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Posted at 1:02 PM ET, 12/20/2010

Keyshawn Johnson, Ditka critique Shanahan

By Dan Steinberg

The tide of Mike Shanahan-directed anger may have subsided after Sunday's game, which was actually exciting and not very embarrassing for Redskins fans. But before the game was played, the analysts had great fun teeing off on Mike and Kyle Shanahan for their decision to bench Donovan McNabb. This little exchange from ESPN's Sunday pre-game show was pretty typical.

Mike Ditka: I'm gonna say two words, One is surrender. You've surrendered your football team now that there's three games left. I wouldn't do that. I'd never do that. I'd never surrender. I would never give up. The other one is humiliation. You've humiliated a kid who's played in the league at a really high level for a long time now. The coach has his prerogative; there's no question about it. I think it could have been done better. If you're not gonna play him, get rid of him. Take him off your squad right now.

Cris Carter: And Kyle Shanahan, I wonder what he saw in Rex Grossman last year as the backup in Houston, where he was the [offensive coordinator], that he would convince his dad that 'Rex Grossman, dad, is the answer. Put McNabb on the bench.'

Keyshawn Johnson: Leave a little room for me. When you look at the situation, first of all, the Shanahans, they need to stop poking Donovan McNabb, stop messing with him, stop trying to embarrass him. I mean, look at Mike Shanahan, and I'm gonna say it pure and simple: You haven't won anything since John Elway and Terrell Davis. Period. You brought in Donovan McNabb. If you don't want Donovan McNabb, get rid of him. Go ahead and deactivate him. do like Tampa did me, do like you did Albert Haynesworth. Stop messing with this kid's career. You traded for him, he's not the answer for you, let him go.

Then on top of that, you've got your son -- and I'm glad Donovan's not me right now, because I would tell him off. First of all, I'd tell him exactly what I said, you haven't won anything in a long time. Second off, you've got your son here because he's your son. What has he done to deserve the right to justify benching Donovan McNabb? It makes no sense. It's ridiculous. I'm serious.

Tom Jackson: When you think about the embarrassment factor, that's where we begin. You wouldn't do this to Matt Ryan or Jake Delhomme, and I mention them because they're not top-echelon quarterbacks, they don't have the resume of Donovan McNabb. It's been one of the strangest careers in the history of football, with what he's accomplished and what he's gotten in return.

Ditka:This whole thing came down to one thing: bad cardiovascular.

Johnson: And Daniel Snyder, he needs to stop writing checks and wasting his money.

By Dan Steinberg  | December 20, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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eat crow, all of you fools. Grossman outplayed McNabb. There are no sacred cows on the redskins anymore, and that's exactly what this franchise needed. Surrender, coach Ditka, would be to keep McNabb in the games knowing that Grossman gives you your best chance to win, with the only purpose of saving face.

Posted by: John_Keats | December 20, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, didn't see Donovan putting up 30 points a game. Did you, Dan? Looks like it was a good move.

Rex Grossman- Super Bowl MVP 2012

Posted by: popopo | December 20, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Mike Shanahan did what none of these commentators would have had the onions to do.

Posted by: John_Keats | December 20, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

If there's one guy that knows quarterbacks, it's Mike Ditka. Thanks for starting Flutie in the '87 playoffs. Skins fans are forever grateful.

Posted by: senorbeavis | December 20, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else realize how incredibly horrible it has become as a Redskins fan when commenters are frickin thrilled with a losing performance that included 3 turnovers?

Posted by: hackeynut00 | December 20, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Give up? the Redskins won five games in 13 starts and were 1-5 in their last six with McNabb showing little improvement in this system since August.

Continuing to go with what is NOT working and expecting a different outcome is awfully close to the famous definition of 'crazy'.

Grossman threw 4 touchdowns and sustained drives of 50 plus yards on several occasions.

Compare that with the 'wins' this year where the Redskins points came not from McNabb but from DeAngelo Hall or turnovers that set up the offense for field goals in the red zone.

McNabb at 34 is close to the end. The Eagles would not have traded him if he were still a top echelon passer.

And if other teams thought McNabb had that much left the asking price of a #2 would have been trumped by a team willing to give up a #1.

The fact is NO OTHER team was willing to give up a #2 pick like the Redskins.

And with so many teams in the NFL in need of quality quarterbacking right now, the fact ALL took a pass on McNabb tells you something.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | December 20, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Really Keats?? One game at the end of the season where Dallas has nothing to gain. THere is a reason Rex has not started in two years!!! He is not that good. Three turnovers????? He will ofcourse win a game maybe, but who is he gonna play Jacksonville? A Giant team that has made the playoffs? Come on man. Rex is not the man. If he was he would still be starting somewhere else

Posted by: kmoney1 | December 20, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we needed a system quarterback after all? Cutler played well in Shanny's system and look what he did last year when he didn't have that system?

I wish we could come to these conclusions without wasting draft picks though.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | December 20, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I never said Grossman is the answer, but starting McNabb when he clearly is not is just a waste of everyone's time. Jacksonville is still fighting for playoff positioning, and the Giants will be fighting for their playoff lives, so yes, the games will still mean something to our opponents. Not really sure that's all that relevant, anyway. And the 3 turnovers also accompanied 4 touchdowns, a feat that 5 has not accomplished in years. The int to scandrick was awful, but the other two were not completely Rex's fault (Ware has been known to eff some people up now and then, and the last int was when we were in desperation mode). So yes, really, I support Shanahan's decision.

Posted by: John_Keats | December 20, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

So the Caps won last night. Not sure if anyone heard about it over all the McNubbs banter. But they broke a long DC-wide losing streak just last night. Oh and the Fridge got the axe...and I think I heard something about Agent Zero not being on the Wizzers anymore. Of course, I didn't hear about any of those things on the Bog...just sayin Dan...just sayin.

Posted by: sordidvox | December 20, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Shanahan just bugs me, McNabb or no McNabb. I think the guy has an entirely too high opinion of his capabilities for a guy who has won only a single playoff game since 1999.

Posted by: CommonSenseDude | December 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what exactly has Dovan McNabb accomplished in his NFL career???

And for the record, nobody said Grossman was the answer to the Redskins problems.

But then again, this is the same crew that ran Limbaugh off their set when he dared to criticise McNabb.

Posted by: CapsNut | December 20, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Rote talking points from the most tired sports network in America - do some homework and come up with some real analysis.

Posted by: mjwies11 | December 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I have to question the play-calling when McNabb was in the games he played. Since Kyle Shanahan wasn't a fan of McNabb from the beginning, some of the plays seemed very suspect. Donovan McNabb is an accomplished quarterback who did everything he could to make this team better, given the weak supporting cast. The Shanahans have treated him like a third-rate quarterback and McNabb has carried himself with class and dignity. It's the Shanahans who are overrated and who will prove to be another poor spending decision by Dan Dumb Snyder.

Posted by: Robmic812 | December 20, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

what a bunch of complete morons. I will make a point of turning off NBC's nfl analysis from now on with these illiterates at the helm.

cut McDumb.

Posted by: greatteamdan | December 20, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

and ESPNs too! lol

Posted by: greatteamdan | December 20, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@Robmic812: I don't doubt that McNabb "did everything he could to make the team better, given the weak supporting cast," but Grossman certainly made the offense better in one start than McNabb did in any game this year (save maybe Houston). So I'm not entirely sure what your point here is. Was Grossman's supporting cast somehow better?

Posted by: jaycane40oz | December 20, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of what these fools say, there is a perspective here that seems to be either ignored or not perceived.

If McNabb won't or can't learn the system; then the system cannot be used to its full potential. If he has progressed as far as he can this year in learning it, then benching him and putting Rex in actualy makes sense.

Shanahan said he was evaluating everyone on the team; he said this before he benched McNabb.

Think about it; how can you evaluate all the pieces of this offensive system if you can't run the system completely? Rex knows the system, he knows the offense, and he is a critical part of it as the #2 QB. Putting him in allows Shanahan to evaluate him AND the entire offensive system. You can't get a complete picture of where you are at, personnel-wise, in the system if you can't run the whole system. Some players might be good at certain plays/situations and not so good at others. How do you play to your players' strengths if you can't evaluate how they do executing all aspects of the system?

What they learned from this game is:
1. Rex can be/is a viable #2 QB they can trust and rely upon if the starter is hurt.
2. Rex or McNabb can hold down the offense until a new, rookie QB has the system down enough to start - and that will probably take a full season.
3. The system works.
4. They were/are able to evaluate different parts of the offensive system and personnel that they couldn't with McNabb.
5. McNabb is no different than any other QB learning a brand new offensive system. He can't pick up the system in one year, and even Rex said it took him over a year to figure out.

Posted by: cgteddy911 | December 21, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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