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Theismann calls McNabb benching "very bizarre"

Next up in the steady stream of people wondering what the heck's going on in D.C.: Joe Theismann and Darrell Green.

Theismann was on a conference call promoting his upcoming work with the NFL Network on Thursday Night Football, and the second question concerned the quarterback situation in D.C.

"I found it to be very bizarre as I was watching the game," Theismann said. "I thought Donovan had gotten hurt when I saw Rex go out on the field, and I started listening to the explanations as to why Donovan wasn't on the field. As I watched that football game, if Donovan McNabb was not the quarterback, the Lions probably would have had 9 to 10 sacks in that football game with a non-mobile quarterback....

"I don't think it's taken Mike Shanahan eight weeks to figure out that Donovan McNabb doesn't know [the two-minute terminology]....There's a lot about this scenario that just doesn't seem very plausible: the reason, the explanation. You scratch your head a little bit and say gosh, Donovan has run the two-minute for eight weeks and now all of the sudden Rex Grossman knows it better than him?....The dots just don't seem to connect for some reason."

"This is Donovan McNabb we're talking about," Kurt Warner said on the same conference call. "He's been out there every single snap of all these other games, and you're gonna tell me that he can't finish out the 2-minute drive and have the stamina and endurance to do that? Really a weird situation. I couldn't make sense of it....And I wonder if it raises questions to the teammates and in the locker room of why that was done. If they're asking the same questions as us, there's got to be more to this, because it just doesn't make sense."

"Players aren't stupid," Theismann said. "They know what's going on. They'll figure it out, whatever the explanation is to us."

Darrell Green has twice addressed the situation on his Twitter account, which I'll excerpt here.

Sunday: "Two F grades today. The Redskins O-line and head coach Mike Shanahan for benching McNabb and giving us such a lame reason for it. I'm still on board and I hope you are too. I heard somebody say today that stats are for losers and besides, McNabb deserves better. Just to be clear, I still believe in Shanahan. The main thing now is to not let this become a "Thing" in the locker room, like it's going to become in the media and at your home."

Monday: It's not good when the head coach creates a big locker room problem for a team that already has enough problem as it is. A real shame! I think i am going to simply call it a mistake, I know we can all identify with that. I still believe in Shanahan. This will be an important character and locker room leadereship test for the team. I am betting on them, both coaches, players and fans."

By Dan Steinberg  | November 2, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Next: Cooley demands accountability

Comments

Theismann just can't bring himself to criticize the Redskins. Doing those pre-season games with Dan Patrick must be the highlight of his year. Musn't say anything too harsh or Lil' Danny won't let you come in to his big fancy house to play with his rich-kid toys.

Really looking forward to his terrible work on the Thursday night games. I hope he can work in a story or nine about Joe Gibbs that has absolutely nothing to do with the game going on.

Posted by: cao091402 | November 2, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I haven't followed the blogs or radio commentary much since the game, so this might have been discussed already: Isn't it possible, or even likely, that Shanahan's benching of McNabb was more a psychological ploy than anything else to motivate him going forward? Might well backfire, but in the absence of any injury I think he's trying to get him and the team psyched for the second half of the season.

Posted by: snowbird25 | November 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I haven't followed the blogs or radio commentary much since the game, so this might have been discussed already: Isn't it possible, or even likely, that Shanahan's benching of McNabb was more a psychological ploy than anything else to motivate him going forward? Might well backfire, but in the absence of any injury I think he's trying to get him and the team psyched for the second half of the season.

Posted by: snowbird25 | November 2, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Darrell Green, the well-known malcontent rabble rouser.

Posted by: markfromark | November 2, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Face it Snyder sycophants, McNabb was sliding downhill BEFORE he signed. His overall performance with the Skids has done nothing to erase that assessment.

The REALLY bad part about the late-game move was replacing him with Rex, whose record and reputation as a ball-turnover-specialist made his giveaway almost predictable.

I noted that Jason Campbell [Jambo] led the Raiders[!] to victory Sunday. Are Schniedie and the Redmen* ready to start building around yet another franchise QB?

* This doesn't necessarily refer to the head coach's disturbingly rubricated countenance.

Posted by: clitteigh | November 2, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree (for once) with Theisman: Shanahan's explanations do not pass the smell test in any way, shape, or form. It was a very bad decision, but it is being compounded by these bizarre, and frankly impossible-to-swallow explanations. It's really raising deeply troubling questions in my mind about Shanahan and his approach to certain situations and players: namely McNabb and Haynesworth.

Posted by: monk4hall | November 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it. McNabb is not the answer for the Redskins. Having said that if you were going to pull McNabb you should have done it earlier in the fourth quarter because he was playing poorly way before that and Grossman would have had some opportunity to warm to the speed of the game.

If you didn't pull him early there is no way you pull him on the last drive with a broken offensive line knowing his penchant for escaping on-rushing opponents and his big play ability.

If anyone deserved benching it was his son Kyle for contiuning to want to throw downfield when the line could not protect
McNabb.

Posted by: renegade2 | November 2, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The thing that gets me about this whole situation is that Shanahan is standing by his decision! I mean...come on. For some reason, in the NFL...coaches cannot say "Oh..sorry guys. I made a mistake." when clearly, they did. It just frustrates you as a fan because he gave a lame excuse for benching McNabb. Let me make it clear...his reasons were B.S. And really, Rex Grossman? Who hasn't taken a snap ALL year and can lead the two-minute offense better than your STARTING QB? If that's the case, why hasn't he started all year? I'm just fed up. Shanahan's ego is starting to take over this team and town. If he doesn't get it together, he is going to lose this team and this town, if he hasn't already.

Posted by: agree5 | November 2, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The thing that gets me about this whole situation is that Shanahan is standing by his decision! I mean...come on. For some reason, in the NFL...coaches cannot say "Oh..sorry guys. I made a mistake." when clearly, they did. It just frustrates you as a fan because he gave a lame excuse for benching McNabb. Let me make it clear...his reasons were B.S. And really, Rex Grossman? Who hasn't taken a snap ALL year but can lead the two-minute offense better than your STARTING QB? If that's the case, why hasn't he started all year? I'm just fed up. Shanahan's ego is starting to take over this team and town. If he doesn't get it together, he is going to lose this team and this town, if he hasn't already.

Posted by: agree5 | November 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Offensive Line is just that...OFFENSIVE!! There is not a QB in the league that can consistently play behind that line. Conversely, without a running game, McNabb will be looking like a punch-drunk boxer by the end of the season. Pulling McNabb was quite silly. But hey, we are talking about the Redskins. So, noting surprises me.

Posted by: conbess928 | November 2, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The brainmelt from the Redskins coaching staff started the play before the benching, going for it on 4th and 10 from their own 26 yard line with over 2 minutes to go. Nobody is talking about that - that was the stupidest thing the team has done since Jim Zorn.

Then they compounded the error by replacing McNabb - sack, fumble, game over.

From being in the game, only 3 down, to utter disaster in just two plays. Had they punted, then gone 3 and out on defense, they would have had a chance to win or tie with good field position and a minute and a half to make it happen.

It's hard to understand how such a good coaching staff could make such a total complete blunder. And now they are making up reasons for it, not just "manning up" and admitting they made a mistake.

Posted by: mandelm2001 | November 2, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

McNabb likes to or has to improvise and Mike n Kyle cant stand it so they benched him.

Posted by: swingwing | November 2, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere earlier this season I recall an entry about Shannahan in Denver. The view was that Shannahan was very petty and would punish players who didn't comply with his views. Is this one of those times? I mean there doesn't seem to be an outwardly plausible explanation. So why not Shannahan is a petty jerk.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 2, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Didn't shanahan break out the lie detector test in Denver to let everyone know travis henry didn't smoke pot? It's time for The Danny to bring it to DC to see if Shanny is FULL OF Sh#$#

Bad news for skins fans is two has beens are now bringing your season back into Vinny. Donnie and Shanny!

Posted by: jdb70 | November 2, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Washington has a lousey organization, an awful O Line, no running game, one decent receiver and the 31st ranked defense in the league. In the face of this, and Kyle-boy's simplistic scheme and play-calling, the Shanhans act like two drunk fans in the upper deck and blame the quarterback. Even with his ;pw QB rating, this team is no better than 2-6 without McNabb. If he survives the season, perhaps he can sign with a better organization, like Oakland or Detroit.

Posted by: mcstowy | November 2, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The spotlight for this loss should have been on the offensive line. It has been in recent seasons and it remains the weakest part of a team that has other major weaknesses also. But Shanahan has given them a scapegoat, himself. You don't pull your starting quarterback with two minutes to go and only down six points unless it is for injury. Shanahan you idiot.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | November 2, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Really looking forward to his terrible work on the Thursday night games. I hope he can work in a story or nine about Joe Gibbs that has absolutely nothing to do with the game going on.

Posted by: cao091402 |

Joe is a superbowl winning QB with a great job with NFL network. You are????? Oh a loser blogger who envies him for having a better life than you do. Now I understand the criticism of Joe.

Posted by: ged0386 | November 2, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I noted that Jason Campbell [Jambo] led the Raiders[!] to victory Sunday. Are Schniedie and the Redmen* ready to start building around yet another franchise QB?

* This doesn't necessarily refer to the head coach's disturbingly rubricated countenance.


I hope to god that you dont really talk in the same way that your blog. If so your friends are mocking you when you are not around clitteigheeee

Posted by: ged0386 | November 2, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Humility, please!

Shanahan, et al, 1) obviously deserve great respect and credit for various improvements, and 2) would serve the Redskins better by humbly acknowledging egomaniacal mistakes, like insisting on a 3-4 at the top of a long, chaotic initial priority list, and now the McNabb benching (and subsequent disingenuous defense thereof).


The official excuses involved Grossman knowing the two-minute offense better and McNabb's hamstring-related low endurance.

The official excuses are lamer than McNabb.

More believable that Shanahan, et al, were again blinded by excess testosterone.

Here's how.

Benching McNabb most plausibly is in connection with Shanahan, like Reid, wanting more "tempo" from him, says T. Hasselbeck.

In other words, they've been asking him to get under center more quickly, in practice and in games, especially in crunch time.

T.H. is credible in his claims to have heard both (Reid and Mike and/or Kyle) say exactly that.

Another analyst claims that Shanahan's ultra-precise offense is less than ideally suited to McNabb's seat-of-the-pants style.

Haynesworth reporting made frequent mention (and defense) of Shanahan's my-way-or-the-highway reputation.

It seems likely then that frustration with the game and out of timeouts focused Mike and Kyle on the "tempo" issue and they puffed up their chests and blew it.

Clearly, Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan can succeed by replacing the square pegs with those that better fit their round holes.

My guess is that they would succeed more if they instead adapted to round pegs as exceptional as Haynesworth and McNabb.

Haynesworth's resistance ought to have given the coaches pause about the silly, at best premature shift to the 3-4. As at the end of the Lions game, though, they just dug in their heels.

Post-game, I heard no remorse, no hint that reasonably contemplative self-evaluation was in the offing. Instead, there was only demagoguery: with Mike pouty and Kyle petty.

JaMarcus Russell??

Posted by: dcfanoutwest | November 2, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

mandelm2001: great points.

Posted by: dcfanoutwest | November 2, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

First Albert, now Donovan - the "Shehanigans" continue...

Posted by: terptek | November 2, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Well 2 days later we know two things: Mike Shananhan is a lier making up lies to cover his stupid decision and he can't judge talent if he thinks Rex Grossman, Demarcus Russell or J. P. Losman are in the same league as McNabb.

Posted by: BigR22 | November 2, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Well 2 days later we know two things: Mike Shananhan is a lier making up lies to cover his stupid decision and he can't judge talent if he thinks Rex Grossman, Demarcus Russell or J. P. Losman are in the same league as McNabb.

Posted by: BigR22 | November 2, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

To me, this is pretty simple. Shanahan benching McNabb is classic blame-shifting. "Look at this guy! I can't do anything with him." He couldn't bear losing to the Lions, so he pins it on his starting QB. He did it in a clumsy way, though. If he had done it in the middle of the 4th quarter, the headline would have been "McNabb benched in loss." With two minutes and needing a score, bringing in Mr. Fumble-Six looks bizarre indeed.

Posted by: worf | November 2, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

S made a bad decision but so what? They would have lost anyway and they are far better than anyone would have thought at this point. McNabb has not been playing well and he gets paid very well to take some heat, unjustified or not. He threw this game away with his interception anyway but he has the character and skill to rebound.

Play ball and stop crying about it. Coach makes the decision and these guys make an awful lot of money to clam up and do what he says.

Posted by: jackson641 | November 2, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

So he pulled McNab..and what happened??? Grossman got sacked.... Any idiot, except probably Kyle Shanahan knows the way to beat the rush is to rush...

Posted by: pentagon40 | November 2, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

If McNabb doesn't sign a contract and the team is left looking for another starter, it's just another year of rebuilding from scratch again...the smart thing would habve been to resign him earlier and focus on a future qb...

What a mess that could have been avoided...don't have the faintest idea what the coach was REALLY thinking when he pulled McNab...but apparently he is unhappy with his qb....

Posted by: pentagon40 | November 2, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I guess Shanahan cannot recognize truth from fiction anymore if in fact he ever could. What a bizarr decision, explanation and re-engineered explanation. I guess he is just protect "little Shan" from having to answer for his lousy handling of the offense and of course to protect himself. What a little cock eyed weasel he has turned out to be. I guess that crooked eye of his cannot see straight and expects everyone to see side ways as he does. Get this bum out of here. I bet the players cannot and will not believe another thing which comes out of his crooked mouth. I

It's a shame he didn't run for office this go round. He would have fit in perfectly with that gang of half wits, drunks and two faced scums on the hill. Heck, the way he fabricates the truth, he could be President someday.

Posted by: teeballou | November 2, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

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