By MARK F. GRAY
Since Team Shanahan benched then lied on Donovan McNabb they should have learned a valuable lesson. Though you guys were placed on a pedestal after a couple of Super Bowl wins in Denver, the Nation’s Capitol is a far more discerning place. This is a town whose press corps has taken down presidents, mayors, and even held the greatness that is Joe Gibbs accountable when he returned for a remix that was nowhere near as good as the original.
Mike and Kyle Shanahan haven’t built up enough equity to insult the intelligence of a diverse sophisticated fan base. Just because the players have been reluctant to speak out against the new regime they see what’s happening too. First Haynesworth then Devin Thomas now McNabb. The public embarrassment and ridicule of the Washington Football Team best offensive and defensive players is not lost on a locker room that has bought into the culture of change that has them in playoff contention right now.
If Mike Shanahan wants to publicly demand accountability from his players the time has come to publicly hold him accountable for bringing more drama to the District than the impasse between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. Since the start of training camp he has drawn battle lines with players, created the illusion of the dog house, and alienated members of the media with a belligerence born from previous success.
Who is Kyle Shanahan and what has he done to earn the power to disrespect a future hall of fame quarterback? His dad has been given absolute power and its clear blood is thicker than what is best for the Washington Football Team chance of making the playoffs this season. Young Kyle is a child of NFL privilege who has risen to offense coordinator because his dad groomed him on his staff in Denver. When Gary Kubiak got his job as head coach of the Texans and Mike was fired by the Broncos he hired Kyle as offensive coordinator. He hasn’t paid dues and doesn’t know about overcoming adversity because of his famous last name nor has he built an offense to make the playoffs either.
The decision to bench Donovan McNabb by questioning his competence in running the two minute offense was Pop Warneresque. It was once of those times where the coach sided with his kid even though it didn’t work out for the team. They compounded things by questioning McNabb’s endurance but their has been no introspection when looking at their game planning and play calling. Not only was that an insult to McNabb but to the fan base as well.
That Mike would side with Kyle on the field speaks volumes to just how gangster Team Shanahan is operating. There is no parent that doesn’t want the best for their child and would love to set them up to do well. Kyle needs this offense to work so he is hailed as the next genius and that he’ll be named “coach in waiting” in D.C. or on the short list of candidates for any of the jobs that may be open during the off season. He’ll never get that chance by stabbing a hall of fame caliber quarterback in the back.
All this means that Monday night versus the Eagles is another must win for Team Shanahan to vindicate their philosophy. The defense has become more effective now that Jim Haslett has played to the strength of his personnel by employing more 4-3 packages to create more of a pass rush. Team Shanahan has to play better to the strength of their offensive personnel as opposed to demanding perfection despite its flaws.
A loss could cost them whatever goodwill equity that was built with the fans and begin the same faltering finishes that marked the end of the seasons for The Shannys in Denver and Houston.
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