With Mike Shanahan on the sidelines and Donovan McNabb under center, optimism abounds for the Redskins in 2010, misplaced optimism, though it may be.


Though the Washington Redskins are by no means among the NFL's elite at this point, there is a level of optimism in the U.S. capitol that just hasn't existed in a few seasons now that the team has a new head coach and a quarterback that is a proven winner.

Can the 'Skins get to .500 in the rough and tumble NFC East in spite of the fact that, on paper anyway, they are the weakest of the four teams? Our Stock Market Report answers the question whether or not we are buying or selling this team to beat the 7.5-game win total posted by the sportsbooks.

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Sexy Stock That Could Burn You: QB Donovan McNabb

Let's face it, guys. We've all been here. We've all walked into a bar, found the best-looking girl in the room, tried to pick her up, and ended up finding out later that she was a complete whack job, while her friend that wasn't nearly as smoking would've been the girl of your dreams. That's basically the situation that we could be in here with McNabb.

We loved Jason Campbell as a quarterback, but he failed to develop in part because of the fact that he had about a bazillion offensive coordinators in his collegiate and professional careers. Is McNabb really that much of an upgrade? Sure, the accolades are there. This is a future Hall of Fame quarterback that proved last season that he still has the ability to take his team into the playoffs.

But the Eagles had a significantly better team around them than McNabb does here in Washington.

Can McNabb still be a winner? Ten years ago, we would've said yes. Now, we aren't so sure. The price tag looks alluring on McNabb because of his name, but keep in mind that you're playing with fire with a man that is at the tail end of his career if you're buying.

Run Down Stocks: RBs Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, and Willie Parker

It wasn't that long ago that all three of these men were Pro-Bowl caliber running backs, but just as was the case with McNabb, these are nothing more than names that are past the primes in their careers that aren't worth owning for any other reason than nostalgia.

Portis only ran for 494 yards last season in eight starts and there is a big question about whether or not he can stay healthy for a full 16 games or not any longer. Parker was replaced by Rashard Mendenhall in Pittsburgh and was promptly run out of town, while the LJ disaster in Kansas City has been well documented.

Though this may look a bit like a three-headed monster, there really isn't a neck big enough to hold all of these fat heads up. The Washington running game averaged 94.4 yards per game last year, 27th in the league. Sure, it should be better than that this year, but your money would be better served in a CD, even at the low interest rates of today, than it would be in these three dinosaurs.

Short Term Stock Flop: Mike Shanahan

Let's get one thing straight about Mike Shanahan. He isn't going to lose in Washington for very long. This is a man that kept the Denver Broncos winning year after year after year. Now that he is at the tail end of his football coaching career, he will probably be stepping aside either out of the fact that he is losing, or to hand the reins of the team over to his son, Kyle at some point soon.

We know that Shanahan is a significant upgrade from the departed Jim Zorn, but he isn't going to work miracles with this team any time in the near future unless McNabb really has it in him. Considering he is coming off of the street, Shanahan may have some nice value, but at least in the first season or two, he isn't worth investing in as a 3* stock or better.

Buying or Selling the Washington Redskins

The 'Skins have a brutal schedule that cannot be ignored, which is why the team is nothing more than a 40-1 long shot on the NFL odds list to win the Super Bowl. We would've believed that this squad would've been worth an investment in the 75-1 range that it was lined at before McNabb came aboard, but we aren't even thinking about it now.

Just the prospecs of making the playoffs seem grim at best, and even though eight wins is at least fathomable, getting into the second season and making noise when they get there is just beyond this Redskins team. Buy possibly beating the 'over/under' on the football betting win totals, but sell this team as a contender.

 
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