By MARK F. GRAY
On the merits of it being strictly a football decision you can understand the thought process of starting Rex Grossman ahead of Donovan McNabb in Sunday’s meaningless game at Dallas. It does reflect the due diligence that was lacking when the Shanahan regime took the helm of running the burgundy and gold franchise and didn’t properly address a dearth of talent at key positions throughout the roster. They need to use the final three weeks of the season to evaluate where the focus of the rebuilding process has to begin.
However, team Shanahan stepped out of bounds in the crass disrespectful manner which they have handled the McNabb era in Washington. While this has not been a season to remember for McNabb, you don’t leave a six time pro bowl NFC Champion quarterback twisting in the wind and then humiliate him publicly for the second time this year. This is something that should have been addressed with class. Obviously, class is something both Mike and Kyle Shanahan did not bring to Washington.
McNabb has missed receivers and has been wildly inconsistent all season. Kyle has been stabbing McNabb in the back to his father who probably has been doing the same to owner Dan Snyder since the bye week. But McNabb hasn’t been out coached in the second half of the last two home games by Leslie Frazier and Raheem Morris respectively. To make a move of this magnitude is purely personal and totally unprofessional. This is a case where the father wants to protect the reputation of his underachieving son/offensive coordinator at the expense of the credibility of a quarterback who has been facing an uphill battle all season.
Team Shanny has yet to take any responsibility for their role in coaching down a season that once had promise. When McNabb was benched against Detroit they cited his didn’t understand the terminology of the two minute offense and that “he lacked the cardiovascular conditioning“ to finish the game. Grossman understood it so well he immediately fumbled and the Lions recovered. Rex was also so fit that he was nowhere to be found as Ndamukong Suh was sealing the game with his touchdown run.
If Shanahan really had addressed McNabb and told him once they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs he would start Grossman for the rest of the season why create the drama of having the lingering question hovering over Dallas week. All that’s left to play for is to sweep the Cowboys but another Shanny distraction is set to derail that chance.
Doesn’t he get how important that is to people around here? If he makes the announcement Wednesday it’s a dead story by the weekend. However, in a year of distractions that have been instigated by Shanahan this is just par for the course. Where is taking the high road with these people?
Though revered in Denver Shanahan has not built enough honest equity with this fan base. His behavior is both derisive and polarizing. The Haynesworth fiasco could have been handled better and not so public. His decision to trade inside the division has cost them two more draft picks hampers the rebulding process as well.
This unfortunate and unnecessary episode is sure to divide the team, the fan base, and the city. The owner should know better than that!