Point-Counterpoint: the McNabb trade legacy

Point-Counterpoint: the McNabb trade legacy
April 15, 2011, 10:51 am
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Friday, April 15, 2011 7:00 a.m. By Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran
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It was just over a year ago that Donovan McNabb came to the Redskins in a stunning trade that seemed to set up the Redskins at quarterback for the next several years.By December, however, McNabb was watching the games from the bench and Mike Shanahan is doing what every Redskins coach for the past 20 years has been doingsearching for the answer at quarterback yet again.What should the Redskins have done at quarterback? And what long-term damage has been done as a result of this mistake? Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran sharpen up their 20-20 hindsight and discuss the McNabb deal in this weeks edition of Point-Counterpoint.Rich Tandler: The simplest solution to the quarterback position last year would have been to stick with Jason Campbell. Sure, he would not have been an ideal fit in the MikeKyle Shanahan offense but with a few adjustments on the part of both Campbell and the Shanahans, it could have worked. Campbell probably wasnt the long-term solution, but he wasnt bad enough to force the gamble that McNabb would be able to adjust to the offense. They then could have used the second-round pick they spend in the deal for someone like Colt McCoy or to get a true nose tackle like Terrence Cody.Ryan OHalloran: The fact that Philadelphia was willing to part with its face of the franchise to a division opponent and the Redskins not recognizing that red flag, is still mind boggling a year later. The Eagles knew what everybody else saw during McNabbs stint as the Redskins starter hes clearly on the decline. In hindsight, the Redskins should have still traded Campbell since that wasnt going to work and try to muddle through the year with Rex Grossman. There wasnt a ton of available talent in the later rounds of the draft, but they could have used that mid-round pick this year on a defensive player.Tandler: Campbell, Grossman, Marc Bulger any option that didnt cost the Redskins badly-needed draft picks would have been better. In addition to completely missing the red flag that you mentioned, the McNabb deal also demonstrated Shanahan misjudged the rebuilding job that was ahead of him. You bring in a McNabb when you have the rest of the pieces in place and you need the right signal caller to push the team over the top. The Redskins, clearly, were not that kind of team. But now that Shanahan seems to realize that rebuilding is ahead, what do they do at quarterback now? One way to handle it might be to sign a younger free agent quarterback, someone like Alex Smith, the former first pick of the draft by the 49ers. That way they would not be starting with a raw rookie and might be able to put together a run like Shanahans Broncos did with Jake Plummer.OHalloran: Ive been shouted down with this theory but lets look at the evidence. The Redskins think theyre close to contending. The Redskins are willing to get older. The Redskins are more than happy to trade away valuable draft picks. How was the McNabb move any different from what the previous regime (re: Vinny) did during his reign of terror on the front office? I still believe Dan Snyder had his hands on this a little bit because of the money involved. Sure, Shanahan had no confidence in Campbell, but hes proven in past years that he recognizes when to go cheap (any number of running backs) and when to go for the home run (trading for Champ Bailey). My joke is that Shanahan and Bruce Allen went into The Dannys office and said, OK, Dan, well give you one move, and then were in charge. On the other hand, there wasnt anybody else around to blame besides Snyder.Tandler: That might be a little out there. If Mike and Bruce gave Snyder one last move it probably was to pick the new long snapper. But, hey, its impossible to completely write off strange scenario at Redskin Park. Back to the issue at hand, if they dont think that they can land the right guy in free agency they might be forced to take their chances and dip into the draft pool. They dont have enough picks (thanks in part to their fourth-rounder being gone in the McNabb deal) to trade up to get either Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton. Do they go with someone like Christian Ponder, who should be ready to play earlier but who seems to have a limited ceiling? Or would it be Jake Locker or Colin Kaepernick, players who may need a lot of work but who have great upside? One name to keep an eye on -- Andy Dalton. He doesnt have the strongest arm but he is very smart and accurate.OHalloran: I still believe the Shanahans will find a way to trade into the late first round if Locker is still on the board. There is just too much buzz for too long to not think there isnt some smoke. But what chips do the Redskins have? Along with the aforementioned fourth-round pick, the Redskins third-round pick is gone to New Orleans in the Jammal Brown deal. After picking 41st , they dont turn in another card until No. 144. Translation: The Mastermind will have to dip into the 2012 draft well to get in position to draft Locker (or another quarterback) late in the first or keep their fingers crossed that a quarterback they desire is on the board at No. 41. Ill say they do what it takes to get Locker.You can reach Ryan OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com. You can email Rich Tandler at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net.