From former Washington Redskins LB and Washington Post columnist, LaVar Arrington:
Easily be the biggest story of the week and perhaps the biggest decision to date by Mike Shanahan was his benching of Donovan McNabb on Sunday, down by six points with 1:50 in the game. Mike Shanahan put Rex Grossman into the game for the final, potentially game-winning drive.
Now, I’ve been asking questions about some of Shanahan’s decisions all year. I tipped my hat to the coach for how Albert Haynesworth played last week, but this week he will not be so fortunate.
The decision to pull your leader and your franchise QB out on the final drive of a very winnable game will affect this team far beyond the scoreboard of Sunday’s loss. As a former player, I can guarantee the players in that locker room are now wondering what is the line of thinking of their coaches. They are wondering why McNabb did not have that last opportunity to try and win it.
Neither My-Way Mike nor Quality-Control Kyle (the heir apparent to the coaching throne in, oh, three years) have complete confidence the future Hall-of-Famer they traded for in the offseason is the Redskins’ man for the job in the long haul, let alone two weeks.
The coach and his son can’t say that after Washington ruined a tremendous opportunity to enter the bye week at 5-3. And for the sake of 2010 team unity, they probably need to steer as clear from that notion as possible.
But with the surprise benching of McNabb with less than two minutes left and the Redskins down to the Lions by a mere six points – in essence, sitting a proven late-game playmaker at the exact moment he was acquired for last spring – the evidence keeps building toward an undeniable reality:
Halfway into a 4-4 season, the quarterback and his immediate supervisors don’t see eye to eye.
Mike Shanahan made that clear the moment he pulled McNabb for Rex Grossman, whom he explained understood the two-minute offense “terminology” better than McNabb – as if McNabb had never converted fourth and 26 once in January against Brett Favre and Green Bay to save another Philadelphia season.