Monday, July 2, 2012
Looking at McNabb's AFC North prospects
By Jamison Hensley
Veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb said last week there's an "an 80 to 90 percent chance" he'll play this season. According to the 35-year-old quarterback, there are three teams that he's considering, although he declined to name them. As ESPN's Adam Schefter pointed out, it could take an injury in training camp before a team considers McNabb.
I have my doubts whether McNabb, who has played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, has anything left. In six starts for the Vikings last season, he threw four touchdown passes and lost five times. It also doesn't seem like McNabb has drawn the interest of his former longtime coach Andy Reid, which should worry teams because Philadelphia needs a No. 2 passer.
Here's how I assess his chances with the AFC North teams:
BENGALS: Not happening here. Cincinnati is set at backup quarterback with Bruce Gradkowski. He is familiar with offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's system (he previously played under Gruden in Tampa Bay) and he led a come-from-behind victory in the season opener last year. McNabb's name won't be brought up in any conversation.
BROWNS: It's easy to draw a connection here with McNabb's ties to coach Pat Shumur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress. But bringing in McNabb would add an unwanted distraction for a team looking to start a new era with rookie first-round pick Brandon Weeden. I've never had a problem with keeping Colt McCoy as the backup because he doesn't have a disruptive personality. If McNabb was such a good mentor, the Vikings wouldn't have cut him in early December.
RAVENS: This is one spot where I could see some potential if the Ravens are feeling uneasy about their backup spot later this summer. When Joe Flacco missed the final day of mandatory minicamp for the birth of his son, backup quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Curtis Painter were awful. During one team drill, Taylor and Painter each had an interception returned for a touchdown. Plus, after leading the Ravens to the playoffs the past four years, Flacco wouldn't be threatened by the addition of McNabb.
STEELERS: Don't see much of a fit here. The Steelers already have two experienced backups in Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, and Pittsburgh has a familiarity with both. In ranking the backup quarterback situations in the division last month, I talked about how the Steelers have the best insurance policy at this position in the AFC North. Leftwich has started 49 games (24-25 record) and passed for 10,260 yards and 58 touchdowns. Batch is 5-2 as a spot starter since joining the Steelers in 2003.