Shanahan's decision to bench McNabb: still unpopular
So I just came up with a great new idea for a blog post. What if I just watched sports television shows and wrote down all the different ways that the analysts came up with criticizing Mike Shanahan for benching Donovan McNabb?
Yup, this would be Part V of the series, following the initial CSN/MASN reaction, the NBC reaction, the Larry Sonny and Sam reaction, and the Monday morning/afternoon reaction. I'll call this one the Monday Night Reaction.
Chris Mortensen: "Personally I just think that Mike Shanahan was acting in the moment, and in a moment of anger, because this soup has been simmering for a while. It's almost the worst-kept secret in the league, as far as I'm concerned. There's been no enamorement with Donovan McNabb going back to the summer, and then as you went into the season you kept hearing that Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan -- his son and the offensive coordinator of the Redskins -- had not been happy with the way Donovan practices. He doesn't practice at the same tempo they want him to, certainly not accurate, and all those things. To the point that after Week 4, with that wonderful game against the Philadelphia Eagles...they actually discussed benching him at that time, after he beat the Eagles."
Adam Schefter: And the timing of it was a bit curious, because of the bye week and because of the fact that they do play the Eagles [next], and Donovan McNabb does have the support of the players in that locker room. He's a team captain. And that's where this becomes a very tricky, thorny issue for Mike Shanahan to navigate through, that McNabb does have the support that he does."
Steve Young: "[Shanahan] wants quarterbacks that are prepared emotionally, physically and in every way possible, putting every ounce of energy into their team. If he doesn't get it, he's frustrated, and you saw that frustration. And he's the kind of guy that says I don't care if it's Donovan McNabb or Peyton Manning, I don't care who it is, I expect certain things, and if I don't get it, I'm gonna react, and he reacted like I know Mike would, and he's expecting [McNabb] to play better. I think you can take it however you want, but know this: Donovan McNabb needs to pick it up or Mike Shanahan will keep looking...and that's the warning shot right there."
Keyshawn Johnson: "Frustration or not, it was stupid. Just it was stupid. Ok, you don't make a decision to bench your starting quarterback with 1:50 to go, and then give an excuse. [Sunday's] excuse was well, he doesn't know the two-minute, Rex Grossman was in Houston and he was with this guy, he knows the two-minute with my son....[That excuse] was dumb, he didn't know the two-minute. We all know, as coaches and players, you practice the two-minute drill during the week. Donovan's been there since the Spring. And during the week before a game, you practice the two-minute, you move down the field. Then [Monday], it's the cardiovascular endurance. Oh, well maybe it's his hamstring. To me, you're telling me he's fat and out of shape. That's the way I look at it. I don't like it. It was a mistake. And just admit that it was a mistake. He's not the quarterback you're looking for. Admit it."
Tom Jackson: "You have nowhere else to go. Rex Grossman is not gonna be your quarterback. If you don't want Donovan McNabb to be your quarterback, you have to say that. The message sent across is I don't want you to be my quarterback, I have another guy in mind, whenever I can find that guy. What this has done, though, for the rest of this year -- because we're still in this season -- you have now, to some extent, fractured probably forever your relationship with the quarterback and your relationship therefore with the locker room."
Cris Carter: "Now Shanahan, he has a great history in this league, but let's be professional. We are in professional football. We're not talking about kids, we're talking about grown people. And we're talking about someone that's respected in high regard around the National Football League in McNabb. Let's be a man. Let's address him, tell him what [the] issues are, and tell him if I have problems with it....You're not gonna put me on the bench, been in the league 12 years, and all the things I accomplished, and not talk to me. That's unprofessional."
Mike Ditka: "I listen to that, and to me it sounds good and it smells bad, and to me that's the best way I can put it. I think it's a little hypocrisy in there, and I'll say this: What would their record be this year without Donovan McNabb? If he didn't play, their record would be not as good as it is, period. And to do that at that point in the game, I've done a lot of stupid things, but I never did that."
Chris Berman: "Life is a series of increasing your odds. I don't know that the odds were increased of success with a cold Rex Grossman with 1:52 to go, put him in in his own territory and what really do we expect?"
Boomer Esiason: "That's the ultimate insult. I think Mike Shanahan's trying to make things different in Washington, he's trying to hold players accountable, including Donovan McNabb. And then I heard he came out and he also said there were cardiovascular issues, meaning that Donovan must not be in shape. You know, he went down that whole road with Albert Haynesworth earlier in the year, and one thing Mike Shanahan realizes is that this is the first year of his tenure there, he's gonna get away with stuff like this, especially if he wants to put his foot down. I don't think he's been happy with Donovan since they started together, to be honest with you, and this kind of validates Andy Reid now in his selection of Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb. So I would not be surprised to see Donovan McNabb lining up with Brad Childress in Minnesota next year."
Marshall Faulk: "If I'm in that locker room, after what happened with Albert Haynesworth and Mike Shanahan, and now what's going on with Donovan, I'm questioning him."
Brian Mitchell: "How can a guy be in shape enough to play 58 minutes and 15 seconds? He didn't look like he limped to me one time [Sunday]. Their leading rusher....There may not be another quarterback out there. You may want Donovan, and Donovan may tell you remember when you tried to embarrass me? Peace, I'm going somewhere else."
John Feinstein: Mike Shanahan, for some reason, was trying to send another one of his I'm Alexander Haig and I'm In Charge Here [messages]. I don't know why. And maybe he thought they were gonna lose the game anyway, so this is the moment when I tell Donovan McNabb I'm in charge, and don't be coming into my office and asking for a new contract."
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