Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout and Playmaker Mobile correspondent with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches including Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox, Dick Vermeil and Dennis Green. He has been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).
Interview by Dewey Hammond.
Let’s head down the Beltway to Washington D.C. The Redskins. Obviously they picked up Donovan McNabb this offseason. It sounds strange to say but Donovan’s been in the league, I don’t know, a dozen years, and it still feels almost like he’s got something to prove, or that we’ve created this scenario in the media where he’s got something to prove, even though he had all those successful seasons in Philadelphia. How do you see that transition to Washington with Donovan McNabb?
First of all, it makes the Redskins relevant. That’s a franchise that needs to be relevant in the National Football League. By getting McNabb it gives them a bona fide playoff quarterback, playoff-tested, Super Bowl-tested, even though he hasn’t won one. He’s an upper-echelon quarterback. He’s going to want to prove himself. You know, he’s not a natural leader, he’s a little bit of that loosey-goosey jokester type, but I think coming into a new environment like Washington they’re going to gravitate to him because of the talent, and I think they’re going to be very successful. I think they’re going to challenge for the NFC East title next year, because of not only McNabb but their underrated defense. Once the dust settles with Haynesworth, he’s a stalwart now on that defensive interior, to go along with Andre Carter, London Flethcer, LeRon Landry, DeAngelo Hall. They have players — Rocky McIntosh, they got Adam Carriker from the Rams, who was a high pick who has been injury-prone but if he’s healthy he’s a big-time defensive lineman. McNabb will have something to prove. He’ll be consistent and he’s the best they’ve had in a while, so it’s a drastic improvement on Jason Campbell, and again, I think they’re going to be relevant and challenge for the NFC East title, especially with Mike Shanahan leading the way.
When you say next year you mean this immediate upcoming season?
This immediate upcoming season. You know, Shanahan has something to prove as well, and I know, talking to quarterbacks around the league — I’ve been around a long time and talking to these guys I always ask them, Who’s a great quarterbacks coach? And at least four or five guys have said the best by far is Mike Shanahan. He’s quarterback-friendly, that’s always the term they use. He knows how to deal with quarterbacks. He knows their strengths and weaknesses. He doesn’t make them over-think things, and he likes to move the guys out of the pocket, which fits McNabb perfectly. I see a match made in heaven. I see a good football team there in Washington.
You say he’s an upgrade from Jason Campbell. I certainly don’t disagree with you. What would you say to the Redskins fans out there who feel like Jason Campbell never really got a fair shake in Washington?
I think every quarterback gets a fair shake. I think people make excuses when they don’t perform. You’re either a performer or you’re not. He’s had ample time and he’s the same guy he was in college. He was inconsistent. He came up as a senior and had good stats, kind of like a Kyle Boller situation. They struggle early, they come up their senior year, they put up good stats, they get drafted, they get over-drafted, so they get fed in there but they’ve never been consistent throwing the football. I don’t care what scheme or what situation, if you’re good you’re good, if you’re consistent you’re consistent, especially at that position. And Campbell has never been consistent. He makes the same mistakes over and over. He has that I-don’t-give-a-hoot mentality about him. He sort of just doesn’t — he just doesn’t portray that leadership, strong leadership. You know, he’s a fringe guy, a fringe star, he’s more of a backup.
Sometimes you get exactly what you ask for, and the fans in Philadelphia for the last few years have been begging for Kevin Kolb under center. How’s that going to shake out now that Donovan’s gone?
I think he’s very similar to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Same arm, same competitiveness, same drive. I think he might struggle a little early as he gets used to receivers and all, but I think by the end of the year he could have a big year. He could have 30, 35 touchdowns. I really believe that. With their arsenal of wideouts, I think Kolb is going to be outstanding. I think once the dust settles, and it’s his — his preparation is outstanding, his work ethic, the coaches believe in him. He’s a great kid. He’s got all the intangibles. Again, I think he’s similar to Aaron Rodgers. His whole being is similar to Aaron Rodgers. He can make all the throws. I think he’s going to be outstanding. I don’t think they’ll miss a beat, and the question in Philly will be their defense. They have a young defense, new coordinator, some new people in the secondary. That’s their question mark. Offensively, I don’t think they’ll miss a beat. They may even be more productive.