A quick Four Downs while not quite understanding the outrage, shock or supposed controversy in Mike Shanahan benching Donovan McNabb for the rest of the season ...
McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, told ESPN the decision is "disrespectful to Donovan. He has not been more disrespected his whole career than he has this season. It's absolutely ridiculous."
Please. Donovan is having the worst season of his career. The Redskins are out of the playoff picture after losing five of their past six. What's wrong with using the final three games in a productive manner, such as evaluating Rex Grossman and John Beck?
Yeah, it stinks being benched so that a coach can take a look at Rex Grossman. But play better and it won't happen. Don't throw 15 interceptions and rank 25th in passer rating (77.1), three spots behind the guy you replaced (Jason Campbell).
Sure, it's not all McNabb's fault. But maybe Shanahan wants to find out how much of it really is McNabb's fault.
I actually admire Shanahan for just being honest about what he's doing. By most accounts, Donovan is well-liked. But should he keep his job as a starter just because people like him?
Said Shanahan:"I've got to find where Rex Grossman is, where John Beck is. I want a chance to evaluate these guys. I told Donovan that there's nothing he could do in the three games that would influence me over what he's done over the last 13 games. I said, 'I'm not sure what I'm going to do in the college draft, if we're able to get the top quarterback in the draft, if there was a young Donovan McNabb or maybe a Sam Bradford. someone like that.' There's a lot of possibilities."
Shanahan also said, "I also told him that I cannot guarantee him that he will be back next year."
Aren't players, fans and media always complaining that coaches don't let them know where things stand? Well, Shanahan used cold, hard between-the-eyes honesty to explain the situation perfectly. If feelings were hurt, so be it. Bravo, Mike.
Naturally, this means the end of McNabb in Washington. As for that much-ballyhooed five-year, $78 million contract extension signed earlier this year, well, the whole world knew it wasn't worth the paper it was printed on when reports surfaced that the Redskins could get out of the deal by simply releasing McNabb before next season.
McNabb ended up getting $3.5 million more for this season. That's hardly being "disrespected," but, yeah, the feelings will be too hard for he and Shanahan to start up fresh next year.
The winner in all of this: Andy Reid.
Villified for trading McNabb within his own division, the Eagles coach dumped an aging QB for the potential league MVP (Michael Vick) while getting a second-round pick this year and either a third- or a fourth-rounder next year from a division opponent.
So it's another offseason of McNabb speculation. Arizona has often been a popular candidate for McNabb's services. But there are a number of teams that can use a quarterback. The Vikings, obviously, are very near the top, if not at the top.
Much depends on who the coach will be. If Leslie Frazier gets the job and if he keeps Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator, the offense would be similar to what McNabb was used to in Philly. But that's a lot of ifs.
Personally, it just has a bad feel coming on the heels of Brett Favre's decline this year. Instead of pursuing a QB that will turn 35 next year, I'd rather see the Vikings find and develop a young quarterback. Barring injury or a desire to give Favre one last farewell game, the Vikings have three games to take a long look at Joe Webb as a potential long-term starter.