CBSSports.com pro football writers Pete Prisco and Clark Judge face off weekly throughout the season.
What is Donovan McNabb's future in Washington now?
PRISCO: That's a great question. The benching late in Sunday's game at Detroit isn't a good sign. The excuses coming from the Redskins are absurd. He wasn't in shape? He didn't know the offense? Look, even if he were puking on his shoes -- which he has done in a game -- there's no way Rex Grossman should ever take over with the game on the line. That leads me to believe that the Redskins don't think McNabb is as good as they thought. And, to be truthful, he has been inconsistent with his play. He's completing only 57.4 of his passes, which would be the third worst of his career. He also has eight interceptions against seven touchdowns. If McNabb doesn't pick up his play, I think he might be a one and done with the Redskins. If that's the case, the Eagles fleeced them. He needs to pick it up or he's gone.
|NFL -- Week 9|
JUDGE: He has none. The Redskins just spent the last three days giving us three different explanations as to why McNabb was pulled in the last two minutes of the Detroit game, and what does that tell you? Yep, that someone isn't sold on the guy, but he can't tell us why. I mean, one day the Redskins say he's not smart enough for the two-minute drill, the next that he's out of shape. Now, it's a hamstring problem. Huh? When you have that many explanations there's a whole lot of tap dancing going on. One coach I trust said he thinks the problem is pretty basic: Mike Shanahan believes in his system, and he wants people who run it the right way. Somewhere along the line, he figures, McNabb and the system weren't meshing, which led to what happened in Detroit. He thinks Shanahan just got frustrated and decided it was time to send McNabb a message. I don't know about that. I just know Washington embarrassed a guy who doesn't deserve it. If the Redskins plan to resurrect McNabb for the remainder of the season, someone needs to apologize now and, basically, offer a mea culpa. McNabb once was in line for a contract extension there, but the Redskins never produced one. Now we know why.
How will the loss of Randy Moss affect the Vikings?
PRISCO: It will be felt. Even though he loafed a lot, he still has deep speed. That makes defenses play you differently. The reason Percy Harvin is able to do so much damage on the short crossing routes is because of either Sidney Rice, who is hurt, or Moss stretching the field. The same goes for Visanthe Shiancoe at tight end. Watching the Vikings live at New England, it was clear the Patriots did everything they could to take Moss out of the game. They doubled him all day, which limited him to one catch for 8 yards. But it left Harvin to do damage on the shorter routes. When asked why Moss didn't do anything, every Vikings player pointed to the doubles. That's gone now, until Rice comes back from injury. So while Moss' garbage won't be missed, his deep speed will be.
JUDGE: It makes them easier to defend. Without Moss the Vikings lose the vertical element to their passing game. I know, he didn't do much there, but opponents always had to be wary. While he took plays off, he still was a difference maker capable of producing the big strike, which meant opponents had to respect him, often with double coverage. That meant more openings for Percy Harvin, and you saw what happened there. His numbers jumped once Moss signed on, and, as Harvin said after one game, some of those openings aren't there without Moss drawing defenders away from him. So you trade Moss for, say, a Bernard Berrian, who has done absolutely nothing this season, and you can tell how it affects Minnesota. Opponents can concentrate more on Harvin and Adrian Peterson before Sidney Rice rides to the rescue ... if, in fact, he does ride to the rescue. Losing Moss may make the locker room easier to handle, but it makes the Vikings' offense easier to handle, too.
If you're Jerry Jones, what do you do with your football team?
|Jones (US Presswire)|
JUDGE: For the moment, nothing. The head coaches that might interest Jones either are working somewhere else or are out of football, so it serves no purpose for them or your team to introduce your future head coach at mid-season. That means Jones either stays with Wade Phillips for the long haul, or makes an interim hire like offensive coordinator Jason Garrett or special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis to see how players respond. Then, he makes the big move after the season. I'll tell you what I would do, though, if the season keeps going south: I'd start to give young players more and more time to measure them for 2011, and I'd start with quarterback Stephen McGee. Jones can do nothing until he's out of the playoff picture, and a couple more losses will solve that. No one is going to the playoffs at 8-8 unless, of course, they're in the NFC West. So with two more losses I'd start thinking about the future, but not until then. Jones cannot afford to send a message to his fans that he's given up on the season. Not yet.
Who should Cleveland start at quarterback?
PRISCO: That's easy. It should be rookie Colt McCoy. It's not even close. They have to find out if he can play. He might be their quarterback of the future. We know what Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace can do. They need to let McCoy continue to start. I think the way he's played the past two games has surprised some people. He has looked poised in some tough conditions, at Pittsburgh and at New Orleans. McCoy needs to show the Browns that he can be a quality long-term starter. But it's hard to show that if you're sitting on the bench watching a washed-up Delhomme or a run-around quarterback like Wallace take the snaps. If McCoy doesn't show he's the long-term answer, then the Browns will have to draft one. Play McCoy.
JUDGE: Until or unless he proves the job is too big for him, it should be Colt McCoy. Look, there's no quarterback controversy as long as Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme remain sidelined, and neither will be available this weekend. So the job is McCoy's by default. But he's 1-1, has beaten New Orleans and just completed a game with no turnovers. That's critical for a club that can't afford them. The Browns might be short of playmakers, but Eric Mangini has them playing hard, has them competitive and has them surprising opponents. They beat the defending division champion (Bengals). They beat the defending Super Bowl champion. McCoy stays until Wallace is healthy, and if the Browns are playing then as they are now, he stays, period. Delhomme should not be a factor. He's turned the ball over too many times already. So it's McCoy vs. Wallace, and only one of those two has an upside. It's a tricky situation because Mangini is trying to keep his job, not groom a young quarterback for someone else. But McCoy has been surprisingly adept and just pulled off one of the year's big upsets. So stay with him. If he regresses, Mangini has a difficult decision because the moment players sense you're playing for next year they quit on this one.