A lengthy lockout and the risk of few if any offseason workouts will not cause Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan to shy away from drafting a rookie quarterback.
The coach said that he hopes that the NFL’s labor dispute is resolved quickly so the players selected in next month’s draft can get as much time in the Redskins’ playbook as possible this offseason. A speedy end to the dispute might not be possible, however, and Shanahan acknowledged that limited offseason work could stunt a rookie quarterback’s development. But that wouldn’t be the negating factor on the decision to draft a passer.
“No, that doesn’t bother me,” Shanahan said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in New Orleans. “I think everybody’s in the same situation, bringing in a rookie quarterback or even a veteran quarterback. I don’t care what it is, if someone’s not familiar with your system, it’s going to take some time.”
Quarterback is expected to be one of the areas that Washington will address in the draft, and Shanahan and his staff interviewed many of the top quarterback prospects while at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month. Redskins scouts also have attended some of those prospects’ pro days.
Shanahan hasn’t tipped his hand regarding what the Redskins will do with Donovan McNabb or Rex Grossman, who started the final three games of last season but is a free agent. Even if one or both of those quarterbacks returned, it still appears likely that Washington will draft a passer.
Washington obviously could groom a quarterback behind a veteran, or the team could hand him the reins to the offense from Day 1. How quickly a rookie quarterback would be able to contribute could depend largely on how soon a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.
A lack of a CBA not only would mean no offseason practices, but also that the Redskins wouldn’t even be able to give a rookie quarterback their playbook to study until an agreement is reached.
“Nope, can’t even do that,” Shanahan said. “We can draft them but we’re not supposed to have any contact. But everyone, if they draft a quarterback, will be in the same situation. We’ll all be limited with what we can do offensively. Obviously, you would like to have a full offseason to work with them, and your whole team, but that might not be the case. So you have game plans for every situation.”