Today we begin a new series of articles looking at each position on the Washington Redskins and rating them for strength and weaknesses, from starters to reserve players. This is part of run-up to Redskins training camp 2010, where DC Pro Sports Report coverage will be bigger and better than ever before.
We begin our positional analyses with quarterback.
Outgoing: Jason Campbell [trade], Todd Collins [released]
Incoming: Donovan McNabb [trade], Rex Grossman [free agent]
Holdovers: Richard Bartel, Colt Brennan
Jason Campbell had a very respectable statistical season in 2009, completing almost 65% of his passes for over 7 yards per attempt and his rating of 86.4 was 15th overall, in the top half of quarterbacks in the NFL. All this despite playing behind probably the worst offensive line in franchise history and one of the worst in the NFL. Not to mention a chaotic and incompetent coaching and play-calling situation and a season-ending injury to his favorite target, TE Chris Cooley. Despite all this, new head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan did not want Campbell around and traded him for almost nothing to the Oakland Raiders. Campbell's team went 4-12 last year and he was unable to help the team get wins against dismal opponents like Detroit and Kansas City. [He was benched at halftime against Kansas City.] He's also a poor fit for the west coast offense the Shanahans are installing in Washington, just as he was a poor fit for the whateverthehellthatwas west coast offense Jim Zorn used.
Todd Collins only played in the second half of the Kansas City game and he didn't play very well. He's a guy who had a magical mystery tour in the last month of the 2007 regular season, but was never talented enough to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He should retire.
The starting job belongs to McNabb and trading for McNabb was only one sign Mike Shanahan intends to win as quickly as possible. McNabb is the best quarterback the team has had since the 1980s and a solid improvement over what they had last year. He's not an absolutely elite quarterback, but he's the next step down. He's not terribly accurate for a west coast passer [under 60% completion rate for his career], but he has been less likely to throw an interception [2 percent of throws] than any quarterback in NFL history and every coach I've ever heard of likes that.
McNabb averaged a very nice 8 yards per attempt last season and, as usual, threw for at least twice as many touchdowns  as interceptions . His passer rating of 92.9 was the third-highest of his career and best since 2006 so he's clearly got plenty left in the tank.
McNabb will have his off games and he had some doozies last year: San Francisco, Oakland, Dallas three times. He also had some great games, including two dominating performances against the New York Giants. He's not the most consistent performer around, but he's certainly more likely to be good than bad.
The Redskins are in trouble if McNabb gets hurt and that is likely to happen. [He's played all 16 regular season games only twice in the last 8 years.] The fact that Rex Grossman is the backup quarterback is proof that the NFL is just like the rest of the world -- it's all about who you know. In Grossman's case, who he knows is Kyle Shanahan, who coached him last year in Houston, where Grossman backed up Matt Schaub. Fortunately for Houston, Schaub stayed healthy and Grossman only threw 9 passes, threw of which he completed to his own team, one he completed to the other team and five he completed to the ground for a 5.6 passer rating. [Don't feel so bad, Heath Shuler!] Grossman is short, but he has a good arm and can move around in the pocket nicely. He can look good in spurts because of his arm strength and ability to step into his throws, but his accuracy and decision-making are consistently dismal. For his career he's completed 54% of his passes for a rating of under 70. In other words, if Rex Grossman plays a lot, your team is going to lose a lot.
Colt Brennan, who spent the entire 2009 season on injured reserve, and Richard Bartel, who spent part of last season with the Redskins, will battle it out for the third quarterback position. Brennan says he feels much more natural in this offense than he did with Zorn and I'm willing to believe that. Bartel is a 27-year-old with decent size who almost never plays in a real game. The winner of their competition will come down to the preseason.