Donovan McNabb wants a new contract – one of the hefty multi-year variety. Undoubtedly he knows he has to sign a contract before April of next year in order to be protected against the ramifications of next year’s looming lockout. He’d want some guaranteed money, of course. Otherwise, he could end up with another team after this season, either by his choice or the team’s. Don’t think he hasn’t thought about that.
McNabb desperately wants to win a super bowl – that’s a given. He needs the security of a four-year deal for that to happen. After all, changing systems this late in his career ala Jason Campbell wouldn’t breed success. He needs time to gel with his receivers. He and his top three targets might bond sufficiently by December, but they’ll need another offseason to really know each other’s tendencies.
Speaking of tendencies – McNabb can be expected to complete 59.4% of his passes and miss at least two games due to injury. His pass plays will likely gain an average of 7.1 yards, while his passer rating will average out at 88.2. His touchdown-to-interception ratio will be around 2.2 to 1. That’s what his averages indicate. After four games as the Redskins’ signal caller, his numbers are: completion percentage = 57.9, average gain per pass completion = 7.9, touchdown-to-interception ratio = 3 to 2, passer rating = 84.7.
There’s no denying the fact McNabb played poorly in the second half at The Linc. If he hadn’t, his first-month statistics would exceed his career averages. The question is, is he the quarterback who played against the Texans and the Rams, or is he the QB who played against the Cowboys and the Eagles? In other words, will his completion percentage be closer to 66.5%, or will it be 44.5%? If the Redskins can sustain their new-found running prowess, McNabb’s performance this year could rival his three best seasons in Philly. He would throw for over 3500 yards, and his passer rating would end up being over 90.
Number 5 has to like the position the Redskins are in. They’ve already amassed two more division wins than they accrued last year. They host the Packers and the Colts, and then close out the first half of their schedule on the road against the Bears and the Lions. If Washington plays up to its potential, the ‘Skins will be no worse than 4 and 4 going into the bye week. They”ll have four road games and four home games remaining, three of which will be against the Vikings (home), Buccaneers (home), and Jaguars (away). To make their way into the playoffs, the Redskins would minimally have to win those three games and win their two other home games against the Eagles and Giants. That would leave them at 9 and 7. To win the division, they’d then just need to win one of their three remaining road games against the Titans, Cowboys, and Giants. Doing so would leave them at 10 and 6, which I’m convinced will be sufficient to win the NFC East.
The ‘Skins won’t be able to ride McNabb’s shoulders into the playoffs like the Colts ride Peyton Manning’s. No way. They’ve got to keep running the ball successfully, and their defense has to pick up its game. But make no mistake, they need McNabb to have close to a career year to reach their goal of winning the division. He’ll have to play above the levels his career averages suggest. If he does, he’ll get that new contract. If he doesn’t – he may end up moving on.