This wasn’t how it was supposed to end. One was supposed to beat the other, not complete annihilation.
In what looks like a quarterback armageddon for the Washington Redskins, both Colt Brennan and Chase Daniel are out.
The Redskins have placed Brennan on the injured reserve list with a torn hamstring and a hip injury, making him ineligible to play the rest of the 2009 season.
We thought the best position battle for the Redskins 53-man roster ended with 4:26 left in the last preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars when Brennan left the game with an injury after an incompletion on 3rd-and-5.
To make matters worse, as Brennan was getting worked on by the trainers, Chase Daniel drove the Redskins down the field for one final touchdown.
But that final push wasn’t good enough to beat out Brennan or even to win by default—Daniel was among the 22 players cut by the Redskins on Saturday.
Instead, the Redskins are going to carry just two starting quarterbacks into the season: Jason Campbell and Todd Collins.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to end. No one, not even Chase Daniel, wanted it to end like this.
All the organized team activities, all the mini-camp drills, all the practices in the blistering August heat mean nothing as Colt Brennan will miss the entire 2009 season due to injury.
The Redskins’ Superman in the 2008 preseason looked like he had come down with a case of kryptonite flu in 2009.
Where we saw Brennan as flawless a year ago, the nagging doubts that had been repressed by the 2008 preseason came back with a vengeance this year.
Brennan finished the preseason with 249 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
If you looked at just the four preseason games alone, there is no doubt that Colt Brennan did not deserve to make this football team, had he been healthy.
He tried to play 2008 Superman and force passes into tight spaces. That’s the story of the second interception, the one against the Steelers. And what’s worse, he made his mistakes, like this one, in the red zone.
Against the Patriots, he looked completely lost in the pocket. He was sacked four times, not because of failures on the offensive line, but because he held on to the ball too long—afraid of failure.
He threw his third interception of the preseason on an out to D.J. Hackett at the goal line. It was a horrible pass, at least two to three steps behind his receiver and was returned for a touchdown.
We also saw Brennan struggle with his low release point, sometimes unable to find passing lanes between the defensive linemen.
In the final preseason game, we saw a different kind of Colt Brennan. He wasn’t playing the part of a gunslinger; he looked more like an insurance salesman.
All of Brennan’s passes were to short passes to wide receivers that were wide open or checkdown passes to a running back. He also threw two passes away.
This was Colt Brennan trying to maintain the status quo…survive and advance.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t survive the final five minutes of the last preseason game. But he’ll still get to keep his spot as the honorary third quarterback, even from the injured reserve list.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to end. The funny thing is: he never had a chance.
Chase Daniel came into the Redskins training camp as an afterthought. The Redskins had their three established quarterbacks and Daniel was just along for the ride.
It only took two preseason games for Chase Daniel to make his mark. It was a fade route for a touchdown to Marko Mitchell. It was a 22-yard scramble that sparked excitement.
It was the fusion of Brennan’s struggles and Daniel’s brilliance that created controversy.
In the last preseason game, Daniel and the Redskins offensive line was overwhelmed by the first-team Jaguars defense. It was a neutral performance, marred by poor offensive line, one that signaled an end to the ride.
But then when Brennan got injured with less than five minutes left in the game, Daniel had his one last shot.
On the Redskins final possession of the preseason, Daniel took them on an eight-play, 63-yard drive in just over a minute.
It was redemption personified.
It looked like the last straw on Brennan’s back.
To the Redskins coaching staff, it looked like a nice try.
Chase Daniel, should he clear waivers, will be a member of the Redskins 2009 practice squad.
It’s like winning the silver medal in the Olympics when you clearly deserved gold. Only it’s Jim Zorn who’s the Russian judge.
Where Are The Redskins Going?
With only two quarterbacks on the roster, the Redskins are taking a risk.
They are taking a risk by betting that Jason Campbell, 27, and Todd Collins, 38, won’t get hurt.
They are betting that the value they will get from another position will be more than the insurance of a third quarterback.
They think they are in need of immediate help, not another insurance plan.
But there’s a reason you buy insurance: just in case. That’s all backups are in the NFL, a just-in-case plan.
But is Marcus Mason’s contributions for three-to-four plays a game and as the up-man on kickoffs really worth not making Chase Daniel a part of the Redskins 53-man roster?
Where is the merit of preseason games if Daniel doesn’t make the team? What more could he have done?
The practice squad allows the Redskins flexibility to call Daniel up if there’s an injury to Campbell or Collins. But it’s also a giant risk.
Assuming Daniel clears waivers, and no other team needs a promising young third-string quarterback, he’ll be signed to the Redskins practice squad.
But then the Redskins take a risk every week that another team with an injury at quarterback doesn’t look over to the Redskins and call Chase Daniel’s name.
And that’s a risk, I wouldn’t be willing to take.
[UPDATE, Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET: Chase Daniel has signed with the New Orleans Saints practice squad. The Saints are also carrying only two quarterbacks to begin the season. Daniel could have stayed in Washington, but opted to go with New Orleans.]