4 things I wish Donovan McNabb would tell Robert Griffin III

Donovan McNabb, Redskins
The DC Twitterverse laughed when word reached us that Donovan McNabb wanted to reach out to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to offer advice. That struck Hog Heaven as too much TMZ to worry about. We left it alone.

Then we saw this story on Philly.com, Last thing RGIII needs is McNabb’s advice.

McNabb’s career ended badly, but nothing is more pathetic than to have the online version of The Philadelphia Inquirer tell one of Philly’s greatest sports stars to, well, stfu.

McNabb wants to share lessons in media savvy with RGIII. Griffin III has two things McNabb never had, a pass completion rate of 65.6 percent, and charisma. Griffin is rewriting all the rules. He does not need lessons from McNabb in savvy-ness. (Yeah, made-up word.)

However, there are things about football I wish McNabb would share with Griffin. Here’s the list.

How to manage the transition from running quarterback to passing quarterback?

Once, McNabb was the quarterback sensation who had 80 rushing attempts per season. He was the Eagles leading rusher in 2000, his first full season as starting QB. Fantasy football loves running quarterbacks. Fantasy owners get full points for a rushing touchdown than for passing TDs in most scoring systems. Most quarterbacks do not score rushing touchdowns. Quarterbacks who run score more fantasy points than those who do not. They are labeled “electrifying.”

In real life, quarterbacks who pass from the pocket lead their teams to Super Bowls. McNabb attempted a mere 41 rushes in 2004, the year he led Philadelphia to the Super Bowl. He rushed 71 times in the prior season.

What football advice would McNabb give RG – we are on a first name basis – on how to maximize his potential as a dual-threat?

How would you talk to Mike Shanahan?

McNabb was not successful at managing his boss, Mike Shanahan. We learn from our mistakes. What did McNabb learn in Washington that could help both Griffin and Shanahan forge a successful partnership?

I found it odd for McNabb to criticize RGJr for speaking out against the run-pass mix the Redskins called for RGIII. Didn’t McNabb’s agent do the same when Shanahan demoted McNabb to third-string? If McNabb shared his thoughts with us, his agent might not have spoken out. It led to problems, however.  McNabb may have had that in mind when speaking about Griffin’s dad.

Somewhere between the 2010 Detroit and Cincinnati game, communication between the coach and McNabb broke down, for which Hog Heaven held both sides accountable. How would Donovan do things differently and what does that tell Griffin?

How do you control the locker room?

Team captain Griffin has no problem in that area … now. McNabb was just as in charge of the Eagles’ locker room early last decade, until the arrival of Terrell Owens.

Griffin and McNabb have backgrounds very similar to my own – black, two-parent, very middle class with similar non-confrontational coping styles. Owens, like many of today’s athletes, grew up in less fortunate circumstances.  African-American players with such backgrounds sometimes view their brothers with McNabb’s middle class backgrounds as inauthentic – “cornbread,” if you will.

Terrible Owens was an emotionally needy personality who publicly acted out his frustrations with the Eagles and pointed fingers at McNabb. Owens did not divide the Eagles locker room as much as you think. Owens divided the front office. He had supporters in the locker room. I had the hunch that more Eagles players rallied around Owens than McNabb.    

The front office mishandled that crisis. The flub was costly to Owens, McNabb and the Eagles. Owens and McNabb were each other’s best chance to return to the Super Bowl.

The Redskins will be a destination team for free agents in future years. Some of them will be head cases who feel no kinship to RGIII. There is a Terrible Owens in Griffin’s future. What then, Donovan?

You completed passes to those guys?

McNabb and the Eagles had a top-ten passing year in 2008, the last time McNabb completed a 16-game season. He did that throwing to the likes of Hank Baskett and Jason Avant. Even DeSean Jackson’s 62-catch season fell short for a No. 1 wide-out. McNabb elevated the play of his receivers in a way that did not happen when he was in Washington or Minnesota.

Griffin elevated the play of everybody in 2012, especially Washington’s pedestrian receiver corps. If Leonard Hankerson and Joshua Morgan do not step up this season, Griffin will have to do it again and again. McNabb did that for most of his career. What’s his secret?

Everybody wants to “help”

Rex Grossman was happy to re-sign with Washington so that he could mentor Griffin and Kirk Cousins. That made me cringe. McNabb wanted to reach out to Griffin to advise him on how to manage the media. That made me laugh. If John Beck calls in to help Griffin, I will probably kick the dog.

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Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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