Mike Shanahan Benches Donovan McNabb in Favor of the Great White Hope

Dexter RogersCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2010

ASHURN, VA - APRIL 6:  Mike Shanahan, head coach of the Washington Redskins presents Donovan McNabb with his new jersey during a press conference on April 6, 2010 at Redskin Park in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has been benched by head coach Mike Shanahan for the remainder of the season in favor of Rex Grossman.

McNabb benched in favor of Grossman?

It appears Shanahan has lost his mind, while McNabb refuses to speak his. 

Shanahan had this to say regarding the benching, "Right now I have to do what is in the best interest of this organization and that's to get a good feel for where we're at the quarterback position."

Shanahan continued, "I talked to Donovan after practice [on Thursday] and I told him that once we were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs that I made a decision to start Rex Grossman."

Shanahan has done an effective job of tearing down the Redskins organization and few in the media are addressing it. 

McNabb is not the problem; Shanahan is the problem. 

I think owner Daniel Snyder should step in and bounce Shanahan right out of town.


First, there’s the Albert Haynesworth situation.  Shanahan treats Haynesworth like he is a sixth-round pick trying to make the team.  He makes Haynesworth perform senseless conditioning tests just prove who is large and in charge.

Ever since training camp, Haynesworth and Shanahan have been at each other's throats.  Recently, Shanahan deactivated Haynesworth for the remaining four games of the year for the old “conduct detrimental to the team” spiel. 

Haynesworth is appealing the decision, and rightfully so.

Earlier this season, Shanahan had the nerve to bench McNabb against the Detroit Lions during the latter stages of the game. 

King Shanahan suggested McNabb did not have the “cardiovascular endurance” to run the two-minute drill and he didn’t quite grasp the offense.

I was extremely outspoken regarding McNabb’s benching in Detroit.  Shanahan has demonstrated utter disrespect for Haynesworth, and now McNabb.

Let’s look at the facts here—Shanahan has effectively gotten rid of Haynesworth, and now he continues to humiliate the quarterback he traded for.

I have not condoned all of Haynesworth's behavior this season, but one thing I do respect him for is he spoke his mind. 

In a radio interview earlier this year, Haynesworth suggested he was being treated like a “slave” and such treatment was not called for.

As for McNabb, he has taken the high (silent) road, but McNabb’s agent Fletcher Smith suggested, "Just the way Mike handled the whole situation in Detroit, and in almost every instance since that time, and this is, I guess, the culmination of that. I think it's...beyond disrespectful."

Shanahan has clearly crossed the line.

Last time I checked, it is the coach’s responsibility to do two things.  

One, ensure that his players are prepared. 

Two, put the players on the field who give the franchise the best chance to win.

Shanahan has destroyed Haynesworth's confidence in the organization by mistreating him, and now he has done the same to McNabb by benching him.

They happen to be two of the best players on the team.

The first thing that pops in my mind is McNabb is allowing himself to be bullied.  It is very difficult to defend someone who won’t defend himself against another's utter disrespect of his skills as a player and his spirit as a man.

This isn’t about whether McNabb can play—it is about Shanahan showing he has the power to do as he pleases without being reprimanded for his blatant lunacy.

Ray Charles can see that Grossman doesn’t give the Redskins a better chance to win than McNabb, and he’s blind and dead. 

Shanahan’s actions have created an atmosphere that suggests McNabb is washed up and the reason for the franchise failing this season. 

Furthermore, Shanahan's suggestion earlier this season that McNabb doesn’t give the team the best chance to win, while the “Great White Hope” Grossman does, opened up a senseless debate on whether McNabb can really play.

Reading between the lines, Shanahan is suggesting his son’s (Mike Shanahan) offense is too complex for the African-American quarterback to understand—therefore, he needs to rely on the smart, little white guy to get the job done.

I won’t go into statistics to substantiate who is a better quarterback between McNabb and Grossman.  To make such a comparison would be senseless.  Instead, I will address Shanahan’s ability to coach.

Shanahan won two Super Bowls as a coach with the Denver Broncos, but he would not have them without running back Terrell Davis. 

The franchise quarterback he coached in John Elway had already been to three Super Bowls, but he came up short each time.  Therefore, it can be logically asserted it was not Elway’s arm or Shanahan’s coaching that got Denver over the top.  It was Davis’ running.

Shanahan is not a great coach.

Shanahan was fired in Denver because he could not get the job done without Elway and Davis.  Shanahan is showing his true colors right now. 

Shanahan needs to man up and take responsibility.  If Haynesworth is not ready to play, the responsibility is on the coach.  

You work with the player until you get what you need from him.  You don’t fix it by deactivating him.

If McNabb doesn’t play well, then Shanahan is responsible for making sure he fixes the problem.  You certainly don’t fix it by putting in a quarterback who can’t play.

Shanahan is deflecting his responsibility on the players when he should step up and blame himself.

To cover up for his shortcomings, Shanahan has created a frenzy around players like McNabb and Haynesworth to divert attention from his failures as a coach.

Shanahan has the authority to alienate Haynesworth and bench McNabb, but Daniel Snyder cuts the checks.

Instead of benching McNabb, I think the time has come to bench Shanahan and bounce him out of Washington, D.C.

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