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Dungy: Shanahan doesn't believe in McNabb


(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)


If you're already tired of hearing about Mike Shanahan's decision to bench Donovan McNabb inside the final two minutes of Sunday's loss to the Lions, I recommend you shut off your Internet for the next two weeks, because this puppy's just getting started. NBC's Football Night in America crew took two cracks at that pinata on Sunday night, and both times, they focused on the well-tanned head coach.

"Obviously Donovan McNabb's contract is up at the end of this year, and now the Washington Redskins have to be asking themselves...do we want to pay Dononavn McNabb $15 million a year going forward if we don't know if he should be in the game at the two-minute warning?" Peter King began. "And does Donovan McNabb want to play in Washington?"

"If I'm Donovan McNabb, I'm hot," Tony Dungy replied. "I'm your starting quarterback. As a coach, I can't take you out of a game we have a chance to win if I believe in you. This tells me they don't believe in him."

"He's already been through this in Philadelphia," Dan Patrick added. "Now it's Rex Grossman?"

"What does it tell you about the coaching staff if they had the entire summer, spring and two months within the season to prepare [McNabb]?" Rodney Harrison asked. "This guy's a veteran quarterback. He's not a rookie quarterback. Never pull him out, especially for Rex Grossman. Are you kidding me?"

Later in the broadcast, with King now off the set, the subject was raised again, and the criticism was even more pointed. (And later still, Harrison said he "wouldn't put Rex Grossman in a two minute offense in a high school game.")

"I think it was an awful decision by Mike Shanahan," Harrison said, repeating some his previous points. "What type of statement are you making to to your team, saying that I'm pulling my best player and sitting him on the bench in the most critical situation of the game?"

"What you're saying is I don't believe in my quarterback," Dungy answered. "And to me, you cannot do that unless you're planning on making a quarterback change....We've got a bye coming up. Does Rex Grossman come in the lineup for Donovan?"

"And Donovan, he grows bitter at this point," Harrison speculated. "You have two weeks to marinate on this, and he's sitting there saying it happened to him in the past, that situation didn't work out, why would you replace me with Rex Grossman?"

Now, I don't know about all that, and I would be stupefied if Grossman starts against the Eagles on Monday Night Football after the bye. But here's the part that gets me. With "Rex knowing how to run that two-minute offense," as Shanahan put it, and with Shanahan making it clear that he prioritizes competence over name or salary, why has McNabb handled every previous two-minute attempt? Why has Grossman never gotten these chances in the past?

Just in the past four weeks, McNabb:

* Got the ball at his own 20 with 3:49 left in the first half against the Packers, and led the Redskins to a field goal.

* Got the ball at his own 20 with 3:58 left in the game against the Packers and drove the Redskins to a game-tying field goal.

* Got the ball at his own 38 with 1:52 left in the first half against the Colts and drove the Redskins to a 48-yard field-goal attempt.

* Got the ball at his own 38 with 2:13 left in the game against the Colts, down by 3, and failed horribly. (But again, if Grossman knows the two-minute offense better this week, he surely did two weeks ago as well. Why didn't he enter there?)

* Got the ball near midfield with just 16 seconds left in the first half against the Lions, and completed two quick passes leading to a field goal.

So Shanahan let McNabb go out there five times with less than 4 minutes left in the half or the game over the past month. Four of those times, McNabb got the Redskins in position for a field-goal attempt of less than 50 yards.

And now, getting the ball at his own 25, with 1:30 left, Shanahan decided that putting McNabb out there "puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback that hasn't been used to that terminology."

If you're benching him because he stunk, just say that. But this two-minute terminology stuff was pretty weird.

By Dan Steinberg  | October 31, 2010; 10:01 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Comments

It doesn't seem like the most thoughtful decision. McNabb wasn't exactly hanging back behind a well held line. He was running for his life-- in fact he's been running for his life for weeks. Shanahan needs to look to the offensive line to find the problem, not McNabb.

Posted by: mr_gremlin | October 31, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

everyone is missing the point here...the game was lost when mcnabb was benched....the game was lost when mcnabb through the pick with 420 left in the game and the lions took it and scored...

dont kid yourself...mcnabb was benched for making the worst decision a qb can make at the most critical time in the game...throwing into triple coverage...instead of throwing it away and punting...and putting your All Star defense back on the field to seal the victory...

Posted by: dkehrli1 | October 31, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

everyone is missing the point here...the game was lost when mcnabb was benched....the game was lost when mcnabb threw the pick with 420 left in the game and the lions took it and scored...

dont kid yourself...mcnabb was benched for making the worst decision a qb can make at the most critical time in the game...throwing into triple coverage...instead of throwing it away and punting...and putting your All Star defense back on the field to seal the victory...

Posted by: dkehrli1 | October 31, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

DM has to be held accountable for his role in the anemic offense too! Can not just overlook it!

Posted by: iubiquity | October 31, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg, you ever considered that it took those instances you cited to learn that DM could not adequately handle the 2:00 min? To answer your question! Huh?

Posted by: iubiquity | October 31, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

It took him successfully putting the Redskins in position for a field-goal attempt four times in five tries for Shanahan to realize he couldn't do it? That's your argument?

If he can't run the two-minute, why was he in for the final drive of the first half today?

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | October 31, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

couldn't agree more- just say he stunk because he did

Posted by: danredmondfootball | October 31, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

It took him successfully putting the Redskins in position for a field-goal attempt four times in five tries for Shanahan to realize he couldn't do it? That's your argument?

If he can't run the two-minute, why was he in for the final drive of the first half today?

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 |


I said maybe he discovered DM wasn't doing it "adequately." You said it yourself, 4 times in 5 tries: FG! Is that what we aspire to, FGs?


Posted by: iubiquity | October 31, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'd say field-goal attempts connote moving the football. Whereas the alternative was Rex Grossman, who fumbled his way to a Detroit touchdown on his first play.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | October 31, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'd say field-goal attempts connote moving the football. Whereas the alternative was Rex Grossman, who fumbled his way to a Detroit touchdown on his first play.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1

Yeah see, but there's that pesky word again: Adequately. Over the course of the season is he getting the job done enough to win more than half our games? Never thought I'd imagine missing Jason Campbell.

Posted by: iubiquity | October 31, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

when mcnabb threw that pick with 4 minutes left - it was second down and we had the lead. why were we throwing the ball to begin with instead of trying to run out the clock? Hopefully someone asked our genious coach that question before he got to the tanning bed.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | October 31, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

What the crap was McNabb doing that makes people think he should have stayed in the game? The simple fact was the guy was inffective during the whole game and then he capped off his performance by throwing into a triple coverage for an interception at the worst possible time of the game. Why the outcry? Ridiculous to second guess a coach like Shanahan. Who cares what the talking heads say? They are a bunch of idiots who weren’t that great on the field during their time, now they think they are great coaches. Laughable. GO SHANAHAN. YOU ARE THE MAN.

Posted by: hock1 | October 31, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

What the crap was McNabb doing that makes people think he should have stayed in the game? The simple fact was the guy was ineffective during the whole game and then he capped off his performance by throwing into a triple coverage for an interception at the worst possible time of the game. Why the outcry? Ridiculous to second guess a coach like Shanahan. Who cares what the talking heads say? They are a bunch of idiots who weren’t that great on the field during their time, now they think they are great coaches. Laughable. GO SHANAHAN. YOU ARE THE MAN.

Posted by: hock1 | October 31, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone considering the possibility that Shanahan wasn't giving us the full story there? Possibly McNabb did something to seriously irritate Shanahan before he was benched. Maybe he wasn't running the plays they were sending in, and that combined with the interception pissed M.S. off enough to bench him.

I'm not saying that would justify it -- either way it's a bad move. But I think we're not getting the whole truth; Shanahan's explanation just doesn't add up.

Posted by: smshadowman | November 1, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

My take:
1) Hit hand or not, the interception was unforgivable. The veteran future hall of famer cannot make that decision.
2) Shanny Sr. and Jr. have seen what we've all seen. Poor accuracy (even with time to throw) and poor knowledge of the offense. The game plans have been vanilla. Shanny Jr. varied the passing game much more in Houston as did Sr. in Denver. Eg, defenses are so prepared for the bootlegs that they are reading it and getting in McNabb's face before he squares up.
3) My guess is that Shanny Sr and Jr may feel like McNabb isn't doing enough to work on mechanics and learn the system. Remember that Shanny Sr. turned Elway from a sometimes inaccurate but winning gunslinger into high percentage passer. Papa and son probably don't see McNabb buying in 110%.
4) So they thought Rex wouldn't do worse. And whatever the result, this puts the hammer down. Shanny Sr. and Jr. stare McNabb down for 2 weeks and say "our way or the highway."
5) Was it the right move to win the game? No. But McNabb probably wouldn't have led a TD drive either. Will it get McNabb playing at an elite level in 2 weeks? Maybe...

Posted by: The_Sons_of_Billy_Kilmer | November 1, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree dkehrli1. An interception into triple coverage is the straw that broke the coaches back. Forget all the talking heads; this was basic execution that wasn't followed; there was probably a receiver open downfield to ice thegame, and the coaches are pissed.

Hmmm...sounds like the kind of team I could root for. HTTR!

Posted by: pharrrrtt | November 1, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

What has Bruce Allen and Shanahan given us?
A bad offensive line that cannot block at all. An over the hill QB (Bruce, your dad made hay with those types of guys, but today's OTHers are not the same as Kilmer, Pottios, Talbert, Pettibon, etc.) A stellar corps of inadequate receivers (Joey Galloway?). The Haynesworth controversy. A stripped 2011 draft (few picks. Yup, they have done a great job of making this team a winner. But for a couple of breaks that went our way, we could be 2-6 or 1-7.

Posted by: bbmcoachk | November 1, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

This was done to protect shanny's son. This is the problem when you higher your family. His son is doing an awful job, with virtually no talent. McNabb makes the offense mediocre compared with the disaster it was last year.

Posted by: Natstural | November 1, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Let's be honest here. McNabb has been mediocre at BEST and terrible at times. That interception he threw yesterday was as bad as any rookie QB has thrown. Philly sent him in division for a reason and now the reason is there for all to see. Shanahan's mistake wasn't benching the guy. It was bringing him here in the first place.......

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 1, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I regularly read people's comments on these articles when I am bored at work to kill time, and I must say Mr. Natstural, I have never seen someone confuse the word "hire" with "higher". Your stupidity is awesome and made my day just a tad bit brighter!

Posted by: dwolfe1519 | November 1, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

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