The decision by Mike Shanahan to bench starting QB Donovan McNabb with the game on the line against the Lions has drawn plenty of attention.
And it feels like the fallout from The Decision has only just begun. We have yet to hear from those inside the Redskins locker room, and it’s a decent bet that those opinions will begin to emerge this week.
During his postgame news conference, Shanahan said the decision stemmed from backup Rex Grossman having a better understanding of the team’s two-minute offense and giving the Redskins a better chance to win.
Few, however, are buying Shanahan’s reasoning, which raised plenty of eyebrows at NFL Network, including those of one of our resident coaches, Steve Mariucci.
“We know that Grossman was in Houston with Kyle Shanahan, but he was sitting on the bench there behind Matt Shaub watching this two-minute drill,” Mariucci said. “There’s no reason why McNabb doesn’t know the two-minute drill for the Redskins. I’m baffled with that decision.”
Mariucci isn’t alone.
“I think [McNabb] is doing a wonderful job,” Deion Sanders said. “To disrespect him like that … he has a “C” on his chest. That means he’s a captain. He’s a leader. He’s your team spokesman. He’s a good guy. You brought this guy over to help your franchise, and this is the way you pay him? … It makes no sense to disrespect McNabb that way.”
The fact the Redskins are entering a bye week only allows more time for the situation to fester. Clearly, there are no shortage of questions that have yet to be answered. Was Mike Shanahan sending a message to McNabb, or the locker room? Is this a sign of a strained relationship between McNabb and Kyle Shanahan? Is McNabb really trusted? How will the decision resonate inside the locker room? Will there be long-term damage?
And finally … might we have … gulp … a schism?
— Frank Tadych