ASHBURN, Va. | As Chris Cooley talked Thursday about how easily Donovan McNabb was fitting in during his first week with the Washington Redskins, the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback was proving his tight end’s point.
McNabb looked in command as he threw to his new targets on an adjacent field.
“Donovan’s outstanding, it feels like he’s been here for a couple years,” Cooley said of McNabb, acquired from the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles for two draft picks on April 4. “Instantly, he’s a leader. He knows what it takes to have a team together. He’s talking to all the guys, fits in extremely well. I don’t think anyone was worried about his ability to come be the quarterback of this team.”
Receiver Malcolm Kelly agreed that McNabb, who started five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl during his 11 years with the Eagles, is already having an effect on the Redskins, who were 4-12 in 2009.
“He’s a lot more laid back than I expected,” Kelly said. “He’s a cool dude. It brings the pressure of practice down. He’s got a real strong arm and he’s accurate. This guy has won a lot of games, a lot of big games. You have confidence in a guy like that. Even just being out here, being around the offense just for a few days, the things he already knows … (I have) more than enough confidence in him.”
Both Cooley and Kelly are enthused about the offense being installed by new coordinator Kyle Shanahan, whose passing attack with the Houston Texans led the NFL in 2009.
“A lot of guys are excited,” said two-time Pro Bowl participant Cooley, who pronounced himself fully recovered from the broken ankle that ended his 2009 season in Week 7 — against McNabb and the Eagles. “It seems like a very good offense for us … moves guys around quite a bit. I have a ton of opportunity to move around a lot. I would compare it to what (former coach Joe Gibbs) did with the tight end and H-back. The quarterbacks all talk about really liking it. It makes sense as a scheme. You can kind of learn it as an entire scheme. They’ve been successful with it. Hopefully, we can continue the success.”
Kelly said defenses will have a hard time figuring out how to cover the Redskins’ receivers.
“Nobody knows which (of the receiver positions) we’re going to play. (Receivers coach Keenan McCardell) has us learning all the positions so he can just throw you there at anything and you know what to do,” Kelly said. “It really makes you more of a complete player. It causes matchup problems. You can get lined up against linebackers. The way we line up, it really makes it hard for defenses to cover the wide receivers.”