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Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm brings you hot news and the inside scoop about the NFL.

McNabb having to study quite hard as a Redskin

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

In between OTA and minicamp practices, Donovan McNabb is throwing his weight around, trying to get deeper into his new D.C. surroundings. It is his stated goal to play basketball with the president, but to his dismay he has yet to hear back from the Obama camp on a hoops date.

"I am working on that," McNabb said determinedly.

The good news is that just about everyone else in the area has welcomed McNabb with open arms so far. He has settled in nicely, buying a house in northern Virginia not far from the Redskins' facility and is hard at work trying to learn his new playbook.

I know what you're thinking: He went from a West Coast offense to a West Coast offense. Seamless, right?

Not so fast. When we spoke by phone Monday evening, I asked McNabb about this misconception that every West Coast system is a mimic of one another and whether having 11 years of knowing the Eagles' scheme cold might actually hurt him considering the differences in what Mike Shanahan runs. McNabb's response was quite interesting. So much so that I smell a future feature story on the subject.

"Everybody (running the West Coast offense) is a lot different. You look at the coordinators, the head coaches around the league, they try to say it’s a West Coast, but it’s really not," McNabb said. "Everyone wants to add their little wrinkles on things, and it’s a lot different."

It's one thing when Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell in Minnesota are running a very close relative of the West Coast offense Brett Favre run in Green Bay, allowing him to jump out of Childress' car and take over the Vikings' starting job last summer.

It's another entirely when you look at Andy Reid's and Marty Mornhinweg's hybrid system, which McNabb was engrained in, and then have to switch to Shanahan's version of the offense, with totally different terminology and more advanced tweaks and additions

"When you talk about what Bill Walsh said, where one word kind of tells everyone what to do, you’re pretty much telling each guy their route and their protection. And now it involves the quarterback having to make protection calls, you have a numbering system (for passing routes), and everything has evolved into something different.

"The easiest term to use is West Coast because it’s where some coaches have come from. But everybody wants to add their little flavor to say that my style is a lot different than theirs."

Reading McNabb's words on computer screen almost makes it sound like he is complaining or lamenting the fact that he has to learn basically a whole new offense. I just listened to the recording again, and I don't think he was at all.

I think what he was trying to say was that people might not realize that you can call these two offenses by the same name but that they are brothers of another mother, if that makes sense.

He and I talked about a lot of different things, many of which will be going into the second run of the PFW/Yahoo! Sports preview magazine, which you no doubt already have read cover to cover. The good news is that we have freshened up the latest version with some new features, including the McNabb Q&A, which will replace the fine chat I had with Tony Gonzalez earlier in the offseason.

I'll post the remainder of the Gonzalez Q&A this week for anyone who wants to check out what did not make the cut into the magazine portion.

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