Both Beck and Collins had difficulty breaking through as starters and were reletively old as starters. If Mike Shanahan is serious about giving Beck a shot as the Washington Redskins starting quarterback, he had better hope that Beck is as good a system quarterback as Collins was in Al Saunders' offense.
Collins played 14 games for the Buffalo Bills in 1997, producing: a scant 55 percent completion rate; a 1:1 TD to INT ratio, and a 69.5 QB rating. It took ten years before Collins' had another chance to throw more than 20 pass attempts. His performance when he stepped in for an injured Jason Campbell for four games of 2007 was a revelation on two counts.
No one in Washington had any idea of what Saunders' offense could be until Collins' performance (106 QB rating). Who, other than Collins and Saunders, knew Collins had that in him? No one in Kansas City for sure. Collins never could beat out Trent Green as starter. Joe Gibbs didn't know. If Gibbs knew, he would have named Collins starter.
Collins' success rose from his deep understanding of Saunders' offense. Any number of Redskins fans misread that as talent. Collins was solid as a back up, pedestrian as a starter and awful everywhere outside of Saunders' downfield offense.
The Shanahans see Beck as an eminently coachable system quarterback who might easily beat out Rex Grossman as starter.
Collins had fewer playoff chops than Mark Brunell (from his Jaguars days) and less talent Campbell. But in 2007, when Brunell and Campbell were both on a steep learning curve for a new offense, Collins familiarity with that system was an equalizer.
I always thought Gibbs made a mistake in not giving Collins more of a chance to start. I force myself to remember that when I hear talk of John Beck starting for the Redskins this year.
Beck has no more time in Shanahan's system than Donovan McNabb. He is at least equal in talent to Grossman. Nobody on the roster is a better quarterback than McNabb. Neither is any free agent or trade target other than Vince Young. Something about that is an equalizer for Beck.
If the Shanahan and McNabb are determined to part company, then this thing with Beck should play itself out. Cannot be any worse than Todd Collins.
Speaking of Vince Young....
Football analyst Steve Wyche said on the NFL Network yesterday that Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier informed him that the Vikings had not considered adding Young to the roster. The Vikings do intend to bring in a veteran quarterback, says Wyche (emphasis mine).
Don't expect the Vikings, or anyone else, to trade for McNabb under his current contract. McNabb could help himself and the Redskins by agreeing to a renegotiated deal with a team of his choice, the Vikings, for example. Otherwise, the market for McNabb and Young will not open up until both are released.
Young to the Redskins filled the Blogosphere this week and what great sport it was. While I don't think it's a great idea, the Michael Vick experience last season taught many people not to be so dismissive. For raw talent, no one is better than Young. He will be successful in the right circumstance as was Vick with the Eagles, or Collins with the Redskins.
Washington is not the right circumstance. For one thing, Shanahan is not the Mr. Sensitivity who would mesh well with Young. For another, Vick seems to have gained something from his exposure to McNabb, who would not be around to sprinkle pixie dust on Young.
However, Bruce Allen would be derelict in his duty if he did not at least talk to Young after his release by the Titans.
Point after: Sigh! Bloggers make guesses about which story will interest most readers. A post about John Beck seemed appropriate for the week when we spent so much attention on Vince Young and the quarterback situation. My other storyline was something about Redskins draftee Roy Helu and Shanahan's knack for finding ace running backs. I should have gone with that story first. The thought of a Beck-Grossman QB competition puts even me to sleep.
The Helu story up on Monday.