Washington Redskins: Donovan McNabb Benched For Rex Grossman

Todd WashburnContributor IDecember 18, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins looks to throw a pass against the New York Giants on December 5, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 31-7.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

What in the world? Where to begin?  Mike Shanahan, head coach of the Washington Redskins,  has benched QB Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman.  What is going on up there at FedEx Field?  In the middle of a terrible season where the 'Skins had high hopes going in, they are sitting third in the NFC East at 5-8 with a lot of character issues. 

First, Albert Haynesworth.  Suspended for the rest of the season and fined $10,000 because he didn't want to play in a 3-4 defense at nose tackle and is being paid $21 million.  Fellow teammates such as LB London Fletcher labeled him "selfish".  That's fair to say.  He couldn't pass the conditioning test at the beginning of the season, and ESPN's Mike Golic briefly came out of retirement to accomplish that very feat.  I call that laziness.  He calls himself a professional?  He doesn't even know the meaning of the word.  To be such a gifted athlete and possibly the best defensive tackle in the game, he sure isn't showing it.

Moving on.  Earlier in the season, with the Redskins trailing the Detroit Lions by six with 1:50 to play, Shanahan pulled McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman.  It didn't work. The backup's first snap of the season turned into a touchdown for the other team, with Grossman fumbling the ball on a blindside sack and Suh returning it for the score. Lions win.

"The cardiovascular endurance that it takes to run a two-minute, going all the way down with no timeouts, calling plays, it's just not easy." Shanahan said afterwards. "If I thought it was the best situation to do, then Donovan would have run the two-minute offense."

This decision had many people shaking, scratching or even banging their heads on the wall over this one.  Especially over a $78 million contract signed by the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.  That's right, do the math and you have two players sitting on the bench for over $100 million.  Somebody has got to go.  Those two players are being paid more than some franchises' entire salaries.

Fast forward to Week 14.  McNabb is benched once again for Rex Grossman on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.  Why? 

ESPN's Adam Schefter said, "Clearly, Mike Shanahan wouldn't be making the move if he had confidence in Donovan McNabb. The Washington Redskins' marriage with Donovan McNabb is over. It's over."

Not only will McNabb not start, he won't even be the backup. John Beck will back up Grossman and McNabb will be the inactive third QB for the rest of the season. Shanahan says, ''I cannot guarantee'' that McNabb ''will be back next year.''

Fletcher Smith, McNabb's agent, believes this to be disrespectful to the former Pro Bowler.  Some of us feel that way too.  Donovan isn't the only QB in Washington that has had troubled times.  Maybe they need an offensive line.  McNabb HAS been sacked 37 times this year.  Oakland Raiders QB Jason Campbell was sacked 47 times his last year as a Redskin in 2009, and only 27 this year as a Raider.  Behind one of my favorite offensive lines in Pittsburgh, Big Ben Roethlisberger has only been sacked 26 times as a control to this little argument. 

As much as I hate comparing sometimes worthless stats, Grossman has done nothing as of late to indicate that he is worth starting in the NFL as a quarterback.  In the last two years he has passed for less than 200 yards, two TDs and three interceptions.  He has a wonderful QB rating of 75.9, a 57.1 completion percentage and has fumbled twice.  McNabb has a rating of 77.1 this year, a 58 percent completion percentage, almost 3,400 yards in the air, 14 TDs and 15 interceptions. Granted, not much better. That could be on him a little, but he does pass for 7.2 yards per attempt.  Keep in mind, he only has one top WR in Santana Moss, about to break the century mark in receptions this season. 

Donovan McNabb is a veteran, a Pro Bowler, has experience, and should at least play the rest of the season.  Give the man that much.  However, to bench him in favor of a guy that could be in for worse times than McNabb? Get real.  It's plain to see that the Washington Redskins are in for some troubled times. My bad, they already are in troubled times.  Will it get better? Who knows.  My suggestion, start with a new GM.