What exactly is Mike Shanahan thinking? In a pedestrian NFC, the 4-4 Redskins (4-3 before their loss the Detroit) are very much in the hunt. Now is not the time to be messing with the quarterback position. If your backup's name happens to be Rex Grossman, it's never the time.
“The cardiovascular endurance that it takes to run a two-minute, going all the way down with no timeouts, calling plays, it's just not easy. If I thought it was the best situation to do, then Donovan would have run the two-minute offense.” Hmm…An out of shape, out of breath McNabb? For some reason, Donovan's “Catch the Wind” comes to mind here.
Anyway, those comments by Shanahan came after his first explanation- a “gut feel” that McNabb didn't have a great enough grasp on things to lead his team down the field. So Rex Grossman, whose first snap turned into a Lions' touchdown, did? Which story do you believe?
In terms of being physically fit, we know all about the Shanahan-Albert Haynesworth rift, going back to Fat Albert failing his conditioning tests. However, the Redskins just worked out Raiders' reject JaMarcus Russell- all 300 pounds of him. Did Shanahan really think McNabb couldn't get the job done? Perhaps we should turn to a couple of McNabb's former outcast WR teammates for further insight:
Terrell Owens (on the T.Ocho Show with Chad Ochocinco): “Well, I don't really want to start anything, but I did play in the Super Bowl and there were rumors where he couldn't get our two-minute offense going at the end of the game. I'm just saying.”
Freddie Mitchell: ”I respect both Coach Reid and Coach Shanahan- they have two total different coaching theories. I can only wonder what would have happened in the Super Bowl if Reid stepped
up and said, 'You know what? You're playing like s**t, you're benched.' I don't know many coaches that have the balls to do that. He was playing like s**t and he should have been benched. … And don't say he doesn't have a record of this; he did the same thing in every single championship game.”
We all have our own opinions on T.O. For those of you less familiar with Freddie Mitchell, the tight-lipped Bill Belichick once said about him, “All he does is talk. He's terrible, and you can print that.”
Even if you deem the Owens and Mitchell remarks as somewhat credible, so what? We're talking about a two-minute drill against the hapless Lions, not against the New England Patriots dynasty of the early 2000's. We're talking about a better option than the lowly Rex Grossman. You don't need an all-time great for that.
We all know how Philly suddenly dumped McNabb after last season. We know about the four NFC Championship Game appearances. Yes, he only won one of those. Yes, he didn't win the following Super Bowl. Still, he's a proven winner. How many NFL quarterbacks can have that said about them? Of those quarterbacks, how many deserve to be replaced with Rex Grossman when the game is on the line?
“In the chilly hours and minutes,
I want to be,
In the warm hold of your loving mind.”
So maybe “Catch the Wind” wasn't intended to be about a quarterback and his relationship with his head coach. Maybe McNabb could care less about Shanahan’s affection for him. Still, it was written by Donovan, and Donovan deserves more love from the guy who has just pulled the rug out from under him. After all, Shanahan wasn’t even clear on why he benched McNabb in the first place. If he chooses to play quarterback roulette, it’s his gamble. But if he doesn’t want to risk screwing up the entire season, it's time for Mike Shanahan to sing the praises of Donovan.