Rex Grossman, the Redskins, the NFL Draft and ... 5-11
The benching of Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman was a heated topic for the NFL Network's GameDay crew. They expressed some skepticism about Grossman, dismay at the treatment of McNabb and questioned whether perhaps the Redskins are trying to not win another game in order to enhance their draft position.
Yep, they went there. Repeatedly. That's one giant matzoh ball hanging out there. And this is the league's network to boot.
Rich Eisen: "[Michael Lombardi] says they're ready to draft a quarterback [Marshall Faulk chuckles; Sunday pregame NFL shows are to chuckling as a brat is to a tailgate] and benching McNabb is in preparation of drafting a quarterback. Does that mean they benched McNabb to get higher in the draft order? Is that what that would possibly mean?"
Faulk: "It's like a playoff team resting their starters because they have their position. They're resting McNabb, benching [him], so those five wins? That's all they want. They understand that five wins, 11 losses, that might put you in the top five if you look at the rest of the teams that are in the league. You have a one-win team, a two-win team in the Bengals, a one-win team in Carolina and then a bunch of teams with three wins. So they need those teams to come down. If they can get in the top five, there's a lot of good college quarterbacks that's coming out this year that they now feel -- okay, there's not a lot of good veterans out there, so we need to go young, we need to get a young guy.
"Is that throwing games? I don't know, I mean, but you understand Donovan gives you a better chance to win and you start Rex and John Beck is second, now Donovan's third? I mean, you're sending a crazy message, not just to your fans and your team, but definitely to us."
Eisen: "Is that a way to justify the McNabb benching? Do you think it's justified [to Michael Irvin]?"
Irvin: "When I first looked at this and I said, okay, let me look at this purely from a football perspective, not thinking about what a great career Donovan McNabb has had, let's just talk about the Washington Redskins. And I said, okay, they're out of the playoff race. Donovan has a 77 percent passer rating, you want to find out if Rex Grossman is going to be your starter [indistinguishable groan from one member of the panel], possible starter next year? Okay, make the move. I say the same thing about [garble] ... "
Eisen: "Do you believe that? It sounds like another helping of 'cardiovascular endurance.' ... It sounds like another story that doesn't pass the smell test."
Irvin: "Rich, Rich, what we look at and what we've all had a chance to evaluate is Rex's performance in Chicago and we all look at that and say, 'Wow, no way you make this switch for Rex.' But the reality is he's in another system now. He's under a new regime. If these guys believe he's played well enough to warrant at least a test in a game, [Shanahan] has to throw him in right here. It's no different than what we talked about in Minnesota. Brett Favre, when they were mathematically eliminated, we started talking about 'they need to go to Tarvaris Jackson to find out for the future.' You already know Donovan's not going to be there. You want to go Rex to find out if he's your future? I have no problem with that. In that sense, it's justified, but the way it's been done has been poor."
Warren Sapp: "Wait a minute. You're going to compare the situation to Favre's stavernocavicular [sternoclavicular] injury? That's when we were talking about taking him out, but before then he hadn't even went on IR ... and Donovan McNabb is pretty much inactive. ... We were sold this dream from Shanahan that 'I have me a veteran, mobile, accurate quarterback "like John Elway" and now I can go out -- my system works, he's mobile enough to run it out of the pocket, do all these things. No, they sold us a dream. They sold us a dream that Donovan McNabb was their quarterback. Right now, they're taking the season and looking for that top five pick, Marshall. You are right. You are dead right. ... Your past don't lead to your future, but it gives me a real good indication of what I just might get and I've seen Rex. I've seen Rex."
Faulk: "He's protecting the team, it's in the team's best interest..."
[Giant mosh pit of talking as everyone seems to be expressing skepticism about that.]
Irvin: "Here's the problem. The comment that we heard from Jason [LaCanfora, who spoke of earlier reports and his own reporting about the Redskins' locker room being divided], talking about how this affects the team...this team is getting ready to play the Washington Red--the Dallas Cowboys, huge. Trust me, I know how big that rivalry is. They don't care about anything else. You'd better beat the Dallas Cowboys. I guarantee you, right now, the fans in Washington, they are hot at Mike Shanahan for making this move. So Rex Grossman better get in and show some signs of life or we may have another situation."
Steve Mariucci: "I have mixed emotions because I try to separate my feelings for Donovan -- and I think we all like the guy and appreciate his career and what he's done. But maybe, you know, the business side of this whole thing says, at age 34, maybe the coaching staff -- not maybe -- they have decided that he is descending, okay, and he is not their future. So then, what do you do? You cut ties because it's not going to be the case where he's leading the team next year. Now, is Rex Grossman the answer? I don't believe so. He's been to a Super Bowl, yeah, but I think they're trying to find out, should he be on the team next year as a backup? Because certainly they're going to draft a rookie quarterback to groom. Maybe Mike Shanahan feels he has enough job security to grow a rookie quarterback. Now, Donovan has the most interceptions he's ever had, the worst passer rating he's ever had, maybe clearly he is descending to a point where ..."
Someone: "So why get him?"
Faulk: "I hope that Mike Shanahan is the smart guy that he is and he's done evaluating Donovan and Donovan's not our guy. He's now evaluating his son. Okay, you say Rex Grossman can run your system? Put him in there. Let me see how you call plays, Kyle. This is your guy. He was with you in Houston, you said he could run that two-minute offense. Let's see can you call plays with Rex Grossman in the game because you need a guy that knows your system and now he's evaluating Kyle. And Kyle is now on the block."
Irvin: "We talk about how there's no possible way Rex is starting next season and they're drafting a young quarterback. Now ... I'm going to throw this out: Rex gets in and he plays well as anything and ... they can hold onto him for a year or so while Kyle Shanahan looks like an offensive quarterbacking guru. They'll say, 'he turned around Rex Grossman. Boy, he'll be the next head coach of the Washington Redskins.' Wasn't that the aim all the while?"
| December 19, 2010; 11:17 AM ET
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