Nov 2, 2010 - In recent weeks, much has been made regarding the prospects of Donovan McNabb signing a long-term deal with the Redskins. For much of the offseason, the consensus was that the question wasn't whether McNabb would remain a Redskin beyond 2010, it was simply a matter of when he would sign.
Halfway through the season, these talks will be put on the backburner after McNabb was benched at the end of Sunday's 37-25 loss to the Detroit Lions. For whatever reason, Mike Shanahan decided his quarterback wasn't cutting it and picked Rex Grossman as the latest sacrificial lamb behind a porous offensive line.
Shanahan hasn't been shy when expressing his dislike for certain players. Like him or hate him,Albert Haynesworth is a difference maker, yet Shanahan has found ways to escalate that saga at times. Devin Thomas was run out of town for no apparent reason, despite possessing more talent than several receivers on the roster. Derrick Dockery hasn't dressed for the past three games and he might be the team's best interior lineman. However, since he doesn't fit the zone blocking scheme, the inferior Kory Lichtensteiger has been playing in his stead and with disastrous results.
Keeping this in mind, Shanahan's move to bench McNabb yesterday is another telling sign that the coaching staff simply doesn't believe in McNabb after giving up a pair of draft picks to acquire him this offseason. There's little doubt McNabb gives Washington the best chance to win, but the coaching staff has made it clear they are displeased with his performance. Shanahan has dropped hints all year about McNabb‘s inability to learn the offense. Add in his costly late game interception on Sunday, and there are serious questions as to the team's faith in McNabb as the starter.
As good as Shanahan is for the Redskins, he is flirting with pulling the plug on the 2010 season. Benching McNabb is going to put a damper on the positive vibes recently emanating from the locker room and players are already questioning the move. A loss to the Lions has derailed an entire Redskins season before, and it could do it again.
Maybe Shanahan was just trying to win a game he felt had gotten away from his quarterback. But the move to Grossman will be analyzed ad nauseum for the next two weeks. McNabb might not miss another snap, but the prospect that he that he could will drum up talk of controversy.
Shanahan has created a monster he never should have by bringing in Grossman. The Redskins are playoff contenders in a weak NFC and McNabb is the only option if Washington wants to secure a berth in postseason play. It's too early to pull the plug on him since there is no question he remains the team's best option at quarterback.