Shanahan confident McNabb will start vs. Dallas
During a summer of Redskins stories that went national, one of the oddest came last week, concerning Donovan McNabb's week one availability. After McNabb missed a string of practices with his sore ankle, Mike Shanahan said his status was "day-to-day," and that "I really don't know for sure" if McNabb would be ready for the Cowboys game.
To the people around Shanahan, McNabb and the team on a daily basis, this seemed sort of a rhetorical flourish, if that, but it became a national story, with headlines like "Donovan McNabb's Status Unknown" and "Shanahan: McNabb may not play in Week 1" and "Shanahan unsure on McNabb for Redskins opener". Players, meantime, insisted they had no doubt McNabb would be on the field.
Well, Shanahan's now gotten with the program. When he was asked by Lindsay Czarniak on his weekly coach's show if he was confident McNabb would start against the Cowboys, he said "Yes. Yes."
"Yeah, I feel very good about him being ready to go," Shanahan said. "In fact, I think he'll be able to practice in the next couple of days. And I feel very good about the direction he's headed."
So put that story line to sleep. And you know what that means. More Haynesworth.
Shanahan did acknowledge that McNabb is still trying to pick up some of the terminology of the of the team's offense, something that Rex Grossman, for example, already knows from last season.
"Being out for a couple weeks is kind of tough, because you aren't getting those reps," the coach said. "But with the experience Donovan does have, and all the snaps he's taken for so many years being the starter, hopefully he can just pick up where he left off."
And Shanahan also refused to gush over his veterans when given leading questions, for example, when asked if Clinton Portis surprised him during this offseason.
"Not really," Shanahan said. "Clinton, the couple years I was around him, he always did everything I asked him to do in the offseason program, so he would have surprised me if he didn't do what I asked him to do. But especially as you get older, your body kind of breaks down a little bit, and you've got to really take care of yourself in the National Football League if you want to stay in this profession, and Clinton did everything he could to make himself better."
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