It's amazing how much an analyst can set himself apart when he does his homework and takes pride in his job.
That's the case with Cris Collinsworth, who in my opinion, is one of the best in the business.
Collinsworth, who calls Sunday Night Football on NBC, joined ESPN.com's Bill Simmons for a recent podcast to promote his new Web site, FootballProsLive.com.
The departure of Donovan McNabb will undoubtedly be one of the most talked-about topics nationally as networks and publications preview the 2010 season. And it was one of the topics Collinsworth discussed during the podcast. Count him among those who think McNabb's impact in D.C. could be huge.
"I thought that was one of the great additions to a team I've ever seen," Collinsworth said. "I mean, the Redskins were really in sort of disarray. No matter what anybody else says, they were just swimming out there. They really were. And then they bring in [Mike] Shanahan. And you bring in McNabb. People are going to always talk about McNabb and his accuracy, and I don't disagree with that. I don't think that he's a typical west coast kind of quarterback, and when you look at what it's going to mean for Philadelphia with Kevin Kolb, I think they'll get back to more of a classic west coast kind of offense. But now you're going to get in Shanahan's offense a big, strong, powerful guy that's going to bring a little fun, that's going to bring a little laughter back to the huddle, that is a dynamic personality."
Interesting how one of the things McNabb was criticized for so often here - smiling and laughing in the huddle - is one of the things Collinsworth expects to be an asset for him in Washington.
"It sounds weird to say that a quarterback's charisma can make a difference," Collinsworth continued. "But the Redskins just have been so beaten down for so long, and this whole thing with [Albert] Haynesworth and all the junk that's going on with him. I just think that you're going to see a different personality come out of the Washington Redskins and they've got a great coach now. They could very easily surprise a lot of people because their defense is pretty good."
Collinsworth really caught me off-guard later in the podcast when discussing the New England Patriots.
Guess which player departure he believes has had a huge impact on the Patriots the last two seasons: Asante Samuel.
"How much do the Patriots miss Asante Samuel?" he asked. "Asante Samuel was one of those X-factor guys. He was Troy Polamalu to me. No matter how much Bill Belichick may have coached that guy, nobody really knew what he was going to do on a play. He might take a chance and give up a big touchdown, and who knows, maybe he's not the greatest tackler in the world. But I'm telling ya, nobody knew what he was going to do on a play, and that included Peyton Manning a lot. He made a lot of mistakes to Asante Samuel over the years because he was just a little... I'm going to call him creative. I'm going to give him a euphemism. He was creative back there in the back end, and he creates problems. And there just hasn't been quite the same mystery to the Patriots' defense since he left."
Revealing nuggets there. I think Sean McDermott could probably relate to the part about how no matter how much he coaches Samuel, he doesn't know what he's going to do. That's a good thing when Samuel jumps a route, picks off a pass and takes it to the house. That's a bad thing when the Eagles are getting killed by wide receiver screens and Samuel doesn't play press coverage.
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