After his decision to bench Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman on Oct. 31 against the Detroit Lions, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan gave his reasoning for making the move with these postgame comments:
“I felt with the time, with no timeouts, Rex gave us the best chance to win in that scenario. Everything is sped up when you don’t have timeouts. It’s got to be automatic. People forget how quick things are in that two minutes. It’s like learning a new language.
“Are you asking me if we played poorly? Yes, we did.”
After the game, Jamie Mottram posted the above photo of a seemingly perplexed Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan as he was apparently looking at McNabb during the Redskins-Lions game.
Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST following up Mottram’s screen shot with a link to this video:
In the brief clip, while watching McNabb run the Washington offense against Detroit, Shanahan said, “What the hell?”
The next day McNabb’s replacement, Rex Grossman, told the media that he called his own plays for the two drives he was in the game. CSNwashington.com’s Ryan O’Halloran subsequently reported,”it doesn’t appear McNabb has such freedom.”
Though there does seem to be some circumstantial evidence to suggest that perhaps McNabb is not completely up to speed on the Redskins offense, regarding Shanahan’s postgame defense for McNabb’s benching …
Most Likely: Mike Shanahan was covering his own a– for his horrific coaching manuever
Less Likely: Mike Shanahan was covering for son Kyle advocating a horrific coaching manuever
Least Likely: Mike Shanahan has trust in Rex Grossman’s abilities
Unlikely: Mike Shanahan was completely honest in his explanation for McNabb’s benching
From there, Mike Shanahan only made things worse for himself.
From Jason Reid of the WASHINGTON POST on Nov. 1:
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that Donovan McNabb’s lingering injuries played a role in the coach’s decision to bench his starting quarterback Sunday.
… But McNabb wasn’t able to fully practice and Shanahan said that from a “cardiovascular standpoint,” McNabb couldn’t handle the fast-paced two-minute offense.
The next day, Michael Wilbon wrote this in the WASHINGTON POST:
“Look, I’ve long ago declared my bias toward McNabb and I’m not going to spin away from it now. McNabb, though, hasn’t played all that well and has said so. He wasn’t particularly effective Sunday in Detroit, either.
“And indications are now that the Shanahans, father and son, don’t much like the way McNabb prepares for games. Mike’s assertion makes it sound like McNabb is some dummy, an ominous characterization he’d better be careful about, lest he run into some cultural trouble in greater Washington, D.C.”
Wilbon’s Tuesday column, as noted by Steinberg in the Washington Post, was followed the same day by stronger comments from David Aldridge and John Thompson II on DC’s ESPN 980 that echoed Wilbon’s implication that race may have been a factor in McNabb’s benching.
Ugly? We’re just getting started. Read more…