Washington Redskins: Kyle Shanahan Unnecessarily Criticized About Donovan McNabb

Josh McCainSenior Writer IMay 31, 2011

ASHBURN, VA - AUGUST 06:  Head Coach Mike Shanahan (R) of the Washington Redskins talks with his son Kyle Shanahan (L) offensive coordinator for the team during Redskins training camp on August 6, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has written up a scathing article on Kyle Shanahan and the quarterback situation with the Washington Redskins.

In the article he sites a source saying that Donovan McNabb will no longer be with the team because Kyle Shanahan doesn't like him.

And as far as John Beck becoming the starter Prisco had this to say:

"Is it just a huge case of arrogance on the part of Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, the supposed offensive guru, to think he can move the football with anybody as a triggerman?"

Prisco also sites an unnamed NFC coach saying, "If they thought so highly of him, why didn't they play him late last year when they benched McNabb?"

Prisco also reports that Rex Grossman became the starter at the end of the season due to the unusual high influence of Kyle on his father.

Claiming that Kyle "has more power than most offensive coordinators in the NFL, probably because he has the same last name as the head coach."

He then also asked the question, "Can anybody in their right mind think either Grossman or Beck is a better option than McNabb right now?"

I have several qualms with this article in it's tone that seems to be just another article attacking the Shanahans because that seems to have been a popular topic since Mike Shanahan benched Donovan McNabb in the final two-plus minutes in the game at Detroit last season.

First of all, the assumption that the Shanahans have this arrogance around them and that they dare let Beck start at quarterback with only four NFL career starts.

I'm not going to pretend that there isn't a degree of favoritism in the NFL (or any sport for that matter), but the bottom line is you are judged on wins and losses and no matter how arrogant the Shanahans may or may not be they aren't going to put a guy under center that they believe won't win.

If Beck is going to be the starter for the Redskins next season it's because Mike and Kyle have seen something in him that they believe will translate to wins in the NFL.

Just because a quarterback has limited to no NFL experience means nothing.  After all, Kurt Warner and Tom Brady had very little experience in the NFL when they became full-time starters and both of them won the Super Bowl their first seasons at the helm with teams that few expected to even make the playoffs.

Now, I'm not going to say that Beck is the next Warner or Brady, but until we actually see him out there in a regular season game I'm not going to assume anything about him (I know he has four starts for Miami, but that was a 1-15 squad and completely different from this Redskins team).

Beck could set a franchise record for touchdowns or interceptions, or both, but we won't know until we see him out there.

It's that age-old question of how can someone gain experience without getting out there and doing it?

My second gripe comes from the unnamed NFC coach, who very well could be a lowly quarterback coach.

I have long held the opinion that Grossman starting the final three games was more of a tryout for him to be re-signed next season.

I think he was originally signed to the roster on Kyle's recommendations but only given a one-year deal because Mike wasn't sure about him.

So once the Redskins were out of the playoff hunt Rex became the starter to see if GM Bruce Allen and Mike wanted to re-sign him.

Now as a fan I would have liked to see Beck out there maybe for the last game or at least a half (especially if he is going to be the starter this season).

Also, the coaches may have felt at the time that Beck wasn't ready to start.  If he's not ready, he's not ready.  With the last couple of practices (as well as some work in the offseason) the coaches may now feel that Beck is indeed ready.

We also have to take a step back with all of this Beck as the starter next season.

Mike Shanahan only said that he felt Beck was the best QB in the 2007 draft class.  A class that saw only JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn and Kevin Kolb drafted ahead of Beck.

Of the three quarterbacks drafted ahead of him, only Kolb has accomplished anything — and it hasn't been a lot — so it's not like Beck was compared to Brady, Manning or Rodgers.

And since Beck has taken it upon himself to organize team practices during the lockout and worked with several of the rookies, the media (especially the DC media) has jumped all over this and proclaimed Beck the new starting quarterback.

Lastly, I want to address Prisco's claims that Kyle Shanahan has a higher than usual influence as an offensive coordinator.

Most offensive, as well as defensive, coordinators have a great deal of influence of who is out on the field.

As the coordinator, you're the one drawing up the plays and you have to have the right people to execute them.

If McNabb wasn't executing the plays and Grossman was more effective then the right move was made.

I won't go as far as some to say McNabb is washed up, but if you go back and watch some of the Redskins' games from last season you'll see a quarterback who was frequently over or under throwing open receivers.

There were several occasions when Redskin receivers had broken free of their defenders and for whatever reason McNabb couldn't get them the ball.

Be it his age or unfamiliarity with the offense, McNabb threw quite a few errant passes when he was under little to no pressure.

Every offensive coordinator is judged by how well his offense runs and I'm quite sure that if a coordinator feels a player can't handle his system or isn't playing well he'll go to the coach and request that the player should sit.

If Kyle felt the team was being held back by McNabb he had every right to go to his coach and suggest a change.

With that said, I have no doubt that Mike is grooming Kyle to be his successor in Washington.  With that, however, I think comes a degree of telling his son what his place is.

After all, Kyle might be being groomed to take the reigns, but he doesn't have them yet.

If Mike does indeed want his son to take over for him one day he'll have to have a winner in Washington so I wouldn't expect Mike to follow every suggestion of his son if he doesn't feel the suggestion will win football games.

I find it hard to believe Mike doing something his son suggests even though he knows it will result in a loss.  If Mike is half as arrogant as people say he is then he's not going to let his son's suggestions cost him wins.

Regardless of your opinions on the Shanahans and their decisions, every move Mike makes is done because he feels it will win football games.

They may not be the right decisions but at the time I'm sure Mike felt they would work.

For more talk about Washington's favorite football team follow me on Twitter (@jomac006).


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