The Washington Redskins were in a pretty spot. Coming off a Week 1 win over the Cowboys, the Redskins held a 27-10 lead in the third quarter of their Week 2 matchup against Houston. The Texans rallied as a Hail Mary fourth-down touchdown to Andre Johnson tied the game before Houston won in overtime.
OK, the Redskins were 1-1, but had a favorable matchup last week in St. Louis. Well, the Rams ended a 14-game home losing streak as No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford picked the Redskins defense apart in a 30-16 win.
The Redskins will still be in a good spot if they can upend the Eagles this Sunday to get to 2-0 in the NFC East. The Eagles' 11-5 record a year ago was fortified with a 4-2 showing in the NFC East. The Redskins traded for Donovan McNabb in the offseason and thus far he's thrown for 833 yards with two touchdowns an interception. New head coach Mike Shanahan is very pleased with what McNabb has brought to the team.
"I think he's doing an excellent job. It always takes time coming into a new system, but I think he's done a great job of picking it up. I think every game he feels more comfortable with it," Shanahan said.
In fact, Shanahan admitted that he's been taken aback by one aspect of McNabb.
"The only thing that really surprised me was his arm strength. I didn't know his arm was that strong," Shanahan said. "I haven't been around many guys who could throw the ball 75, 80 yards in the air."
McNabb's favorite target has been Santana Moss, who has 22 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown. Shanahan's offenses have been predicated on using the run game to open up explosive passing plays, the kind that McNabb has been known to generate for years with the Eagles. While running back Clinton Portis has two touchdowns, he's averaging just 3.7 yards per carry and could soon see a reduced role.
"We have to have some balance to be the type of offense we want to be and other guys have to step up," Shanahan said.
McNabb returns to Philadelphia on Sunday and it's not the first time Shanahan has seen a franchise quarterback go against his former team. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers when Joe Montana suited up for the Chiefs and beat the 49ers in 1994. Shanahan has been welcoming of the additional hype that this game has received.
"If you don't have distractions, that means you're not very good," Shanahan said.
Well, you could argue the Redskins might have more distractions if the new quarterback/coach tandem for the Redskins leave Philadelphia with a 1-3 record on Sunday.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:00 p.m., October 1