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Report: Expectations / Pressure On McNabb

Rich Tandler has a sobering post up this morning on the expectations that come with manning the helm of the Redskins QB position in 2010. Here are some of the highlights:

The first thing he will be expected to do is master Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s new offense. McNabb has not had to learn a new NFL offense since his first year in the league. He and Andy Reid have been joined at the hip since 1999 when the Eagles drafted McNabb out of Syrauce with the second overall pick and hitched their wagon to him. Certainly there have been tweaks and adjustments to the Philly offense over 11 years, but the changes were gradual. Here he is getting the whole thing thrown at him at once–new plays, new terminology, new everything.

One reality that pretty much flew under the radar during OTAs and minicamps was McNabb’s performance–he did not exactly shine while running the offense. His passes frequently fell to the ground either as a result of McNabb throwing to the wrong spot, or going to the right area but misfiring. The Washington offense was far from appearing to be a well-oiled machine.

McNabb will not only be expected to perform at a high level, he will be expected to make everyone else on the offense look better. In Philadelphia he went to NFC title games with the likes of Freddie Mitchell, Todd Pinkston, and James Thrash as his primary receiving targets. There is no reason to believe he can’t help jumpstart the NFL careers of Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. While the offensive line will be improved over last year’s disastrous edition, they will take some time to gel. McNabb will need to make the necessary adjustments to keep the offense moving while rookie left tackle Trent Williams gets his feet under him, and while Jammal Brown gets used to playing on the right side of the line.

Above all, McNabb will be expected to win.

The spotlight always shines on a football team’s quarterback. They get too much credit when the team wins and too much blame when they lose. But in 2010, the light will be particularly bright–and hot–on Donovan McNabb.

I could not agree more about the pressure McNabb must feel. But something is a bit different this year with expectations.  I can’t emphasize enough that instead of an energy and wanting of instant results, the buzz around everything Redskins this season from the radio, to TV, to the blogoshpere, to conversations around town…. everyone seems to want to give Shanahan’s new team a few years. And that is just the smart way to think about this. Because the coach is a proven leader, and he’s rebuilt a team that not 6 months ago was a complete disaster from soup to nuts.

While it’s true the same can be said about the Zorn timeline — that is needing a few years to be effective — we all knew in our gut that something was off.  This time I think the collective energy of the Redskins community agrees that this time it is a bit different with this coach, this GM, this quarterback, this coordinator, this offensive line, this backfield, and this team.

While expectations in D.C. will always be high, I think we’ve tempered it enough in 2010 that we’ll be pleasantly surprised should the Redskins deliver a playoff birth in the next couple of seasons.

While unknowns are all around us — Hope is once again in the air of the Redskins community, and its nice to notice for a change.


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