NFC East: Jimmy Clausen

Total QBR: RG3 great, but not 'perfect'

November, 19, 2012
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III earned a perfect score of 158.3 in Sunday's victory on the traditional NFL passer rating scale. He's the fourth quarterback in the last five years to do that in a game. Yet his Total QBR -- the stat that measures a quarterback's contribution to his team's chances of winning on a scale from 0-100 -- was 93.7. Obviously an excellent score, but the lowest among the four perfect-passer-rating games of the last half-decade.

The reason, according to the folks at ESPN Stats & Information who administer the Total QBR stat, is Griffin's fumble late in the first half with the Redskins leading just 14-3. Washington recovered the fumble, so there was no harm done, but the fact of the fumble with the game still in doubt does damage to the player's QBR. That play dropped Griffin's from 99.7 to 93.5 at that moment. None of the other guys -- Tom Brady in 2010, Drew Brees in 2009 or Kurt Warner in 2008 -- fumbled in their perfect-passer-rating games.

For the week, Griffin's Total QBR ranks third so far in the NFL behind those of only the Saints' Brees and the Patriots' Brady. For the season to date, Griffin's Total QBR of 70.7 ranks eighth in the league.

Some other NFC East-related Total QBR notes from Sunday:

The Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo had a total QBR of 19.5 in the first half Sunday against the Browns, but he had a Total QBR of 78.0 in the second half and overtime as the Cowboys came back to win.

The Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles posted a Total QBR of 7.2 on Sunday in Washington in the first NFL start of his career. That's the fourth-lowest by a rookie in his starting debut over the last five years, trailing only the debuts of Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill and Jimmy Clausen. It's also worse than any game Michael Vick played over that same time span.

If you want a high Total QBR these days, you want to be playing quarterback against the Eagles' defense. Through the first six games of the season, opposing quarterbacks had a Total QBR of 28.2 against Philadelphia. But in the four games since the Eagles fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and replaced him with Todd Bowles, opponents have a league-high Total QBR of 87.1 to go with a staggering 78.4 completion percentage, 9.4 yards per pass attempt, 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Skins trade Campbell to Raiders

April, 24, 2010
Quarterback Jason Campbell has confirmed to that he's been traded to the Oakland Raiders this afternoon. The Redskins will receive a fourth-round pick from the Raiders in the 2012 draft, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Campbell told me via phone this afternoon that he and his agent, Joel Segal, had received interest from the Panthers on Friday until they selected Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen with the No. 48 overall pick. But Campbell was excited about the prospect of a fresh start after being replaced by Donovan McNabb in Washington.

"I look at this as getting to start over," said Campbell. "I talked to Mr. [Al] Davis, and he wanted me for two years. He wants me to help their team to a new level."

When I asked him whether he was assured a starting role, Campbell responded, "I got that feeling. I'm going to work hard to make sure that happens."

Talks between the Redskins and Raiders heated up Saturday morning and Campbell's new contract was agreed upon by about noon ET. He'll make $3.1 million in 2010 and $4.5 million in 2011. And Davis has left the door open to Campbell playing his way into more money in 2011.

"Had I stayed [in Washington], there was no guarantee I was going to be the backup," said Campbell. "Now I have a chance to go play for a team that really wants me."

We'll have more on this trade throughout the afternoon.


Eagles ready to address secondary?

April, 23, 2010
From several conversations I've had today, it became clear that a couple of NFC East teams were thrilled the Eagles decided to take Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham instead of Texas safety Earl Thomas after trading up 11 spots in the first round of Thursday's draft. The Cowboys liked Thomas so much that they considered trying to move from No. 27 to 12 or 13.

That may have required them giving up a first-round pick in 2011 in addition to their second-rounder, which was too steep. When the Cowboys saw the Eagles move to No. 13, they just knew the pick would be Thomas. And there was some relief in the room when Graham's name was called instead.

Tennessee's Eric Berry and Thomas were both considered "special" players. But Eagles coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman coveted Graham's pass-rushing ability. And I believe an elite pass-rusher has more effect on a game than a top-flight safety.

So what do the Eagles do this evening? They have the Donovan McNabb pick, which is the fifth pick of the second round. Paul Domowitch of the Daily News takes a look at all of the candidates at safety and cornerback. There was a big run on corners late in the first round. That's why it wouldn't surprise me if the Eagles selected South Florida safety Nate Allen. He's not in the Berry/Thomas category, but Allen makes plays on the ball and he has excellent range. He's a much better fit for Sean McDermott's defense than USC's Taylor Mays, who is still available.

Obviously, the story of the night in the league will be the quarterbacks. When will Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy go off the board? But the Eagles have a couple of premium picks in the second round. It's still too early to draft based solely on need, but don't be surprised if Allen's the guy. I also know the Cowboys like Allen, but not enough to move all the way from No. 59.

Skins draft-day nuggets: Bradford in play?

April, 22, 2010
By his presence alone, Mike Shanahan made the Washington Redskins relevant again in the league. Then he followed it up with the most fascinating trade of the past two decades -- in my opinion. Because of the Donovan McNabb trade, a lot of us are wondering whether Shanahan and Bruce Allen have another trick up their sleeves with the No. 4 overall pick.

The mock draft coalition has swung its support toward Oklahoma left tackle Trent Williams with that pick. There's a belief that his ability to play other positions on the line makes him even more valuable. But the King of the Mock (sorry, Mel), Rick "Goose" Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, is sticking with Oklahoma State's Russell Okung at No. 4. You have to admire Shanahan and Allen's secrecy. Other than sending out quarterback smokescreens ("we LOVE Jimmy Clausen"), the two have played it close to the vest.

There are even rumors the Redskins could bypass a left tackle and take safety Eric Berry, who may be the safest choice in the entire draft based on his remarkable college career and skillset. Mike Wise of the Post is a little bummed that he thinks the Redskins will do the right thing tonight. He misses being able to criticize Vinny Cerrato before the pick is even made.

Rick Maese of the Post has a nice breakdown of all the Skins' options. There's a chance one of the top defensive tackles in the draft -- Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy -- could be available at No. 4. Oh, and don't forget that Shanahan and Allen could try to bail out on the pick and try to land some picks on Day 2.

Dan Graziano of AOL Fanhouse is reporting that Washington is still having "discussions" with the Rams about moving up to select quarterback Sam Bradford. But while I do believe that Shanahan thinks Bradford is a remarkable talent, I don't see him creating an awkward situation with McNabb. It would certainly be the splashiest move of the draft, but it doesn't make a lot of sense.

The Skins' beat writer for the Post, Jason Reid, also thinks Bradford is still in play. I think the Skins want us to believe that just about everyone is "in play." I'd expect the Redskins to be on the clock at about 8:15 p.m. ET. This should be very interesting. Part of me wants to hop a plane to Redskins Park this very minute.

Video: Gruden's QB camp -- Jimmy Clausen

April, 16, 2010

Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen talks to former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden about how to be great in the NFL, having the freedom to call plays and how to better avoid turnovers.

How does Clausen affect Campbell's status?

April, 12, 2010
In his weekly mailbag Monday,'s John Clayton discussed Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell's future. He says that a lot will hinge on what the Bills do at No. 9 overall in the upcoming draft.

The timing of the McNabb deal held back any quick solution for Campbell," writes Clayton. "You can see how this is going to go. Campbell will watch the [Jimmy] Clausen situation closely. If the Bills take Clausen at No. 9, Campbell will likely have to wait until Saturday, April 24, with hopes that the Redskins deal him to the Raiders as part of a draft-day trade.

"The Bills, meanwhile, could factor Campbell's availability into what they do at quarterback. The cost of Campbell won't be more than a lower-round pick, a bargain for a starting quarterback. That could give the Bills the luxury of taking a Colt McCoy or a Tim Tebow and still getting Campbell as a starting quarterback to buy time for their future QB's development."

It's too bad a talented quarterback such as Campbell has to pin his hopes on the Bills and Raiders, but it certainly beats sticking around to be Donovan McNabb's backup. So what would it take to land Campbell in a trade? I think the Bills could probably get it done for a fifth-round pick.

If something's going to happen, I think it will take place on the third day of the draft. Call it a hunch.

Scouts Inc.: Okung makes sense for Skins

April, 2, 2010
Sam Bradford surely will be off the board when Washington makes its first-round selection, but there is speculation the Redskins may select Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen with that fourth overall pick to be their quarterback of the future.

[+] EnlargeRussell Okung
Icon SMISelecting Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung would help the Redskins rebuild an aging offensive line.
I would much rather take Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung to rebuild an aging offensive line. I think Okung is the far superior prospect to Clausen and has far less bust potential, but let’s examine how Clausen would fit in with Mike Shanahan’s offensive scheme.

Shanahan is as exceptional offensive mind. He gets a lot out of the quarterback position overall and has consistently generated a great deal from rushing attacks that do not feature a lot of expensive resources dedicated to the running back or offensive line positions. He also is a very adept playcaller and understands the value of a balanced attack.

Clausen has a lot going for him. Unlike many quarterback prospects, he comes from a pro-style offense and had the benefit of an NFL-caliber coach guiding him throughout his college career. He values the football and isn’t one to take a lot of unnecessary risks.

Clausen does a nice job of feeling pressure and executing play-action, a necessity with Shanahan. Clausen also processes information quickly and adeptly while displaying solid accuracy to all levels, also key components to excelling in Shanahan’s offense.

Physically, he isn’t overwhelming in any one area, but in the same respect, I don’t see him lacking in a particular department either. He has good size, a good arm and moves pretty well. To compare him to former Shanahan quarterbacks, he doesn’t move as well as Jake Plummer and probably isn’t as crafty. Clausen doesn’t have the overwhelming arm strength and physicality of Jay Cutler, but once again, he is pretty much in the middle of these two in terms of these skills.

His arm is more impressive than Plummer’s. He also seems to have the head for the game that Shanahan covets and could be effective on designed roll-outs, a staple of Shanahan’s passing attack. But again, he probably wouldn’t be exceptional with such play calls.

This assessment isn’t a real strong argument for or against Clausen as the next in line for Shanahan to groom, but that is the case with Clausen in just about any system. I don’t see him as an ideal fit in a deep downfield passing game like the one San Diego employs or in a pure West Coast attack, but he wouldn’t be a massive liability in either. But to use the fourth overall selection on a quarterback, I want a much stronger argument in the “For” column than I am presenting.

If it were up to me, I would select Okung and give Jason Campbell every opportunity to be the Redskins’ quarterback. Campbell may never be great, but he has been given a raw deal throughout his career to this point. The guidance and stability Shanahan should provide could really propel this former first-round pick’s career.

Clausen to visit Redskins Park

April, 1, 2010
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has been very complimentary of Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen while some draft experts have picked the player apart. Now Shanahan will take a closer look.

Clausen will fly to Washington on Friday evening and then meet with Redskins officials on Saturday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. And the Redskins won't stop there. Schefter reports that Washington will hold a private workout for Clausen on April 15 in South Bend, Ind.

You always want to be on the lookout for smokescreens before the draft, but it sounds like the Redskins have a genuine interest in Clausen. At the recent owners meetings, Shanahan refused to name a starting quarterback. Jason Campbell has been the starter since '06, but he'll be challenged by Rex Grossman and whichever quarterback the Redskins select this month.

Shanahan has a lot of respect for Clausen's college head coach Charlie Weis and he's admitted that playing in a pro-style offense gives the quarterback somewhat of a head start.

Draft Watch: NFC East

March, 17, 2010
NFC Needs Revisited: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Draft Watch: Biggest needs (2/17) | Busts/gems (2/24) | Schemes, themes (3/3) | Recent history (3/10) | Needs revisited (3/17) | Under-the-radar needs (3/26) | History in that spot (3/31) | Draft approach (4/7) | Decision-makers (4/14) | Dream scenario/Plan B (4/21)

Each Wednesday leading up to the NFL draft (April 22-24), the blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: Biggest needs revisited.

Dallas Cowboys

Since the Cowboys haven't made a single move in free agency, nothing has changed. They certainly didn't feel a sense of urgency to outbid the Giants for safety Antrel Rolle or the Eagles for free safety Marlin Jackson. But it wouldn't surprise me if the Cowboys addressed their need at safety with a veteran such as the Rams' O.J. Atogwe. At the No. 27 spot in the draft, you might have a shot at either South Florida's Nate Allen or USC's Taylor Mays. But I don't think the Cowboys will go either direction.

In conversations with folks at Valley Ranch, the offensive line is what gets mentioned the most. If the Cowboys can identify a talented offensive tackle or guard late in the first round, that's the direction they'll go. There's also the possibility they'll try to trade down because this appears to be a relatively deep draft. Obviously, place-kicker continues to be a glaring need. But after that, it's still offensive line, safety, inside linebacker and then probably wide receiver. With the rise of Miles Austin and the intrigue of Kevin Ogletree, I could see the Cowboys waiting until later in the draft to grab a wide receiver. After all, both Austin and Ogletree were undrafted players.

New York Giants

The Giants addressed a major need with the signing of Rolle, although I'm not sure he's worth $15 million guaranteed. Now they can focus on shoring up their linebacker situation. Second-year player Clint Sintim is expected to start at strongside linebacker, but there's a gaping hole at middle linebacker with the release of Antonio Pierce. It doesn't look like Jonathan Goff is quite ready to fill the position from within, so the Giants will be hoping that Alabama's Rolando McClain slips to them at No. 15. Outside of the defensive tackles from Oklahoma and Nebraska, I think McClain may have been the best defensive player in the country. He's incredibly smart and has tremendous size and athleticism. This just seems like a Jerry Reese pick to me.

The Giants also need to figure out their situation at defensive tackle. You have to think Chris Canty will have an easier time after battling injuries in '09 and perhaps Rocky Bernard will finally show up. But you can't simply depend on those things. The Giants probably will take a defensive tackle in the draft and then they'll look at some offensive linemen. It's probably the end of the road for Kareem McKenzie at right tackle. The Giants need to continue drafting and developing young offensive linemen and I think that will be a priority for Reese. At running back, you have to wonder how Andre Brown will look returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon. It's hard to find a lot of running backs who've made successful comebacks from that particular injury.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have a potential solution at safety with Marlin Jackson, but it's still a position of need. You can't depend on Jackson being able to recover from his second ACL surgery in as many years. But I don't expect the Eagles to take a safety at No. 24 because Allen and Mays aren't blowing anyone away. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Eagles select a cornerback in the first round. It's a huge position of need with Sheldon Brown starting to break down a little bit and Joselio Hanson taking a step back after his suspension. This secondary had no chance against Tony Romo and the Cowboys late in the season, and that has to be fixed.

The Eagles also need more help in the pass rush. I know they traded for Darryl Tapp on Tuesday, but he put up pedestrian numbers for the Seahawks. If a pass-rushing defensive end starts slipping next month, the Eagles will be ready to pounce. The Eagles also need to think about a long-term solution at center with Jamaal Jackson coming back from a torn ACL. I know that Baylor center J.D. Walton is projected to go in the second round and he's the type of athletic player Andy Reid likes. I also know that the Eagles think a lot of versatile guard/center Nick Cole, who filled in nicely at right guard last season.

And don't be surprised if the Eagles go after a running back in the later rounds. Mike Bell is a young player, but the Eagles could still use more juice at the position.

Washington Redskins

After a slow start to free agency, the Redskins are now sifting through a list of former stars -- and signing some of them. Larry Johnson was one of the best running backs in the league -- four years ago. He's an odd "complement" to Clinton Portis because both players sort of bang around between the tackles. There's simply not much change of pace. That's why I feel like running back is still a position of need in the draft.

A lot of Redskins believe that quarterback is the biggest position of need, but I tend to think left tackle should be the bigger priority. Washington didn't really give Jason Campbell any chance last season, but he still put up decent numbers. With Chris Samuels retiring, it's time to find a long-term solution at left tackle. I think you take Russell Okung at No. 4 and never look back. But Mike Shanahan will be tempted by Jimmy Clausen. He knows he played in a pro-style offense and he won't get caught up in all this talk about Clausen coming off as cocky during the combine. Don't you want your quarterbacks to have a little swagger?

The signing of nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu might be one of the most underrated signings of the offseason. If he can return to his form of '08 (pre Achilles tendon injury), then new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett can be more creative with Albert Haynesworth. You also have needs at linebacker, safety and cornerback. London Fletcher is an excellent player, but he wasn't made for the 3-4. He'll be eventually be phased out of the defense -- and it might happen sooner than some of you think. General manager Bruce Allen and Shanahan will be looking for bigger players at inside linebacker. I think Rocky McIntosh will be fine, but Fletcher will have a tough time taking on some of the enormous centers and guards in the NFC East.

The Big Question: QB for the Redskins?

March, 16, 2010
NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Should the Redskins select a quarterback at No. 4 overall?

[+] EnlargeClausen
Kyle Terada/US PresswireJimmy Clausen will likely be available when the Redskins pick at No. 4.
Now that conventional wisdom (and mock draft specialists) point to the St. Louis Rams selecting Oklahoma's Sam Bradford No. 1 overall, the Redskins are in an interesting position. With Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung likely available, the Redskins could go a long way in replacing Pro Bowler Chris Samuels, who recently retired because of a neck injury.

Okung's probably the safest pick at No. 4 overall -- and I think it would be the wisest selection. But Mike Shanahan knows more than anyone the importance of the quarterback position, and it's hard to tell if he's sold on Jason Campbell. He's reportedly watched hours of film on Jimmy Clausen, so I'm sure he's formed a pretty strong opinion of the former Notre Dame quarterback. We keep reading that Clausen's alleged cockiness put off some teams at the combine, but I haven't heard that complaint from anyone in the Redskins organization.

ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are split on Clausen. Kiper has the Redskins selecting Clausen at No. 4, but McShay's never been sold on him. The big thing Clausen has going for him is that he's played in Charlie Weis' pro-style offense and he's comfortable taking snaps from center. Players such as Bradford, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy are having to make some major adjustments in terms of their drops, but Clausen's been doing it for years.

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and Shanahan haven't made any knee-jerk moves in trying to change the culture of the organization. If you look at what Bill Parcells and the Dolphins did when they first got to South Florida, they took the best left tackle in the draft in Jake Long. He'll likely start at that position for the next eight or nine seasons. They eventually selected Chad Henne, but the Dolphins didn't rush the process. It was Chad Pennington who led the team to the playoffs in '08.

Taking Clausen in the first round might be the most exciting move the Redskins could make, but acquiring a cornerstone of the offensive line will provide a better foundation. You guys on board with Okung at No. 4 or do you want Clausen? Use the "comments" section to answer The Big Question.

Why aren't teams coming after McNabb?

March, 15, 2010
When the Cowboys recorded back-to-back wins over the Eagles last season (three in all), there was a school of thought (led by the Philadelphia Daily News' Rich Hofmann) that Donovan McNabb had taken his last snap in Philly. Eagles coach Andy Reid insisted that McNabb would be his quarterback in 2010, but then, what else did you expect him to say?

[+] EnlargeDonovan McNabb
Christopher Hanewinckel/US PresswireAt 33, Donovan McNabb appears to still have a number of productive seasons ahead of him.
But as the draft approaches, it's becoming more and more likely the Eagles will put off the Kevin Kolb era for at least one more season. Today in his award-winning (I assume) Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King wondered aloud why more quarterback-needy teams aren't lining up to trade for McNabb. And I couldn't agree more with Peter on the theory that trading a first-round pick for McNabb is actually safer than spending $35 million or so on a rookie quarterback such as Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen. Here's a portion of Peter's column:

"A playoff quarterback near his prime can be had for a premium price," writes King. "The fact that there's a real chance the Eagles could deal McNabb, and that McNabb is a half-year younger than Peyton Manning and apparently intends to play four or five more seasons, and also apparently has kicked the injury bug, leads me to this question: What in the world are all these quarterback-needy teams doing? Why aren't teams running to deal for McNabb?

"The prime object of this game in the personnel area is to get a quarterback who can win games and lead your team, and a good, proven one is out there. The Eagles aren't shopping him, but they surely are listening. I asked a coach with a quarterback need about McNabb, and the coach said because McNabb is on the last year of his contract and would probably need to be re-signed, and the fact that Philadelphia would want a high draft choice for him in a very good draft, and the fact that he doesn't have a lot of years left, all combine to make it a tough trade. Understood. Good factors all. But McNabb is 33.

"I have my own problems with McNabb. I don't consider him on the Manning-Brady-Brees plane. I think the Eagles should go with Kolb and make the best deal they can for McNabb this offseason, because, basically, it's Groundhog Day in Philadelphia. Every year's the same, and I don't see McNabb getting Philly over the hump and into another Super Bowl. So why would I want to pawn him off on another quarterback-needy team when I don't think he's a top-five quarterback? Simple. Because he's a top-10 or top-12 quarterback, and they're too hard to find to let one pass when he's just sitting there for the taking.

"McNabb would shore up any team's most important position for the next half-decade. Some team's going to take Jimmy Clausen between, say, the fourth and 20th pick in the first round, and whoever takes him is going to have no idea if he's the long-term solution at quarterback."

In the case of the Vikings, they can't make a play for McNabb until they hear from Brett Favre. But even if they're willing to offer a first-rounder for McNabb, the Eagles might not want to help out a team that competes in the same conference. But if teams such as the Bills or Rams (same conference but not a true threat) put a nice package together, surely the Eagles would be interested.

A scenario in which McNabb, Kolb and Michael Vick all return to the Eagles still seems unlikely despite what you're hearing on at least one network. Courage awards aside, Vick had no choice but to say all the right things in '09. But I could see him becoming extremely frustrated during another season of limited Wildcat reps. I don't think it makes any sense for the Eagles to bring him back. Do we think that Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will spend much of this offseason trying to develop an expanded Wildcat package?

Former Eagles general manager Tom Heckert is now with Cleveland, so I thought he might make a play for McNabb. But now the Browns have signed former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, a man coming off by far the worst season of his career. Perhaps a team will finally panic when we get closer to the draft and make a strong offer for McNabb.

But if not, it looks like the Eagles are prepared to go with a lame-duck quarterback in 2010. I think you're asking for problems with that approach, but maybe the Eagles are willing to take the risk. Meanwhile, Kolb continues to say all the right things publicly. Something tells me, though, that he won't be thrilled with yet another season on the sideline. Call it intuition after watching how much he enjoyed those two starts in '09.

One last note from King: Eagles quarterbacks coach James Urban and Mornhinweg were in the Bronx on Friday to watch Fordham quarterback John Skelton's pro day. Doesn't that seem like a little overkill for a late-round prospect from a school not known for being an NFL farm system? (apologies to Fordham grads Alex Wojciechowicz and Vince Lombardi of Seven Blocks of Granite fame).

Clausen to Skins gaining steam

March, 15, 2010
For those of you who continue to ask about the Beast mock draft, I've been working up to 17 hours per day on the final product, which may or may not ever see the light of day. I've booked the Red Lobster in Times Square for a potential release party on the eve of the draft, but hold off on booking airfare for now.

In other news, mock drafters from across the nation have been publishing their first-round predictions. On Sunday, the ubiquitous Mike Lombardi released his top-10 mock draft on NFL Network. The former Raiders scout tends to have a good feel for these things, so you should know that he has Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen going to the Redskins at No. 4 overall. Lombardi has the St. Louis Rams selecting Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

One of our favorite mock specialists,'s Don Banks, thinks the Redskins will likely select Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung if Bradford's off the board. Here's the Banks mock 3.0, which was released a little more than a week ago.

Mel Kiper has the Redskins selecting Jimmy Clausen at No. 4, but my cousin, Todd McShay, is still not sold on the Notre Dame quarterback. McShay agrees that the Skins will go with Okung.

Podcast: Jaworski on Vick's future

March, 3, 2010
ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski discusses Michael Vick's future in Philadelphia. If Kevin Kolb is the starter, the locker room could get testy with an angry Michael Vick. Plus, Jaworski shares his thoughts on Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow.

Shanahan knows what a QB looks like

February, 26, 2010
Mike ShanahanAP Photo/Darron CummingsNew Redskins coach Mike Shanahan held court with the media at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday.

INDIANAPOLIS -- For years, Mike Shanahan hasn't had a presence at the NFL combine. Even with Broncos beat writers staking out every exit of his hotel, Shanahan's stealth-like approach allowed him to get in and out of Indy without being noticed.

That's what made his appearance Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium so unusual. He arrived at 10:45 a.m. ET and spent more than an hour visiting with reporters and other bystanders. At one point, Shanahan said, "Two more questions, guys." Then he stayed and did one-on-ones for the next 30 minutes. I'm not saying Shanahan's going to turn into an open book, but it's obvious that he's now the face of the Washington Redskins.

Now, if he'd just come out and tell us who he's going to take with the No. 4 pick in April's draft. Shanahan was predictably coy with most of his answers, although he didn't hide his passion for free-agent running back LaDainian Tomlinson when I broached the topic.

But the main thing on everyone's mind is the quarterback situation in Washington. Shanahan didn't exactly give incumbent starter Jason Campbell a ringing endorsement Friday, although he expressed his "admiration" for the way Campbell overcame so much adversity in '09 -- namely preserving most of his body parts while playing behind an injury-ravaged offensive line. Shanahan confirmed that the Skins will offer Campbell, a restricted free agent, a tender that probably will have first- and third-round compensation attached. If he signs the tender, Campbell would make $3.268 million in 2010 -- otherwise known as Sage Rosenfels money.

[+] EnlargeJason Campbell
Geoff Burke/US PresswireThe Redskins will offer Jason Campbell a tender for 2010, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Campbell is well within his rights to wonder why the Redskins would ask him to potentially start at quarterback while paying him second-string money. And while he's the ultimate team player -- as evidenced by his behavior last offseason while owner Dan Snyder fawned over other quarterbacks -- there's a chance Campbell could decide not to sign the tender and skip Shanahan's offseason workouts. General manager Bruce Allen is scheduled to meet with Campbell's agent Joel Segal during the combine, according to a league source. Maybe they'll flesh out some of the details. For now, though, Campbell's focused on remaining the starter in 2010.

"No matter who they take, I plan on winning the starting job," Campbell told me Friday. "My plan is to come out and have a great year."

Shanahan has had the good fortune of working with Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Steve Young and John Elway in the past. He knows better than anyone that this is a quarterback's league and that's what led him to trade the 15th and 68th overall picks in the '06 draft to move up and select Jay Cutler at No. 11. He made this move despite the fact that Jake Plummer had led the Broncos to the '05 AFC Championship Game. And by November of the '06 season, Shanahan had made Cutler the full-time starter.

I'm told that Shanahan became obsessed with getting a new quarterback after spending a lot of time with Peyton Manning during Pro Bowl week five years ago. He couldn't believe that Manning was actually studying for the Pro Bowl, something that a free spirit such as Plummer might avoid.

Obviously Shanahan's not going to tip his hand at this point, but you can guarantee that he already has a strong opinion on the top quarterbacks in this draft. I asked him how much college football he watched during his season away from the game and he admitted that it was more than usual. And you can bet that he was paying particular attention to Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Shanahan said he plans on going to the pro days for both of those quarterbacks.

"You just look at the film," said Shanahan, referring to Bradford. "He's played enough that people should have a strong opinion."

Of course, there's a decent chance Bradford will be off the board when the Redskins pick at No. 4. The St. Louis Rams could use a franchise quarterback about now. That leaves Clausen in the mix and perhaps Texas' Colt McCoy in the second round.

I think Shanahan definitely respects what Campbell has done with the Redskins, but the coach's track record suggests he's going to try to make a splash in this draft. And no matter how much you like offensive tackles Russell Okung or Bryan Bulaga, the game's not about the left tackle.

On Friday, Shanahan didn't say anything particularly revealing, but in a lot of ways, his past speaks for itself.

Shooting down a Campbell rumor

February, 25, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- When you get hundreds of coaches, scouts, reporters and agents in one place, there are bound to be some rumors floating around. One such rumor involved the Redskins supposedly sending quarterback Jason Campbell to Buffalo in exchange for safety Donte Whitner.

The Redskins have informed Campbell that there's nothing to the rumor, according to a league source. At this point, the club is planning for Campbell, a restricted free agent, to be on the 2010 roster -- and perhaps beyond. Campbell's agent, Joel Segal, is expected to meet with Allen during the combine to discuss the quarterback's future. As I reported last week, Shanahan has told Campbell that he's planning to bring him back next season.

The Skins could pay the highest tender to Campbell ($3.268 million) in 2010 and see how he performs or they could offer him a new two-year contract with some guaranteed money. Unless another team blows the Skins away with a trade offer, I think Campbell will be back in 2010. After that, all bets are off. The Redskins will likely take a long look at quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen and try to determine if either player is a franchise quarterback.

If they don't feel strongly about either player, then it would make sense to select Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung at No. 4 and retain Campbell as the starter. Campbell put up very respectable numbers playing behind arguably the worst offensive line in the league in '09. I'm sure some of that's showing up as Shanahan and his staff continue to watch every snap from last season.

And can you imagine having to watch every snap of the Skins' '09 season? It's not a healthy situation. By the way, I actually joined Shanahan on a crowded elevator earlier this evening but it didn't seem like the appropriate time to ask about Campbell's future.