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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Back in April of 2010 I posted this post " Holy QB Pass Batman "

Among other things, I talked about the “system” and having the right players for “the system”.

Folks have talked about the Redskins defense all season. About how we had/have excellent 4-3 players but they seem out of sync in a 3 – 4.

It now appears that perhaps Donovan was “out of sync” with the new system.

In a Washington Post Article "Rex Grossman might not be a star, but he might be what Mike Shanahan wants" Thomas Boswell makes the following points.

The Shannies want a strict "system quarterback," someone who improvises only as a last resort, not as an agreeable alternative. They want someone who reads the field deep-to-middle-to-short, not short-to-medium-to-deep as McNabb did in Philly. In short, they don't want the kind of quarterback McNabb has been all his life.

Grossman seems to understand the Redskins' offense better than McNabb, run it more quickly, end up in the right play more often, go through his reads deeper and step up in the pocket as asked. He doesn't have McNabb's arm strength, ability to rip away from rushers to make plays, nor his career-long ability (until this year) to avoid interceptions.

Was Donovan a mistake?

Some are now saying that Shanahan, in his de facto GM role, wasted so much time and money, plus draft picks, with his McNabb mistake.

Other say,
"Not so fast." Grossman next faces two teams in playoff contention, not the Cowboys, who have given up more than 30 points eight times and rank 31st in points allowed. Grossman's QB rating (93.6) was lower than McNabb's a week before (100.7).

Up until the last game killing interception, and that is exactly what it was, Rex's rating was actually better.

People around the league and multiple fan bases will say that there is good Rex and bad Rex. In the game against Dallas we saw both.

Good Rex: 4 TD’s , over 300 yds passing, and 30 points put up on the board.

Bad Rex: 1 lost fumble, 2 interceptions, and 5 sacks.

Though it might be argued that sacks are not always the QB’s fault.
But the fact still remains. That last interception was a killer.

Boswell also states:

Successful NFL coaches do what they've done before. Shanahan breaths discipline, demands control, weeds out everyone who isn't totally with his plan (sometimes cruelly) and, when necessary, will take the lesser athlete for the sake of a superior attitude.

Others might also argue that other successful NFL coaches have adopted a system to play to their players strengths. I actually think Boswell is more right than wrong.

If you look at successful NFL organizations, you will find stability; and within that stability you will find a "system" , a "style" or a "plan". The organization then finds players to fit that mold.

Shanahan didn't wait to see the tape to glow: Grossman "executed the offense. We have a system. You've got to go through your reads. It's very complicated to tell you what he did. He just executed. There's a lot of different coverage, lots of different blitzes. We have routes called for different coverages. He performed like a veteran performs."

For now it appears that Rex fits the mold more than Donovan. The question still remains.

Can an old dog learn new tricks?

Can Donovan learn to fit the new mold? Or is he better suited in a different system?

Like I said back in April...

Only time will tell.


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