabb is more mobile on a bad day than Manning is on a bad day but I don't think anyone would argue that Manning is in a whole other class of QB above McNabb either.

    The only other thing I might argue with is your assertion that McNabb is the closest thing to a franchise QB we have seen since Sonny took the uni off for the last time. I think that is selling Joey T a bit short. I'm not sure but what he wasn't better than McNabb although I admit it might just be that he had a much better support cast and a system that made his job easier. *shrug* Just my 2 cents, having watched all three of these guys.

    Again, nice work.
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    It is elevating that we have a real QB...and I'm expecting/hoping for the the best. THE SKINS BENEFIT BY HAVING NUMBER 5 UNDER CENTER.

    that said....the reality...if you watched Iggles games at the end of last season...is that McNabb didn't play very well. he was part of their problem and one can reasonably venture a guess that is one reason they jettisonned him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    Nice piece, brother. Guess I am one of those stuck in between believer and non-believer. I am hopeful but pragmatic. I think a lot will depend on how fast one Trent Williams comes around. If he is the next Chris Samuels, we are good and I think your predictions for a fast start are pretty solid. If not, McNabb could be hurt by the bye week.

    I am reminded of the slow start the Colts had a couple years ago when there were so many injuries on their line and Manning was under constant pressure. Granted, McNabb is more mobile on a bad day than Manning is on a bad day but I don't think anyone would argue that Manning is in a whole other class of QB above McNabb either.

    The only other thing I might argue with is your assertion that McNabb is the closest thing to a franchise QB we have seen since Sonny took the uni off for the last time. I think that is selling Joey T a bit short. I'm not sure but what he wasn't better than McNabb although I admit it might just be that he had a much better support cast and a system that made his job easier. *shrug* Just my 2 cents, having watched all three of these guys.

    Again, nice work.
    Merci.

    Hey, there are no guarantees here. The only thing I am prepared to argue 'til I'm blue in the face is that IF McNabb is still the same or even close to the same QB he's been the past few years, the Redskins just got a whole lot better.

    QB Theory is kinda like evolution--no, it hasn't been "proven," but my lord the evidence is overwhelming. It's as tried and true a formula for turning around NFL franchises as I have seen in 40 years of obsessing over this silly game.

    As to Theismann, here's a line from the end of that paragraph that I edited out at the last minute:

    Joe Theismann was damn good--Jurgensen was special.

    I've been a Theismann guy for a long time, and agree he's badly undervalued historically in a lot of quarters. I just can't quite put him on the Franchise QB Wall of Fame. If there's a Wall of Damn Good though, he's front and center.

    Quote Originally Posted by fansince62 View Post
    It is elevating that we have a real QB...and I'm expecting/hoping for the the best. THE SKINS BENEFIT BY HAVING NUMBER 5 UNDER CENTER.

    that said....the reality...if you watched Iggles games at the end of last season...is that McNabb didn't play very well. he was part of their problem and one can reasonably venture a guess that is one reason they jettisonned him.
    Yup. Probably part of the problem, definitely part of why Lurie let him walk. Donovan's time in Philly was done--much like Shanahan's was in Denver. Like Lombardi's was in Green Bay. Like Gibbs' was after Gibbs I ... I remember a lot of fans grumbling about "St. Joe" and happy that we were getting some fire back in our Redskins bellies with the ascension of Richie Petitbon.

    There's a finite window for leaders in the NFL in a given town, be they QB's, head coaches ... even owners. McNabb reached the end of his in Philly.

    Looking at his numbers though, and having watched enough of his performances the balance of last season to believe I have a reasonable basis in evidence ... I'm feeling pretty good about the guy still being just a HUGE upgrade at the position over anything we've had here in many years. As much in leadership/attitude as in physical skill. No team I have ever watched has cried out for an on-field offensive leader more than the Redskins of recent vintage.

    Feeling pretty good right about now that they finally got one.
    Last edited by Om; 07-22-10 at 12:38 PM.
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    First off, Om...thanks for the quote! As I said earlier, I felt it needed to be said but that it wasn't big enough to devote a thread to it. Clearly, you've solved that issue. :-)

    On another front, I have to comment on the Joe Theisman debate.......I recently watched some old footage from the days when Joey T. was playing. I think I commented to you as an aside then, too.....but, damn, he could play. It's easy to look back at the past with rose-tinted glasses, but it's also easy to simply forget how things REALLY were. Joe Theisman could move around.....he had a MUCH stronger and accurate arm than I remembered......and he COMMANDED the offense. All you have to do is watch ONE drive and you'll see what I mean. The way he simply leads the other players on the field and then in the application of it all.....there's so much more zip on the ball than I remembered and he could throw where he meant to. It'd been so long since we've seen that in a Redskin uniform that it was so refreshing and depressing all at the same time.

    I realize that I felt I could always count on McNabb to throw into the dirt at some point....and there's no reason to expect anything different now that he's in burgundy and gold.....but on the whole, I am expecting the offense to be moving at a whole different tempo than we've become accustomed to....and I further predict that McNabb will put the ball where it needs to be more times than not. Again, something we've not seen in a long, long time.

    I guess we'll see.....
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    I'll say it again---I'm a Theismann guy. I've gone back and watched games from '82 and '83 many times and always walk away impressed all over again with his command, presence and how damn quickly he got rid of the ball. He was the perfect Gibbs QB--smart, quick, accurate, tough. What's hard for me at the end of the day is to make the jump from Immense Respect to Standing Alongside Unitas, Montana or Manning. I guess even in the Pantheon there are levels.

    On the "tempo" observation, LSF is dead on the money. Younger Redskins fans have never seen a burgundy and gold offense operate in rhythm other than in fits and starts---a few plays here, a drive or two there. If nothing else, even if the Redskins W-L record isn't setting the world on fire by midseason, my guess is there will be a lot of fans who find themselves thinking, while the offense is on the field, "Oh, so that's what the old farts have been talking about."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Om View Post
    I'll say it again---I'm a Theismann guy. I've gone back and watched games from '82 and '83 many times and always walk away impressed all over again with his command, presence and how damn quickly he got rid of the ball. He was the perfect Gibbs QB--smart, quick, accurate, tough. What's hard for me at the end of the day is to make the jump from Immense Respect to Standing Alongside Unitas, Montana or Manning. I guess even in the Pantheon there are levels.
    Om, I don't think either of us who have brought up Joey T are asking that his name be inscribed on footballs Mt Rushmore with the likes of Unitas, Montana or Manning. Conversely, I don't think we believe McNabb belongs there either.

    My point was that Joey T was as much of a franchise QB as McNabb and I was making it in regards to your statement that we haven't seen the like here since Sonny hung up his cleats. I was just pointing out that I don't think you have to go back to Sonny too see franchise QB play with this club.

    Was Joey T in the same league with Sonny? Hell no.
    Is Donovan in the same league with Sonny? Again, hell no.

    I think Donovan and Joey T are fairly equal in the whole QB spectrum. They are both lower tier franchise QBs, with Joey having the edge in my world because he owns a ring from the Big Game and so far, Donovan has come up begging in that regard.
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    I'll jump off the Theismann arguments for a second.

    Among the comparisons between Elway and McNabb, especially as they relate to Mike Shanahan, that seems to never get mentioned is that BOTH were masters of play-action. Brad Johnson and Mark Rypien were both decent at it but the Skins haven't had a guy who could REALLY sell it since Theismann.

    Mike Shanahan LOVES play-action and it's a BIG part of his passing game. His dedication to a strong running game, combined with a passing attack that makes full use of play-action, has long kept opposing defenses off balance. IF, and it's a BIG IF, McNabb and his receivers can get on the same page, I fully expect this team to challenge for a playoff spot.

    While most would say I'm being overly optimistic, I expect this team to resemble the Saints of two years ago - coming, seemingly, out of nowhere to set league on fire. Yeah, I'm STILL having a hard time accepting McNabb as our QB but if he stays healthy, I would be surprised if he didn't garner some MVP consideration.
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    Neo,

    I'm not crazy about being in position to downgrade Theismann, because as I've said I truly think he is one of the more underappreciated players in recent NFL history. But if it came right down to it, I'm not quite prepared to say he was on the same level as Donovan McNabb.

    Pre-Gibbs, Theismann had already been in the league 7 years and was kind of just another guy. In '82 and '83, I'll grant you, he was as effective a QB as there was in football--I'd put his leadership and field generalship of those teams up against any QB ever. Maybe I'm blinded by Gibbs' genius in that first go-round, but I've always had this sneaking suspicion that Gibbs might have done more for Theismann than Thiesmann did for Gibbs, if you know what I mean.



    McNabb, to me, hit the ground running (literally) when he got to Philly, put that team on his shoulders and kept them in contention despite very little offensive help (read: running game, WR's) for a decade.



    Unfair to Theismann? Maybe. But then, it's what we do.
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    Jimbo,

    Strong point about the play-action. Used to drive me crazy watching Jason go through the motions, he was as unconvincing/committed to the play fake as anyone I've seen at the NFL level.

    Defenders running at full blast trying to watch the QB through a maze of behemoths as seen through a facemask with sweat running down your forehead aren't likely to be fooled by a casual hand gesture toward the RB by a QB with his back to them. The QB has to sell it. McNabb seems to have the flair to be good at it--like stage-acting, you have to sell the move BIG.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Om View Post
    Neo,

    I'm not crazy about being in position to downgrade Theismann, because as I've said I truly think he is one of the more underappreciated players in recent NFL history. But if it came right down to it, I'm not quite prepared to say he was on the same level as Donovan McNabb.

    Pre-Gibbs, Theismann had already been in the league 7 years and was kind of just another guy. In '82 and '83, I'll grant you, he was as effective a QB as there was in football--I'd put his leadership and field generalship of those teams up against any QB ever. Maybe I'm blinded by Gibbs' genius in that first go-round, but I've always had this sneaking suspicion that Gibbs might have done more for Theismann than Thiesmann did for Gibbs, if you know what I mean.
    I can't argue with Gibbs doing more for Joey than the other way around. I would agree with it and I think the proof is that Gibbs is still the only SB winning coach to do it with more than one QB.

    That being said, I absolutely believe that if Gibbs and Joey T had been together for a decade we would have seen some beautiful things and Theismann just might be a HoF QB today. After all, there is apparently enough support for him now to get him on the initial list some years. And no, this does not mean I think he is HoF. I don't. He does not have a large enough body of work.

    I also think Theismann would have made a good QB in the West Coast system but he played in a Coryell style offense which called for fewer high percentage passes and the run was always the first option for the Skins once Gibbs got his sea legs under him.

    And there is no question Joey T had more offensive talent to work with than Donovan has often had. Even the Eagles offensive line, always a strength with Andy Reid, can't really compare to the Hogs and we won't go into receivers and backs. However, Donovan has always had a world class defense backing him up so it isn't like he was alone in all those early games.

    Not that this is what your blog was really driving at brother, and I know that. Sorry if I sort of went off on a tangent. Didn't mean to.
    Last edited by Neophyte; 07-23-10 at 06:09 PM.
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