In what was probably the strangest decision of week 8, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan decided to bench Donovan McNabb late into the second half in favor of Rex Grossman despite only being down five points with a chance to win the game. Shanahan explained after the game that he felt Grossman was better suited for the situation because he was more familiar with the teams two-minute offense.
ESPN’s Ross Tucker summed up the situation by tweeting, “I’m a Shanahan fan but ‘Rex knows terminology better’ after 6 months is an indictment of either his coaching or McNabb’s comprehension.”
Albert Haynesworth offered his opinion of the situation this morning by saying, “I mean, that’s Donovan McNabb on your team. I would always keep him out there on the field — no matter what. That’s just me,” per Mike Wise of the Washington Post. Wise also got some quotes from an a player who asked to remain anonymous who said that he “felt the strained relationship between McNabb and Kyle Shanahan,” and that McNabb “gives the offensive unit more confidence in the huddle than any player in recent team history,” which “counts for more than a scheme.”
Shanahan may have intended to motivate McNabb much the same way that Andy Reid did last season after benching him during a game against the Ravens but depending on how the team interprets Shanahan’s decision it could have lingering effects for the remainder of the season.
McNabb will be a free agent at the end of the year and situations such as this make it more likely that the two parties will go their separate ways at the end of the season.