NFL: Redskins’ rookie has a long way to go
ASHBURN, Va. ó The Washington Redskins fans who flocked to Ohio for the Hall of Fame game roared when rookie quarterback Colt Brennan walked onto the field in the second half. They cheered even more when the former Hawaii record-setter completed 9 of 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Indianapolis.
The Colt was firing away at the Colts.
Quarterback controversy in the making? Hardly. Should Brennan have stayed in Canton an extra day to be measured for a Hall of Fame bust? Certainly not. But, just to be sure, coach Jim Zorn and his coaching staff have moved quickly to stomp out the Brennan hype.
“He has to become a more disciplined QB,” Zorn said. “Not risk as much as he risked in the game. This week it turned out to be a great performance, but it could easily have been the other way.”
And, just in case he wasn’t getting the message, Brennan heard more from offensive assistant Chris Meidt.
“Coach Meidt told me ‘You were pretty horrible when it came to technique’ and stuff like that,” Brennan said.
Thus has been the 48-hour ride to the top of the pedestal and back down to earth for the quarterback who broke 31 NCAA records with an unusual throwing motion in Hawaii’s run-and-shoot offense. All the college accolades didn’t mean much on NFL draft day: Brennan fell to the sixth round before he was taken by the Redskins, then missed the team’s offseason practices because of hip surgery.
Still, he’s the fresh new face for the Redskins, who last year were taken to the playoffs by second-stringer Todd Collins after Jason Campbell went down with a knee injury. The fans are eager to see what the rookie can do.
“The coolest thing of the night is when I walked out there on the field for my first drive and I could hear an ovation, a roar from the crowd, a lot of them standing up clapping,” Brennan said. “All I’ve really heard over the last couple of months is so much negative, so many people say I can’t do it, and just to see our crowd so excited to see me on the field playing, that was probably the best feeling of the night.”
Brennan was by far the most exciting quarterback in the game. He had completions of 34, 26 and 20 yards. Both of his drives ended with touchdown passes, including a 5-yard toss to Marcus Mason after a scramble to the right.
Of course, he was playing with backups against backups. And that 26-yard pass over the middle to tight end Jason Goode? That was one of “a couple of risky throws and very fortunate catches,” according to Zorn.
“He was very accurate in his throws,” Zorn said. “I thought his decision making was average. Even on the big play he threw to Jason Goode, that was not a great decision. But the decision he made on the corner route for a touchdown? The scramble play for a touchdown to Mason? Awesome. So it’s just a mixed bag.”
He’ll have to time to work on the flaws. The most probable scenario for 2008 is that Brennan spends the entire season holding the clipboard as the No. 3 quarterback.
One thing Zorn is leaving alone, at least for now, is Brennan’s throwing motion. Brennan has a three-quarters delivery and a low release point, not the best combination when facing tall rushing linemen.
“At first, he kind of wanted to see about my release, but my release kind of moves around a lot, it’s not in a steady place,” Brennan said. “And what it came down to was ‘As long as you can get the ball there, I’m not going to really mess with it.’ “