Shanahan Adds to McNabb Benching Story - NBC4 Washington

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Shanahan Adds to McNabb Benching Story

McNabb not in shape to run 2-minute offense, coach says



    Mike Shanahan changes his story on the Donovan McNabb benching.; (Published Monday, Nov. 1, 2010)

    Mike Shanahan on Monday added to the folklore surrounding Donovan McNabb's benching in the waning minutes of Sunday's loss to Detroit.

    Shanahan originally said that backup Rex Grossman, who hadn't taken a regular-season snap all season, gave the Redskins the best chance to win because he knew the terminology of the two-minute drill better than McNabb.

    Shanahan benched McNabb for Grossman with 1:50 to play in the 37-25 loss.  The move raised many eyebrows -- among both teammates and fans.

    But during his weekly press conference Monday, Shanahan's story changed from a lack of understanding of the quick-strike offense to McNabb's game shape. Shanahan went so far as to say he thought about not playing McNabb at all in the game.

    The coach said McNabb had hamstring injuries, quad injuries and "some contusions down there." He said he talked with McNabb last Tuesday about the star QB not playing in Detroit because of hamstring injuries. Shanahan said he was concerned that McNabb couldn't get the work in during the week that he'd like him to and that he couldn't go full speed on all plays.

    That, combined with the fact that the Redskins hadn't practiced the two-minute drill in five weeks, gave Shanahan concerns.

    Shanahan said the last time the Redskins ran a two-minute offense was against the Rams for about 10-11 plays. However, Shanahan said he thought "Donovan did an excellent job" of running it.

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    He then continued to run down his list of concerns, including:

    • The team was running the two-minute drill with no timeouts.
    • The QB would be forced to call two plays at once.
    • The QB had to hustle to the line of scrimmage.
    • McNabb would be calling plays he hasn't been used to calling.
    • McNabb would have to be "working cardiovascular endurance" at the same time he would be working the clock.
    • McNabb hadn't put himself in any type of strenuous activities because of the hamstring.

    And so the story grows.

    For his part, McNabb showed no signs of being hobbled during the game, and in fact ran for a team-high 45 yards -- this despite being pounded all day because of his porous offensive line.

    So what's next in the McNabb saga? No one seems to know.  Will it hurt the 'Skins chances of re-signing him past this year?  Does Shanahan even want him?  Are McNabb's feeling hurt?

    Of course, there's still plenty of time for everyone to change their stories again, so by the time the Monday Night affair with the Eagles comes around in two weeks, who knows what twists and turns we'll get to debate.