I understand the need to dissent when one is sitting at the ESPN First Take desk alongside Skip Bayless.
Sitting next to Skip Bayless would make me agitated and argumentative, as well.
But when Donovan McNabb was asked point-blank whether or not he thought Robert Griffin III would succeed in Kyle Shanahan’s system his answer was a resounding “no”.
Do tell, Don, do tell.
OK, so Donovan doesn’t like the fit. Fine. That’s his opinion but what we also need to remember, as I’m sure a lot of you have already forgotten, is that McNabb himself was the fixture of a doomed experiment to revitalize his career in Washington under Mike Shanahan.
It was a botched stab at a career turn-around that saw McNabb benched mid-season in favor of the indomitable Rex Grossman. Months later, Donovan would resurface in Minnesota where a similar scene would play out and result in Donovan McNabb’s swan song and exit from the NFL.
So given McNabb’s recent history with the Redskins and the historic rise of RGIII, this could be a case of “it is what it looks like”.
More specifically, McNabb doesn’t want to admit that Griffin III will succeed where he failed.
McNabb went on to list all of the quarterbacks that failed at establishing franchise status under Shanahan, thereby implying that RGIII is destined to become yet another statistic in a long line of unrealized talent.
I feel like McNabb, who was widely regarded as a classy guy throughout his career, missed an opportunity to cast a vote of confidence for Griffin III today. I mean, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.
If McNabb has a stockpile of vitriol for the Shanahans that’s one thing, but you, as a veteran who tasted success in the NFC East, should be eager to dish out some confidence on live TV for a kid is about to shoulder kilotons of expectations right off the bat.
Instead, McNabb came of wounded and spiteful. He compared his own skill set to RGIII’s and insists he was misused and that Griffin will find himself in a similar boat.
While McNabb was a mobile, big-armed quarterback back in his day, I wouldn’t consider him even close to possessing the same level of talent as RGIII.
Whether or not McNabb was sincere, and I’m sure parts of what he said absolutely were, it came out as a bunch of sour grapes.
All of us, including RGIII, are aware that a learning curve will have to be navigated and that Waco and Washington, DC are vastly different places. Griffin III will have to learn on the fly how to work and communicate with the Shanahan’s, luckily he is beyond capable of doing this.
Will the Shanahan’s misuse Griffin III? Sure, if they refuse not to play him at all.
McNabb might have read off of a laundry list of ex-quarterbacks and alluded to his own travails during his time in DC and, while none of this was wrong, it was all presented under a layer of jilt and bitterness.
McNabb was good during his career, at times very good, but never great. Robert Griffin III will arrive in Washington with a clean, unsullied slate. He’ll have everything in front of him and no set routine or predetermined idea of how to do things holding him down.
Why will he succeed? Because it will be all he knows. He’ll become the player the Redskins need and excel.
McNabb was a complete product when he got to DC, a veteran dog who wasn’t fully committed to learning new tricks. It’s a shame he went with the line that he did as it could’ve been a good opportunity to speak positively about a promising young talent.
As it is, we’ll just keep looking forward. We’ve just about forgotten about McNabb, anyway.