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In McNabb, Redskins Have a Quarterback Of the Present

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False starts are not the province of offensive linemen alone. That's a penalty for which teams often pay a high price when they draft quarterbacks with a No. 1 pick to begin the rebuilding process. Choose the wrong one and the organization sets itself back, usually more than five yards.

These disasters happen all too often.

The Redskins, feeling the need for improved play at the quarterback position a year ago, noodled around in the market with an eye toward trading for Jay Cutler or moving up in the draft for Mark Sanchez. They did not pull off either but showed their impatience with Jason Campbell's progress in those pursuits.

This year, they went in a completely different direction by trading for a proven product in Donovan McNabb.

Will this bear fruit? Can a veteran find happiness in a new environment?

It seems to have worked for Drew Brees. For Brett Favre. Warren Moon got around a little and wound up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The tried and true might be better than the untested and new.

Campbell was a first-round pick in 2005. The Redskins paid heavily to move back into the first round for him, giving up a third-round choice to Denver in that draft and first- and fourth-round choices in 2006.

False start. Campbell didn't play a snap for 25 games and went 20-32 as a starter before the club peddled him to Oakland last month for a fourth-round pick in 2012. All his fault? No, no, no. All the same, he had to go, go, go (apologies to Amy Winehouse).

The Redskins might never have had to make those moves for Campbell if another No. 1 pick, Patrick Ramsey, fulfilled his destiny. The 32st overall selection in 2002, Ramsey went 10-14 as a battered starter before beginning his journeys around the NFL. False start.

We're not just pointing a finger at the Redskins. They're hardly alone in serial quarterback failures. They just didn't make the same mistake again.

Sure, they took a hard look at this year's quarterback crop in the draft but they made the McNabb trade three weeks before the NFL staged its three-day meat market.

Other teams, like the St. Louis Rams (Sam Bradford) and Denver Broncos (Tim Tebow) went for quarterbacks in the first round. Their wisdom or folly remains to be seen.

FOX Sports recently posted a list of its top 10 busts of the last 20 years and six were quarterbacks. This came as the Raiders cut JaMarcus Russell, the overall No. 1 pick just three years ago. He earned second place on the bust list, his tribulations and transgressions apparently still not the equal of Ryan Leaf's.

Leaf and Russell. Ugh. Heath Shuler, the third overall pick in 1994 by the Redskins, commanded the fourth spot. Surely Ramsey would not have been a need if Shuler didn't flop. David Carr, another overall No. 1, was sixth. Todd Marinovich was eighth. Tim Couch got the final nod at 10.

Couch, in 1999, was taken first overall by the Cleveland Browns. Just ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles' selection of McNabb. Which was followed by the Cincinnati Bengals reach for Akili Smith. Two out of three ain't good.

The Detroit Lions would not have had to take Matthew Stafford a year ago if Joey Harrington panned out. He didn't, for any number of reasons (dysfunctional organization, lack of leadership skills, a procession of highly-touted receivers who also were busts).

The Lions haven't had a winning season since 2000 and have finished last in their division five out of seven years. Harrington was the third overall choice in 2002 and should be in the prime of his career. Instead, he's nowhere.

Kyle Boller. First-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2003. Record as a starter for them: 20-22. The Ravens relegated him to a backup role when they acquired Steve McNair. With St. Louis last year, Boller now fights for a job in Oakland. False start. In 2008, the Ravens went for another quarterback in the first round, Joe Flacco. So far, so good.

The Raiders and Russell? An expensive nightmare. Over after three seasons. The Raiders have lost 11 or more games seven years in a row. Brady Quinn was the other first-round QB drafted in 2007. The Cleveland Browns traded him to Denver in March. Seen the Raiders or Browns in the playoffs lately?

Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Cutler were No. 1s in 2006. Young lost his job to Kerry Collins and then reclaimed it and his story remains to be written. Leinart, of the Arizona Cardinals, faltered and helped set up Kurt Warner's amazing renaissance. He may get the job by default with Warner's retirement. Cutler made the Pro Bowl in Denver but the Broncos traded him to the Chicago Bears. Cutler has never appeared in a playoff game.

Two quarterbacks went ahead of Campbell in 2005. The San Francisco 49ers chose Alex Smith No. 1 overall and he has been in and out of numerous offensive schemes as well as the lineup. The 49ers haven't seen the playoffs since 2002. The Green Bay Packers took a patient Aaron Rodgers 24th, and he has done well since replacing Brett Favre.

Campbell? Maybe he will thrive in an offense that throws the ball downfield. There are second acts in American life.

Just ask McNabb and the Redskins. They're counting on it.


*Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for Redskins.com and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at Redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.
*

119793.jpg


False starts are not the province of offensive linemen alone. That's a penalty for which teams often pay a high price when they draft quarterbacks with a No. 1 pick to begin the rebuilding process. Choose the wrong one and the organization sets itself back, usually more than five yards.

These disasters happen all too often.

The Redskins, feeling the need for improved play at the quarterback position a year ago, noodled around in the market with an eye toward trading for Jay Cutler or moving up in the draft for Mark Sanchez. They did not pull off either but showed their impatience with Jason Campbell's progress in those pursuits.

This year, they went in a completely different direction by trading for a proven product in Donovan McNabb.

Will this bear fruit? Can a veteran find happiness in a new environment?

It seems to have worked for Drew Brees. For Brett Favre. Warren Moon got around a little and wound up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The tried and true might be better than the untested and new.

Campbell was a first-round pick in 2005. The Redskins paid heavily to move back into the first round for him, giving up a third-round choice to Denver in that draft and first- and fourth-round choices in 2006.

False start. Campbell didn't play a snap for 25 games and went 20-32 as a starter before the club peddled him to Oakland last month for a fourth-round pick in 2012. All his fault? No, no, no. All the same, he had to go, go, go (apologies to Amy Winehouse).

The Redskins might never have had to make those moves for Campbell if another No. 1 pick, Patrick Ramsey, fulfilled his destiny. The 32st overall selection in 2002, Ramsey went 10-14 as a battered starter before beginning his journeys around the NFL. False start.

We're not just pointing a finger at the Redskins. They're hardly alone in serial quarterback failures. They just didn't make the same mistake again.

Sure, they took a hard look at this year's quarterback crop in the draft but they made the McNabb trade three weeks before the NFL staged its three-day meat market.

Other teams, like the St. Louis Rams (Sam Bradford) and Denver Broncos (Tim Tebow) went for quarterbacks in the first round. Their wisdom or folly remains to be seen.

FOX Sports recently posted a list of its top 10 busts of the last 20 years and six were quarterbacks. This came as the Raiders cut JaMarcus Russell, the overall No. 1 pick just three years ago. He earned second place on the bust list, his tribulations and transgressions apparently still not the equal of Ryan Leaf's.

Leaf and Russell. Ugh. Heath Shuler, the third overall pick in 1994 by the Redskins, commanded the fourth spot. Surely Ramsey would not have been a need if Shuler didn't flop. David Carr, another overall No. 1, was sixth. Todd Marinovich was eighth. Tim Couch got the final nod at 10.

Couch, in 1999, was taken first overall by the Cleveland Browns. Just ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles' selection of McNabb. Which was followed by the Cincinnati Bengals reach for Akili Smith. Two out of three ain't good.

The Detroit Lions would not have had to take Matthew Stafford a year ago if Joey Harrington panned out. He didn't, for any number of reasons (dysfunctional organization, lack of leadership skills, a procession of highly-touted receivers who also were busts).

The Lions haven't had a winning season since 2000 and have finished last in their division five out of seven years. Harrington was the third overall choice in 2002 and should be in the prime of his career. Instead, he's nowhere.

Kyle Boller. First-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2003. Record as a starter for them: 20-22. The Ravens relegated him to a backup role when they acquired Steve McNair. With St. Louis last year, Boller now fights for a job in Oakland. False start. In 2008, the Ravens went for another quarterback in the first round, Joe Flacco. So far, so good.

The Raiders and Russell? An expensive nightmare. Over after three seasons. The Raiders have lost 11 or more games seven years in a row. Brady Quinn was the other first-round QB drafted in 2007. The Cleveland Browns traded him to Denver in March. Seen the Raiders or Browns in the playoffs lately?

Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Cutler were No. 1s in 2006. Young lost his job to Kerry Collins and then reclaimed it and his story remains to be written. Leinart, of the Arizona Cardinals, faltered and helped set up Kurt Warner's amazing renaissance. He may get the job by default with Warner's retirement. Cutler made the Pro Bowl in Denver but the Broncos traded him to the Chicago Bears. Cutler has never appeared in a playoff game.

Two quarterbacks went ahead of Campbell in 2005. The San Francisco 49ers chose Alex Smith No. 1 overall and he has been in and out of numerous offensive schemes as well as the lineup. The 49ers haven't seen the playoffs since 2002. The Green Bay Packers took a patient Aaron Rodgers 24th, and he has done well since replacing Brett Favre.

Campbell? Maybe he will thrive in an offense that throws the ball downfield. There are second acts in American life.

Just ask McNabb and the Redskins. They're counting on it.


*Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for Redskins.com and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at Redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.
*

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