McNabb speaks out about benching, says he felt “disrespected”

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 19: Quarterback Donovan McNabb  of the Washington Redskins on the sidelines against play against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Donovan McNabb has remained a class act throughout his NFL career despite facing many difficult challenges in both Philadelphia and Washington, including being benched for Rex Grossman.

But if anyone thought he would bit his tongue after tumbling face-first down the Redskins’ depth chart, then you sir or madam, were sadly mistaken.


“Everything was handled awkwardly,” McNabb said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on ESPN980, “somewhat to a disrespect to me and to the team.”

Making his first public comments since his demotion last week, McNabb said he strongly disagreed with the decision, but he has a bigger problem with the way he says the organization leaked the news to the media before informing him.

“Because of the timing and because of all the leaks and everything that was put out there, and no putting out the fire, so to speak,” McNabb said, “I’m hearing everything through the media.”

“I was pulled back by it. All of a sudden you get this news a couple of days before the game, you do feel somewhat disrespected,” McNabb said. “You could have told me earlier or at least prepared me for it. … The term I did use was professional. You would like to hear it early, and if you hear it late, it kind of throws off the preparation for a lot of guys.”

McNabb went on to say that he loves the fans in Washington and that he thinks, “we can do some good things here.” But it’s hard to envision a scenario where he comes back to D.C. next year. If the Shanahans thought McNabb could run their offense at any point in the future, they would have left him in as the starter. After all, if you’re a head coach or an offensive coordinator and you’ve established that someone is “your guy,” then you stick with him through thick and thin. Look at the Jets and Mark Sanchez. They know he’s their future and no matter how much he struggles, they’re committed to his development.

But it’s clear that the Redskins are not committed to McNabb fully grasping the offense or else they wouldn’t have benched him for Turnover McGee. Therefore, he probably has two weeks left in Washington unless Dan Snyder fires Shanahan and sticks with McNabb. Anything could happen (especially when Dan Snyder is involved), although it’s highly doubtful.

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Donovan McNabb benched – is he done in Washington?

Washington Redskins quarterbacks Donovan McNabb (L) and Rex Grossman participate in a drill during the last day of Redskins training camp at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia, August 19, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Donovan McNabb hasn’t played like the second coming of Y.A. Tittle this year, so let’s not act as if he’s the difference between the Redskins finishing this miserable season 3-0 or in a fiery blaze of their own hell. (They’ll probably choose the latter.)

But for crib’s sake, he’s still light-years better than Rex Grossman, whom Mike Shanahan will start against the Cowboys this Sunday.

Once again, the Redskins have befuddled the masses. Both McNabb and Shanahan say that McNabb is healthy, yet Grossman received an increased amount of reps this week practice and has been named Sunday’s starter. But why? Because he gives the Redskins their best chance of winning? That can’t be it. Grossman can hold his own when he plays on a team that employs the top ranked defense and a returner that sets his offense up at midfield every possession. But last time I checked, the Redskins had neither of those at their disposal.

So if McNabb isn’t hurt and Grossman doesn’t give the Skins their best chance of winning, then why start him? The only logical explanation is that they know McNabb won’t be around next year and therefore, are trying to see what they have in Grossman. They signed McNabb to an extension in mid-November but only committed $3.5 million more in guaranteed money so they aren’t tied down to him financially. They could release him and only lose $3.5 million in the process, which is chump change when it comes to a starting quarterback.

Thus, that must be the reason Grossman is starting on Sunday – because McNabb’s days in Washington are numbered. They have to be, or else why start the human turnover machine? Because McNabb still doesn’t have a feel for Kyle Shanahan’s offense? If he’s going to be a part of the Skins’ long-term future, then both Shanahans would want McNabb to get as much playing time as possible in preparation for the future. They wouldn’t bench him so he could take cues from Rex freaking Grossman.

Yep, that has to be it. McNabb is done in Washington. No coach in his right mind believes Rex Grossman gives his team its best chance of winning. He may play well for a quarter, a half or even an entire game, but over the course of a season Grossman is not the answer. If Shanahan knows this, then he must also know that McNabb’s time in D.C. is up.

Update: Rich Campbell reports via his Twitter page that Shanahan has informed McNabb that there’s no guarantee he’ll be brought back in 2011. ESPN’s Adam Schefter also says that, “It’s obvious that Donovan McNabb will not be back in Washington this season.”

This is a downgrade to the entire Washington offense: Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Anthony Armstrong…even Ryan Torain, who is going to get even more attention as the Cowboys dare Rex Grossman to air it out. I see Moss and Torain as fringe WR2 and RB2, respectively, while Cooley becomes a fringe TE1 play.

Writer plays race card when it comes to Donovan McNabb’s benching

Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb outruns the St. Louis Rams defense for a 26-yard gain in the second half at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on September 26, 2010.  UPI/BIll Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Author John Feinstein says race is factoring into how Mike Shanahan is handling Donovan McNabb in Washington.

After he benched McNabb for Rex Grossman at the conclusion of the Redskins’ game in Detroit two weeks ago, Shanahan said that McNabb wasn’t physically fit enough to run the two-minute offense because of a hamstring injury. Later it was reported that the Redskins have had to cut the playbook in half because McNabb is having a hard time picking everything up.

That prompted Feinstein to play the race card when he appeared on a local Comcast Sports talk show in Washington recently.

From FOX Philadelphia:

“The situation with Shanahan and McNabb has gotten completely out of control. Shanahan simply won’t say ‘I made a mistake. I got mad at Donovan, I put Rex Grossman in the game and it was a mistake.’ Instead, the first spin is that he doesn’t know the terminology of the two-minute offense, i.e. he’s stupid. The next day, it’s, well, his cardiovascular, he’s out of shape, i.e. he’s fat. Now, he’s leaking to Chris Mortensen — who is culpable in this, too, because I guarantee he didn’t call Donovan McNabb for a response — that we had to cut the playbook in half because of McNabb.”

“I think there’s racial coding going on here, and it’s my belief that that kind of behavior is worth firing a coach for. Dan Snyder’s not gonna do it, but I think it’s out of control.”

I’ve got one, big, fat trump card for Feinstein and his name is JaMarcus Russell.

While the Redskins didn’t sign the mammoth bust, Shanahan did bring Russell in for a workout two days after the Lions game. If Shanahan doesn’t want to work with black quarterbacks, then why bring in Russell? If Shanahan feels as though he has to cut his playbook in half for black quarterbacks, then again…why bring in Russell? It doesn’t make sense.

I think what happened here is that Shanahan got caught overthinking. Grossman had been running the two-minute drill in practice because McNabb had been nursing a hamstring injury, so Shanahan thought he could sneak one past the goalie by bringing in Grossman. Plus, it’s not like McNabb had been sharp up until that point, so Shanahan took a gamble.

Obviously that gamble didn’t pay off, but to accuse the man of racial coding is a bit extreme. This appears to be a classic example of the media looking too much into a situation instead of keeping the matter on the surface. McNabb wasn’t benched because he’s black. He was benched because Shanahan thought he was smarter than everyone and it backfired.

Shanahan says McNabb wasn’t physically fit enough to run two-minute drill

DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan watches the action during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Redskins 37-25. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Mike Shanahan now has a new excuse for why he pulled Donovan McNabb with the game on the line Sunday in Detroit: Donovan didn’t have the “cardiovascular endurance” to stay on the field and run Shanahan’s two-minute offense.

Come again? Shanahan is kidding right? This is all just one big joke that he and McNabb are in on and they’re eventually going to let everyone else in on it at some point, right?

I don’t care if McNabb lost both of his legs and was throwing up profusely – there’s no way I’m taking him out with the game on the line and putting in Rex Grossman. I know McNabb has been rather average this year and that Grossman knows the offense better after playing under Kyle Shanahan in Houston last season but he’s still Rex freaking Grossman.

Rex Grossman or Donovan McNabb? Donovan McNabb or Rex Grossman? *Makes the gesture of levels with both hands and moves them up and down.

It’s Rex Grossman! Am I on another planet here? Are we in some alternate universe where Grossman led his team to multiple NFC title games and made six Pro Bowl appearances and McNabb was the former first round bust that couldn’t hold onto a starting job (or the ball) with the Bears despite leading them to the Super Bowl? I mean, come on – it’s Rex Grossman…Rex Grossman.

How could McNabb be in good enough shape to play 95% of the game and rush for a team-high 45 yards, but not have enough “cardiovascular endurance” to operate the two-minute offense? Shanahan is full of s*&t. Either that, or he’s completely and utterly delusional.

For the Redskins’ sake I hope it’s the former, although that would mean that their head coach has no faith in his starting quarterback.

Donovan McNabb to bolt Washington after the season is over?

Washington Redskins' quarterback Donovan McNabb is seen on the sidelines against the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on October 10, 2010. The Redskins went on to defeat the Packers 16-13. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

This may be an overreaction to what happened yesterday in Detroit, but Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post predicts that Donovan McNabb will not re-sign with the Redskins this offseason.

With just over two minutes remaining and the Redskins trailing the Lions by only one score in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Mike Shanahan pulled McNabb and inserted Rex Grossman at quarterback. On his first play, Grossman was hit, lost the ball and Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh scooped it up for a 17-yard score.

Following the game, Shanahan told the media with a straight face that Grossman gave the Redskins their best chance of winning. After he was finished laughing, it had to have hit McNabb that his head coach doesn’t have complete and utter faith in him to get the job done.

Wilbon, who is a close friend of McNabb’s, doesn’t “believe for a second that Donovan McNabb’s gonna be here next year now.” Not a total surprise given what transpired on Sunday. But the Redskins haven’t been overly aggressive in re-signing him either, so maybe both sides have already soured on each other.

One would think that Shanahan wants to draft and develop his own quarterback. McNabb was a way to make the Redskins more competitive (which they have been), but Shanahan knows that this team is too devoid of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to be playoff contenders. And by the time they’re ready to compete for a postseason berth, McNabb will be well past his prime.

That said, the hot topic right now is how Shanahan benched McNabb. So it’s not surprising that one of the first articles out of Washington was from a writer stating that McNabb won’t be back next year. The key, however, is that the writer is Michael Wilbon, who doesn’t throw crap against the wall just to see if it’ll stick. He’s well respected in the D.C. area and he knows McNabb, so maybe he’s onto something.

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