For Donovan McNabb, participating in his first minicamp at the quarterback of the Washington Redskins was like going back to the future.
"I feel like a freshman just getting into college," he said Sunday, after the final practice of the team's first minicamp. "You spend extra time studying at night so when you do come here, you can win the guys over by knowing what you're seeing and being able to get the ball to different guys."
Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan likes what he sees from McNabb.
"There is a sense of urgency," Shanahan said of his new quarterback. "He’s a natural leader the way he handles himself with his teammates. Just the way he goes about his business. Anytime you have a guy who’s a natural leader it’s very easy to see."
Shanahan is even impressed with the way McNabb handles news conferences.
"I always liked the way he handled himself with the media," said Shanahan. "I thought he always handled himself in a class manner, and some of the toughest questions I’ve ever seen asked to somebody were some of the questions I’ve seen Donovan handle. I thought he handled it with as much class as anybody I’ve ever seen, and he handled himself the same way on the football field with his teammates. He’s a guy that has a lot of talent, and at the same time has a lot of charisma and class."
Here is video of ESPN's Ed Werder discussing how Donovan McNabb looks in the Redskins offense, what's going to happen with disgruntled DT Albert Haynesworth and the NFL Draft prospects of the Redskins. Watch it.
ILB London Fletcher, who I think will have trouble adjusting to a 3-4 defense because of his lack of size, says making big plays is the focus of the work defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is working on now.
Fletcher said the defense also has re-focused on creating turnovers, an area in which the unit has struggled over the past four seasons, finishing at or near the bottom the league. Last year they generated a league-worst 17 takeaways.
"Well if you look at it over the last, what, five, six years collectively we were last in the NFL in takeaways," Fletcher said. "For a lot of different reasons we haven't been able to create a lot of takeaways so we've started out in this minicamp emphasizing trying to strip the football. For one it's going to make the offense better and it's also going to help us in terms of just attacking that football, constantly thinking about turnovers, so it's been good so far."
In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King of Sports Illustrated writes that Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen are "championship smokescreeners or simply uninformative" when it comes to their draft plans. With only 1 pick in the first 100 selections, the Redskins need to make their few picks count. They have no selections in rounds 2, 3, and 6.
Bruce Allen explains why the Redskins will be very unlikely to add draft picks by trading down:
"It's really a deterrent to trading," Allen said, "if you analyze that it takes so many draft choices just to move a few slots. We haven't been, neither Mike [Shanahan] nor myself, have been a point-chart type of person. That chart has prevented a lot of people from making more moves."
The Redskins could add more picks by trading a player, say a possible disgruntled defensive tackle with the initials A.H. But Allen said the Redskins aren't in talks with any teams about moving Albert Haynesworth. Whether it's because there's no market for him or because they simply want to keep him is uncertain. Regardless, the chances of trading him appear somewhat slim.
Trading quarterback Jason Campbell likely would only fetch a low-round pick, a fifth-rounder at best.
Speaking of the draft, the Redskins will be using recently-retired LT Chris Samuels, a 6-time Pro Bowler taken with the 3rd pick in 2000, to relay Washington's decision to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. That's a nice touch, but is it also a sign of Washington's intention to use the pick to grab Samuels' replacement at left tackle? Let's hope so.
ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper talks to the Wash Post about what the Skins need in the draft. [Video.]
Watch two of our favorites, Rick Snider and John Keim of The Examiner, discuss the Redskins and the NFL Draft.