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Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 12/17/2010

DeAngelo Hall: 'I don't think none of us saw it coming'

By Jason Reid

Players walked a tightrope after practice Friday while responding to reporters' questions about Coach Mike Shanahan's decision to bench Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb for the remainder of the season.

McNabb will serve as Rex Grossman's backup Sunday against the Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. For the final two games against Jacksonville and the New York Giants, the 12-year veteran will be demoted to the No. 3 quarterback, essentially making him inactive. Third-stringer John Beck will be Grossman's backup in those games.

Having experienced the organization's many dizzying moves the past three seasons, Redskins veterans are adept at being politically correct, and they were again in supporting McNabb as well as Grossman.

In text messages with a reporter, however, several players expressed frustration about yet another circus-like environment in Ashburn. McNabb is out. Grossman is in.
And players simply want the focus to return the field.

"Coach came in today and told the team," tight end Chris Cooley said. "He was very upfront with it. I think he spoke with Donovan about it yesterday.

"What I can tell you is that we're out of the playoffs, we haven't scored a lot of points in the past few weeks and ... it's a great opportunity for Rex."


Cooley was among the players who were downright giddy after the Redskins acquired the six-time Pro Bowler in an Easter Sunday trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Having competed against McNabb for years in the NFC East, Cooley admired the veteran quarterback as much for his calm leadership style as his success.

So when Shanahan informed the Redskins of his decision in the team meeting, Cooley "was surprised" by the move. And he wasn't alone.

"Yeah, it is surprising," cornerback and defensive co-captain DeAngelo Hall said. "He's definitely won a lot of games and done a lot of good things in this league. But as sad as it is, this league is a what-have-you-done-lately-for-me league. And he hasn't won a whole lot of games with us, so Coach felt it was kind of time to kinda figure out if Rex is gonna be a guy we keep around here next year or not.

"Those guys [Grossman and Beck] might look good in practice, but at the end of the day, you've got to show it in the game. You've got to do it in the game. These guys finally get an opportunity to show it in the game. Was it shocking? Yeah, it was shocking. I don't think none of us saw it coming. But it kinda is what it is."

McNabb, 34, has struggled in his first season with Washington (5-8), which has lost three in a row and five of six. While having the worst season of his career statistically, McNabb has not been the difference-maker Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle, envisioned when the team traded a second-round pick and a conditional fourth-rounder to the Eagles for McNabb.

In Week 8 against Detroit, the Shanahans benched McNabb in favor of Grossman in the final 1 minute 50 seconds of a 37-25 loss. At the time, Mike Shanahan cited Grossman's familiarity with the two-minute offense (Grossman worked in Shanahan's system last season with Houston) as the primary factor in the move.

In the ensuing weeks and days, however, people familiar with the situation revealed that the Shanahans were privately expressing concerns about McNabb's ability to grasp the offense, his throwing mechanics and work ethic, among other things, people familiar with the situation said.

Still, though, players privately said they still considered McNabb to be a better option at quarterback than Grossman, who was run out of Chicago and hasn't started a game since 2008. Grossman, however, is now Washington's starting quarterback.

"It's surprising, yeah, to do this on this team this year, but Coach Shanahan ain't just thinking about this year," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "Coach Shanahan is trying to put a team together, so he's evaluating not only for now, he's evaluating for down the line, too. I guess that's his approach it. He decided he's got to look at everybody, Grossman and Beck, too.

"We're not going to the playoffs, we really don't have a chance to do nothing, and Coach Shanahan is trying to put this team together to win. That's what Coach Shanahan is about. So you know it's going to be a big thing if you do this with a quarterback, and Coach Shanahan knew that, but he's got to do what he's got to do. And with everything he's done, Coach Shanahan shows that."

By Jason Reid  | December 17, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
 
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Next: Tom Boswell: this was a dumb move

Comments

Early each Monday morning, before the players start to arrive for their morning workouts in the cramped weight training room of the Redskins practice facility -- Ol' Shanny the head curmudgeon scrawls a word or two onto the white board in the front of the team meeting room.

The word is meant to focus the players on what they should strive to accomplish as they prepare for their next opponent -- and suggest they should commit themselves as individuals and as a team to attaining and sustaining certain high principles, core values or other noteworthy characteristics that separate the truly great from the merely good or lesser mortals.

On occasion, the words have been truly prophetic and inspirational -- like one week earlier this season when strong safety Laron Landry made it his personal mission to "Dominate" -- or another game a few weeks later when the mighty mouse / return specialist Brandon Banks decided to give a one-man clinic on the importance of "Field Position."

Unfortunately, as is often the case at Redskin Park -- there were other times when things did not go so well as intended. Like the time some wayward janitor erased the coach's words and scrawled instead, "FU AH92." The trouble was, given his advanced age and myriad of responsibilities the head coach mistook the message for his own, and although he could not exactly remember writing it, he decided must make it happen all the same -- and subsequently suspended the franchise's poster child for conduct detrimental to the team -- that is, pissing in the Redskins’ communal showers while his other teammates were trying to wash up after practice.

This week, and coming off yet another embarrassing loss in a season full of many such debacles, Ol’ Shanny decided to come in a little earlier Monday morning. With determination in his step and a glint in his eye, he strode straight to the board like Moses coming down from the mountain to share the God’s own commandments. He then wrote the following words in indelible ink: “Hang Time.”

And as it was written, so shall it be.

Posted by: Vic1 | December 17, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

OMG, rocco cursed? Now that's a bloggist I can get behind.

Go Rock!

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | December 17, 2010 2:51 PM |
___________________________________________

I don't like cursing at all. But I just got a little upset.

Posted by: roccoskins | December 17, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Totally disagreed with Sally.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I was going to make a smart alec comment like "Now I know she's on to something" but then I realized you did not comprehend her column.

She is making the argument that it is time to see what this offense is without McNabb. This is a very astute observation, because Shanahan does need to see what the scheme is without McNabb. Maybe it will be far worse. Maybe it will be better. Maybe it stays the same. The point is, the coach needs to know.

NOWHERE in her column does she advocate that Beck or Grossman are the future.

I was kidding about my not being able to read crack, but now I'm not so sure!

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | December 17, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm fine with the benching, and I don't need to read Sally Jenkins to have it affirmed for me.

I never read lazy hack beeotches who only run to their keyboard when they have a negative story to write (because those are the EASIEST stories to write, hence the "lazy" epithet).

Wake me if and when Kornheiser writes a piece about it.

Until then, I'll wait for Mike "I Like To Make Sh*t Up" Wise to write a tearful column about how the McNabb benching is akin to the return of the Jim Crow laws of the 1950s.

Posted by: MrRedskin21 | December 17, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

What ever happened to (sic)?

Posted by: JoeyMack | December 17, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

You see it nigh. Get your minds right or you want be playing.

Posted by: hbu_dog | December 17, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Why do this during Cowboys week? Who cares if we lose to the Jags?

Just proves what everyone already knows, only the fans care about rivlaries anymore in the NFL? Coaches, players, staff, they could care less. They're buddies with half of the opposing players.

Hate the garbage.

Posted by: saltine182 | December 17, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So Deangelo got the headline but no quotes in the post. First original postt.

Posted by: wireman65 | December 17, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Totally disagreed with Sally.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I was going to make a smart alec comment like "Now I know she's on to something" but then I realized you did not comprehend her column.

She is making the argument that it is time to see what this offense is without McNabb. This is a very astute observation, because Shanahan does need to see what the scheme is without McNabb. Maybe it will be far worse. Maybe it will be better. Maybe it stays the same. The point is, the coach needs to know.

NOWHERE in her column does she advocate that Beck or Grossman are the future.

I was kidding about my not being able to read crack, but now I'm not so sure!

Posted by: WaitingGuilty

You think Shanahan is really evaluating his scheme? He knows what his scheme can and what it can't do. He sees the film and knows if McNabb missed a read or if the WR ran the ran way.

He knows if the play didn't work because it was poorly executed or a poor play call.

Rex Grossman isn't going to help Shanahan learn anything about his scheme.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't think none of us saw it coming. -DHall


Sweet use of the double negative (can't do nuthin' about that), DH.

So, you ALL definitely DID see it coming, good to know.

Posted by: stevek20147 | December 17, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The Skins need this tough love.

Posted by: hbu_dog | December 17, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Dramatic headline...anti-climatic PC fluff quotes from the players...nice one Reid.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 17, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Am I seeing double or did Carlos Rogers say "Coach Shanahan" six times in a hundred words?

Posted by: Nemo24601 | December 17, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Grossman was pretty good in the preseason. I remember he had some good chemistry with Fred Davis.

Posted by: iH8dallas | December 17, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Am I seeing double or did Carlos Rogers say "Coach Shanahan" six times in a hundred words?

Posted by: Nemo24601 | December 17, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Dude can read the writing on the wall. Not that it'll save him -- if and when they can find a better corner. But in the meantime, it just doesn't pay to rattle the man.

Posted by: Vic1 | December 17, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

who lasts longer with the team mcnabb or shanahan

Posted by: mudman220 | December 17, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Grossman was pretty good in the preseason. I remember he had some good chemistry with Fred Davis.

Posted by: iH8dallas | December 17, 2010 4:05 PM

Marko Mitchell was pretty good in the preseason, too.

Posted by: Alan4 | December 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

i'm coping with this by imagining there's a deal in the works FOR PICKS that stipulates mcnabb doesn't play in the final three games

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | December 17, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Grossman was pretty good in the preseason. I remember he had some good chemistry with Fred Davis.

Posted by: iH8dallas | December 17, 2010 4:05 PM

Marko Mitchell was pretty good in the preseason, too.

Posted by: Alan4

this is what we've come to? sigh ...

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Daddy Shanahan is looking at the QBs AND the system...Kyle is also under the microscope here. Kyle has been lobbying for Grossman since, oh, about game #5. Kyle has been complaining about McNabb's inability to grasp and run his offensive system. Daddy Shanny is basically saying, OK son, here's what you said you wanted. Make it happen.

Now's the time to put up or shut up for all concerned. I predict success, and the Dallas secondary will be torched. Skins 30, Cowboys 17, HAIL.

Posted by: DC2Cali | December 17, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Alan4 | December 17, 2010 4:13 PM

So Alan, a few peeps are trying to look at this mess as positively as possible yet you insist on busting their bubble. Why?

Does it burn you that not everyone is hanging their head? C'mon man.

Posted by: kerzon417 | December 17, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The real downside of all the benching has nothing to do with the Redskins. If Childress had survived with the Vikings the Redskins could have gotten their second round pick back. But instead philly will get a little stronger regarless of what happens here.

Posted by: Hank4 | December 17, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse


Grossman was pretty good in the preseason. I remember he had some good chemistry with Fred Davis.

Posted by: iH8dallas | December 17, 2010 4:05 PM

Marko Mitchell was pretty good in the preseason, too.

Posted by: Alan4

this is what we've come to? sigh ...

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Except Fred Davis has been good in real games.

Oh, and the Skins will beat the Cowboys.

Posted by: iH8dallas | December 17, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kerzon417 | December 17, 2010 4:18 PM

Yer right, dude. I'll refrain from any more posts until after the game.

Posted by: Alan4 | December 17, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

He looked great is Osaka!

Posted by: JohnnyRyde | December 17, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Alan4 | December 17, 2010 4:13 PM

So Alan, a few peeps are trying to look at this mess as positively as possible yet you insist on busting their bubble. Why?

Does it burn you that not everyone is hanging their head? C'mon man.

Posted by: kerzon417 | December 17, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, Alan doesn't burst my bubble.

Him and pabrian are just sad little guys.

I feel bad for them.

Posted by: iH8dallas | December 17, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I predict success, and the Dallas secondary will be torched. Skins 30, Cowboys 17, HAIL.

Posted by: DC2Cali | December 17, 2010 4:16 PM


From your lips to God's ears.

Posted by: MColeman51 | December 17, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

from chris russell
On 1 yr anniversary of Vinny Cerrato regime ending, it's logical to say - the Donovan McNabb era came to a quick & stunning end! #Redskins 4 minutes ago via web
Shanahan keeps us guessing. Won't say what the defensive move is - 1. 'Bear' over Ma'ake? 2. H.B. over Rocky? 3.Macho over Kareem?

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 17, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Boswell beeps.

Posted by: iH8dallas | December 17, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Its a good decision....

The redskins cannot afford to spare the pride of a quarterback they gave so much up for as they begin their process of rebuilding.

My hope is since they have the rights to McNabb that they trade him to the Vikings or Cardinals and get back one of the 2 picks they traded.

Having watched McNabb this season.....with Tampa Bay being arguably his worst game....Shanahan is justified in benching him.

You have to earn the right to play in this league and even McNabb would state his performance is below average.

Best to see if Grossman or Beck have the talent to be a placeholder for the future QB of the Redskins.

Posted by: GoonieGooGoo | December 17, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

unilateral surrender to play a preseason evaluation game versus the cowboys?

we probably could have used that 2nd round (5th pick in the round) pick in the 2010 draft, huh? to the eagles for a player they were looking to get rid of anyway. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_NFL_Draft

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | December 17, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I just can't believe all those POS Eagle fans were right!! They told us McNabb sucked and we all drank the sand of the oasis of a franchise QB. Unreal! Lord please have mercy on Skins fans and deliver us from the pit of hell!!

Posted by: skins91r | December 17, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

My biggest fear is this guy is so stupid we lose Orakpo

Posted by: southportwave | December 17, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

First you cut Hunter Smith who had nothing to do with the field goal kicker missing two field goals and then you bench McNabb for doing the best he can with no offense of line, no go to reciever the redskins organization is out of whack. At this point you just dont know if this organization will ever get back to where it needs to be.

Posted by: ward12006 | December 17, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that as long as McNabb has been in the NFL, the coaches should have known what he could do. At this point,we should have kept Jason Campbell and our two draft choices.We wouldn't be any worse off and we'd have those choices. We could have used those to fill the many other needs we have. Bad management,

Posted by: kinsman_bob | December 17, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

During Dallas week? Really? Great time for a lab experiment, Ego-han.

From the another thread:

• I didn't like McNabb much when he was good, but he played for Philly then. Since he went to Syracuse, I don't like him much now. That said, he is BY FAR the best QB on the team.
• Ego-han has made a mockery of this franchise. He's not as lost, in terms of X's and O's, as Zorn was, but overall, he's every bit as inept. He is, without question, more interested in telling everyone how freakin' smart he is than in winning games.
• What has he gone through? 12 RBs? 13? His skill as an evaluator of talent is an absolute joke. Any self-proclaimed "football genius" in your local sports bar has as good a shot at identifying talent as this idiot.
• He already alienated some players with his disastrous mishandling of the Haynesworth saga. Did Haynesworth need to be suspended? Yeah, probably. But this move makes it look like Shanahan just might have given him ample reason to get hacked off. AH surely didn't handle his situation, but it's starting to look like this dictator has lost all sense of reality and is at risk of losing the entire team. Of course, nobody has the juevos to tell him what a clown he is because Little Danny gave him way too much (money and) power.
• There are players — lots of players — who are furious about this. Hopefully at least one (Fletcher? Cooley? Orakpo? Hall? SOMEONE?) has Little Danny's ear, because Little Danny is the only one who has the power to tell Ego-han to back the hell off. He won't do it, of course, but he could.
• Makes you wonder if the rift between players and Ego-han extends to a rift between Ego-han and Bruce Almighty. It's terrifying for the future of the franchise to think that if it came to a power struggle, Ego-han would win out over Bruce Almighty.
• The Skins could draft every quarterback in college, and Ego-han has done nothing IN HIS CAREER to suggest he won't mess them all up.
• Every decision Ego-han makes seems to set the team back. Thanks. I didn't think I could be more embarrassed to be a Redskins fan than I was during the Zorn Error, but I am — a lot more embarrassed.
• Doesn't matter how many Terrell Davises and Mike Andersons he had in Denver. Without John Elway at QB, Ego-han has won ONE playoff game in his career. With Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton, most of us could have won a game or two.
• Here's a sentence nobody ever thought would be said: "Little Danny needs to FOLLOW AL DAVIS'S LEAD .... AND FIRE MIKE EGO-HAN!"

Even when Little Danny went nuts and signed SlimeTime Sanders and Jeff George and Brandon Lloyd, I was a proud Redskins fan. I'm 41 years old, and for the first time in my life, thanks solely to Ego-han, my lifelong allegiance to the Redskins is something I'm ashamed to admit.

Posted by: DC2Dallas | December 17, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Predictions - Dallas 24-3 - Grossman fumbles at least 2 snaps, throws at least 2 picks, and gets injured. Not gonna be pretty!

Posted by: DontGetIt | December 17, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

This doesn't make Shanahan like a very smart judge of football talent let alone finding the right guys for your system.

If I were in Shanny's shoes I would have played out the string and traded McNabb quietly in the offseason. Interesting how he's going about this process. The only explanation I can think of is that he's really, really sick of McNabb and wants to find out if Rex has enough left to serve as interim QB next year.

Weird.

Posted by: Pepper5 | December 17, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Sally Jenkins article was spot on. As for where she lives, when did that have to do with being a real fan. I live 500 miles from the stadium and am more of a fan than what I see on this blog.

Is Rex the future, prob. not. But Mcnabb has just not made good decisions in winable games. Jason Reid seemed more concerned about MC Nabb than the skins.

WE ARE 5-8 FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, ANDY REID AND SHANNY BOTH HAVE SEEN SOMETHING, I WILL TRUST THEIR PERSPECTIVE OVER YOU HATERS AND JASON REID WHO (does anyone know how he is qualified).

Signed,
A REAL fan.
Go to Balitmore sell outs, or for that matter go to Dallas.

Posted by: rodskin | December 17, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

DeAngelo Hall: 'I don't think none of us saw it coming'

So uh.... you all saw it coming, or did he mean nobody saw it coming? Apparently, I'm not to proficient in English.

Posted by: Ontheotherhand | December 17, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

As much as McFlabb wanted a happy ending from the 'Skins, he's not going to get it.

Posted by: josettes | December 18, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

DeAngelo Hall: 'I don't think none of us saw it coming'

So uh.... you all saw it coming, or did he mean nobody saw it coming? Apparently, I'm not to proficient in English.

Posted by: Ontheotherhand | December 17, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Ontheotherhand: Wouldn't that be not too proficient, as in not proficient enough, Smartypants? Maybe you should look in the mirror...

Posted by: velvetafro | December 18, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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