The Shanahans Have as Much At Stake As Rex Grossman in Dallas Game

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan (L) and Redskins new quarterback Donovan McNabb hold a jersey, after Shanahan introduced McNabb to the team, at a press conference at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia on April 6, 2010. The Philadelphia Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a pair of draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

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Rex Grossman is not the only man whose reputation is on the line. Kyle Shanahan has as much at stake as Sexy Rexy. Young Kyle’s judgment as a talent evaluator is on the line for believing that he can get more in his offense from Grossman than Donovan McNabb or Jason Campbell. He is the offensive coordinator. He gets to find out, though that call should have been made in training camp. Poor play by Grossman against Dallas will do great damage to Kyle’s reputation.

However the Dallas game turns out, everybody expects a loss, my mind is made up about Kyle. I never want to see that guy as head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Mike Shanahan is the best Washington Redskins coaching hire, on paper, of the Dan Snyder era. “On paper” is my new qualifier to a statement that has become hard to defend.  Rick Snider put it succinctly in today’s Washington Examiner where he wrote:

“Shanahan will be most remembered in his first season for installing an ill-fated 3-4 defense, trading quarterback Jason Campbell to Oakland as its starter for a bag of balls, mishandling defensive diva Albert Haynesworth and double-talking over McNabb’s benching against Detroit. The fourth-smallest crowd in FedEx Field history on Dec. 12 proved fans are losing faith in Shanahan.”

On this site, Greg Trippiedi concludes that the 2010 Redskins compare, unfavorably, to Steve Spurrier’s 2003 squad as the worst team of Snyder’s reign. Redskins Hog Heaven is not given to rants. Greg builds the case and reaches the only logical conclusion.

Shanahan, on paper, is as firm a disciplinarian as Marty Schottenheimer who believed that the Redskins had become soft under Norv Turner. Schotty insisted on player conditioning his way. That offended Larry Centers, which incensed the owner who enjoyed hanging out with the guys.

Can you see the parallels between Centers – Schottenheimer and Albert Haynesworth – Shanahan?  Centers was another team’s star. He was not been with the team long, but made no negative impact with fans. Fans were generally sympathetic to Centers in his conflict with the coach.

Haynesworth’s impact is all-negative. He is the personification of Dan Snyder’s incompetent approach over a decade to build the roster. His presence was a continuing embarrassment to the front office. No one felt sorry for Big Al when Shanahan messed with him as Schotteneheimer did with Centers.

Donovan McNabb is another matter

McNabb has stature. We knew he was old when he arrived. Hog Heaven was not the only Redskins blog to write that quarterback play is not the most pressing need on the team, then or now. You could build around McNabb. That was the presumed plan for the man the Redskins surrendered two draft picks to get.

That made sense. McNabb was the one-man band-aid who gave the front office the two or three seasons needed to reconstruct the offense with a better line, stronger receivers and younger running backs as the defense jelled to its new concepts. Only then, would we draft and start a quarterback and have a reasonable chance at success. It worked in Baltimore with Joe Flacco and in Atlanta with Matt Ryan.

There was widespread buy-in to that plan, though Shanahan avoided the word “rebuild.” It’s unsettling to see McNabb pulled and benched now. It calls the plan into question. It suggests that the Redskins will, yet again, go for the big reach of a first round quarterback pick instead of the nuts and bolts rebuild.

To see Rex Grossman at quarterback instead of Jason Campbell is a step back. Grossman over his career completed 54 percent of his passes, has thrown 33 touchdowns against 36 interceptions and sports a QB rating of 69.6. You can look it up. Campbell is better in every category and he has maintained his consistent play in Oakland whose only improvement over Washington is at running back.

McNabb was sold to us as the bridge to the future. Now he is now the bridge to nowhere. Shanahan as much as told him that he is the last resort as starting quarterback next season, if Grossman or John Beck don’t work out, if the team can’t draft Auburn’s Cam Newton or Stanford’s Andrew Luck, or trade for Vince Young or sign Michael Vick, or Brett Favre, or re-sign Grossman. Or something.

What a mess.

Point after: What on Earth is going on in DC area major sports? Gilbert Arenas was traded to the Orlando Magic. The University of Maryland fired Terrapins football coach Ralph Friedgen, who is an alumnus of the school, in favor of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. The Washington Capitals are in an eight-game losing streak.     

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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