Many around the league are still trying to make sense of Mike Shanahan’s decision to pull QB Donovan McNabb in the closing minutes of what was considered a very winnable game last week in Detroit. The series of explanations that followed in the days after the benching seemed to only muddle the situation and bring questions about McNabb’s future in Washington and the trust the team has in the player who was thought to be their franchise quarterback.
To his credit — and perhaps the preservation of his next contract — McNabb has mostly taken the high road on the matter.
But the topic is still hot around the NFL Network, and, with the Redskins on their bye week, isn’t likely to dissipate from our consciousness. This one still has legs, and we’re slowly but surely getting more and more of the truths involved.
Quarterback-turned-NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner is no stranger to these situations, and he shared some of his thoughts:
“I couldn’t figure it out then. And then hearing coach Shanahan explain a little bit more over the last couple days, I’m even more perplexed with it.
“To say that he had some hamstring issues or he hasn’t run the two‑minute drill the last couple weeks and (they weren’t) sure he was in condition to do it? I mean, this is McNabb we’re talking about. He’s been out there every single snap of all these other games, and you’re going to tell me that he can’t finish out the two‑minute drive and doesn’t have the stamina and endurance to do that? Really a weird situation. I couldn’t make sense of it. I don’t know why it was done.
“I think it does lead to questions of ‘why’ in the locker room. If you take out your leader and the guy that you’ve really built this team around this year, and you take him out in the two‑minute drill and say, ‘We don’t have the confidence in you in this kind of situation to win a game for us,’ I think it raises some questions as to where they’re going and what the leadership of that team is. I wonder if it raises questions to the teammates and in the locker room on why that was done.
“If they’re asking the same questions as us, there’s got to be something more to it, because it just doesn’t make sense.”
What is going on in Washington? On the surface, the initial benching and following cover-up that few are buying is nothing but odd. To be fair, the Redskins coaching staff sees McNabb every day and knows more about their quarterback than they seem to be getting credit for. The handling of the situation, and its snowballing effect, likely raises questions and starts conversations about trust, loyalty and leadership in the corners of the locker room.
That’s what the Redskins don’t need.
– Frank Tadych
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