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Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 12/15/2010

McNabb: "You have to start up front"

By Dan Steinberg

(By John McDonnell - TWP)


Last year, after Fred Smoot told me he wanted to be an NFL GM, I asked him his NFL personnel philosophy.

"Fat boys wins my game," he told me. "I know football, and in December, in the playoffs, fat boys win. Whoever's got the best fat boys is gonna win, so I'm gonna collect fat boys. I can find Fred Smoots -- not a dime a dozen, but I can find cornerbacks that can make plays. I can find that. I can't find a big boy that can push this line for four quarters."

Dozens of fans agreed that they loved fat boys. And you know who else agrees with that philosophy? Donovan McNabb. The quarterback isn't as colorful in his description as Smoot, but when ESPN 980's Kevin Sheehan asked him Tuesday where he'd focus if he were in Mike Shanhan and Bruce Allen's shoes, he agreed with Smoot.

"To be in their shoes, I'm sure, is probably tougher than to be in my shoes," McNabb said. "And I'm only going by what I've seen and what I've been a part of. You have to start up front, on the defensive line and offensive line. That's where you have to start....You know, you fill in guys outside: the receivers, the linebackers, the safeties, whatever it might be. You fill in [with] the later picks."

That, of course, is not how the Redskins have typically rolled. Before drafting Trent Williams in the first round this April, the franchise had selected just four offensive linemen in the top four rounds of the draft since 2000. And Vinny Cerrato, of course, had an explanation for that philosophy.

"You can't just go take a need," he once said. "The way that you can screw up your team is if you go draft a need, you're gonna get a bunch of guys at those positions but you're not gonna be happy with the results."

By Dan Steinberg  | December 15, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Comments

Dire need for linemen aside, they might consider a WR with an early pick.

Posted by: DKSW | December 15, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Obviously we do need to be better up front but Mcnabb has no business throwing guys under the bus. There are too many times where he has time to throw but consistently throws behind receivers and the ground. One can only wonder if there was a resaon that he got traded within the division. DUH!!!!

Posted by: MaxnDC | December 15, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"You can't just go take a need..." What are you supposed to do, draft at positions where you already have pro bowlers? Oops, Vinny did that when he drafted Fred Davis. That wasn't meant as a knock on Davis, just the point that they already had a pro bowl tight end in his 20's and but drafted a tight end in the second round instead of a running back or O-lineman. I hope people consider this when they're wondering why this team sucks.

Posted by: largetony86 | December 15, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Dire need for linemen aside, they might consider a WR with an early pick.

Posted by: DKSW | December 15, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

We need to look NT C G with our first 2 picks.

Posted by: alex35332 | December 15, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, how were the redskins suppossed to know that? It's not like they made offensive lines famous or anything.

Posted by: Scoonie97 | December 15, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about what Vinny Cerrato did to this team is enraging.

Posted by: jdd4p | December 15, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris Neild from WVU as NT with an early pick. Dude is a beast. Also, some interior linemen. Recievers: Julio Jones, Dude from Georgia would be cool too.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | December 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Problem is there aren't any top flight olinemen in this draft. The top talent is more later 1st round worthy. I say we go NT with our first pick. I like Paea from Oregon State. Isn't "huge" at 311, but he's got some serious strength.

Posted by: Andymr | December 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Want a winning team in 2011? Use all picks on the O and D line!
Want the same old, same ole in 2011? Use one of our picks on any other position!

Posted by: DCull | December 15, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Vinny Cerrato's departure really was a win-win situation. The Redskins win because they've now got a shot at better personnel in the draft. And somewhere a village wins, because they get their idiot back.

Posted by: wahoo2x | December 15, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I've been preaching that sermon for years now. It all starts and ends up front!

Really Steinberg, Vinny 'the hack' Cerrato regaling us with his specious knowledge? He set us back like.. 3 years with that backwater philosophy. Where is he and what is he doing now.. selling watches out of the trunk of a car? I rest my case.

Posted by: iubiquity | December 15, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness we had Vinny Cerrato and his brilliant philosophy to guide us through the Maroon & Black era. Anyone else would have "screwed up the team."

Posted by: drischord | December 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I hate it when I here these stupid GM's talk about drafting best available athletes. That philosophy applies when your team has reached a very balanced position and is a contender. Teams at the Redskins talent/depth level must draft for need. For example, the Washington Capitals can draft best available players for now.

Posted by: tramellcanady | December 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Want a winning team in 2011? Use all picks on the O and D line!
Want the same old, same ole in 2011? Use one of our picks on any other position!

Posted by: DCull | December 15, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree! They should even trade back for more picks and use exclusively on OL and DL. I know folks will complain about the lack of skill players, but Rome was not built in a day. We can suffer through another 7-9 or 6-10 season with young, promising lineman. Perhaps, even the current skill players would look better with better linemen anyway.

Posted by: tramellcanady | December 15, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Why is Fred Smoot not in the NFL still? Guy is only 31 you'd think he'd be able to help someone in the secondary.

Posted by: mjsciann1 | December 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who ask VC his opinion about football has almost as many rocks in his head as Cerrato! Who cares what he thinks? He's already shown his inability.

Posted by: skinswitabullet | December 15, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The Skins also need a QB - the washed up bum that they traded a second and fourth pick for is ranked 25th in the NFL.

Posted by: nativedc | December 15, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs had more talent here than Shanahan.

The team had acquired a 24 year old Portis right off the bat and added a 25 year old Santana Moss the next offseason.

Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen were in their primes and Randy Thomas had been acquired in free agency in 2003 from the Jets.

You compare that to the talent that is here now.

There is no one to compare on this offense with those players.

We have an old Portis and old Moss. There is no Samuels in his prime. There is no durable RT like Jansen. No guard that can pull like Thomas.

You can debate which 34 year old battered quarterback, Brunell or McNabb, was better but neither player was going to lift this club on his shoulders.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | December 15, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

McNabb is correct. Smoot is correct. What I don't understand is why an owner who proclaims himself a lifelong Redskins fan doesn't already know that games are won and lost in the trenches. Want to have a strong run game? Get quality linemen. Want to protect your QB so he can make plays? Get quality linemen. Want to stop the opponent's run and pass game? Get quality linemen. This is not rocket science. It's football 101.

Posted by: wkrdove | December 15, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

If only we had a defensive lineman that could dominate on every play, and take on 2 blockers?? Oh wait we didn't know how to use him right.

Its nice McNabb can see we need offensive and defensive linemen, can he also see that he is hurting this team and maybe he should actually complete passes to his own team?

Posted by: Steveo11 | December 15, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Want a winning team in 2011? Use all picks on the O and D line!
Want the same old, same ole in 2011? Use one of our picks on any other position!

Posted by: DCull |
~~~~~~~~
I totally agree! They should even trade back for more picks and use exclusively on OL and DL. I know folks will complain about the lack of skill players, but Rome was not built in a day. We can suffer through another 7-9 or 6-10 season with young, promising lineman. Perhaps, even the current skill players would look better with better linemen anyway.

Posted by: tramellcanady
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I WANT to agree, but I can't-you all apparently haven't seen A.J. Green, the Georgia WR. I swear to god he's a bigger, faster even more dynamic OchoCinco, think a smoother running, more agile Randy Moss-HE'S THAT SPECIAL!! I'm not overdoing it check him out the next time he plays and you will agree with me.

If we get a chance to take him-we must take him.

This is coming from someone who ABHORS the idea of taking another WR with ANY pick, but this one's special. Luckily,for us he'll be the 3rd pick in the draft so we won't even have a chance at him.

If Nick Fairley, the Auburn DL is available we must take him, but again he may go with the second pick overall.

If everything stays the same, the Skins' will be picking between 6 & 11, at that point Adrian Clayborn the 6'4-285lb Iowa DE should be there for us as well as Bruce Carter, the Tarheel LB. They must be considered. Because Rome wasn't built in a day, you just can't draft ALL linemen-that's not a good strategy, but neither is Cerrato's strategy of not drafting them at all.


But prepare yourselves mentally, we CANNOT use our 1st pick on a OL, much as we need them-there's none worthy of that high a pick this time, in fact, don't be suprised if Jake Locker, the Huskies QB is picked-he had a terrible senior year, but in other years he looked like Jay Cutler with even better wheels. He's too super athletic to just dismiss.Plus, Jay Cutler was coming from Vanderbilt, not exactly a nat'l power and Shanahan took a chance on him, so he may look past Locker's senior year.

Plus, by Shanahan's actions all year long, he's showing he didn't CHOOSE McNabb-Dan Snyder did. So, after gamely trying it Snyder's way, he's going to want his own QB and Locker is more his type than Mallett, a big-armed, but not really athlectic QB.

If we don't take a Locker in the 1st round (he should be available), I'm hoping the Shanahans like Blaine Gabbert,the Mizzou QB and potentially a Roethlisberger clone.

Posted by: ArmchairGM | December 15, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The funniest thing ever is Vinny lecturing about not drafting for need then drafting 3 reciever busts in one round. The sad part is how many good WRs and players were taken after our picks. Vinny didn't just pick by need but popularity too.

Posted by: Eman8 | December 15, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

The funniest thing ever is Vinny lecturing about not drafting for need then drafting 3 reciever busts in one round. The sad part is how many good WRs and players were taken after our picks. Vinny didn't just pick by need but popularity too.

Posted by: Eman8 | December 15, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Cerrato and Dan Snyder are Synonymous.
As long as Snyder is here we will never win!

Posted by: mmagua | December 16, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

No way to Nick Fairley. Anyone that saw the Georgia game knows he is a straight up thug. Talented, yes, but he's a one year starter who has some negative similarities to our ol' pal AH. Vote Stephen Paea. There won't be any o-linemen worth our #6-12 pick.

Posted by: Andymr | December 16, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

--"If only we had a defensive lineman that could dominate on every play, and take on 2 blockers?? Oh wait we didn't know how to use him right. "--

It's not that they didn't know how to use him, he just refused to play unless they used him in his own hand-picked plays. He could have been totally dominant in the 3-4 also. He could have redefined the NT position, or been a true force as a 3-4 DE. But he chose to sulk and refuse to play instead.

Posted by: smshadowman | December 16, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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