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Redskins’ McNabb benched for Grossman vs Cowboys


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ASHBURN, Va. (AP)—It’s Rex Grossman(notes) over Donovan McNabb(notes). Again. And this time, it’s from the opening kickoff.

The Washington Redskins plan to start Grossman on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, coach Mike Shanahan said Friday. Shanahan is benching a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback billed as the next John Elway when he came to the franchise in April.

The 34-year-old McNabb is struggling through his worst season since he was a rookie in 1999. He’s thrown a career-high 15 interceptions and ranks 25th in the NFL with a 77.1 rating for the Redskins (5-8), who have been eliminated from the playoff race

He was infamously benched for Grossman in the final two minutes with the game on the line against Detroit in October, a stunning decision made even more bizarre by Shanahan’s mangled explanations that followed.

The coach first said he felt Grossman had a better grasp of the team’s two-minute offense, then said McNabb lacked the “cardiovascular endurance” to run a fast-paced drill because of nagging hamstring injuries. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said McNabb had been tipped in advance that the team might go with Grossman; McNabb said he hadn’t.

Before the next game, the Redskins gave a McNabb a five-year contract extension nominally worth $78 million—but the only thing it guaranteed was that McNabb would receive an extra $3.5 million this season. The deal contains a clause that allows the Redskins to cut McNabb before next season with no further financial obligation.

This week, the situation began again to take more strange turns.

McNabb said his communication the coaching staff had improved since the benching; neither of the Shanahans would agree with that. McNabb said he would expect to know by Wednesday if he weren’t starting, calling it a matter of “professionalism.”

On Thursday, Kyle Shanahan seemed to go out of his way to avoid praising McNabb while meeting with reporters, but he implied McNabb was still starter when he said the preparation for this week was “no different” from last week as far as the quarterbacks were concerned.

This certainly wasn’t the vision the Redskins presented when they traded two draft picks—a second-round choice this year and a third- or fourth-rounder next year—to Philadelphia for McNabb. It seemed curious the Eagles would trade a quarterback to a division rival unless they felt his best days were behind him, but the Redskins couldn’t stop gushing at a news conference two days later, noting that Elway was roughly the same age as McNabb when he led Mike Shanahan’s teams to two Super Bowl titles with Denver in the 1990s.

“People were saying John Elway should retire,” Mike Shanahan said at the time, “until he won the Super Bowl.”

Grossman was signed by the Redskins in the offseason because he was familiar with the team’s new offense and would be able to help teach it to McNabb. Grossman was a backup last year in Houston, where Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator.

In his only appearance this year—relieving McNabb in the loss to Detroit— Grossman fumbled while being sacked on his first play, and the ball was returned for a touchdown. He finished the game, going 4 for 7 for 44 yards.

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McNabb signed an extension which gave him a 3.5 million bump this season but doesn't have a single penny gauranteed past that? McNabb to Minny next year?

True but not sure why Shanny would kill his trade value by saying today he cannot guarantee he'll be on the team next year. Said he'd have to see what the draft brought QB wise.

Shanny has been horrible. Gave up a 2 this year and a 3 or 4 next for McNabb. Didn't trade Haynesworth when he could of and then let him earn a additional 18 mill before suspending him. He still has trade value but suspending him obviously lowered it a round or two. Went to a 3-4 defense without the proper players while signing has beens like Galloway, Larry Johnson.

Word in Washington that the McNabb benching was all his kids(the OC) doing.

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I just saw on some ticker that mcnabb won't even be the #2 guy on sunday


to me this is all about shanny paving the way for his son kyle to get a HC job, and you can't get a HC job if the unit you are coaching is teh suck so they make the change and hope for a bump

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Glad I'm not a redskins fan.

No sh!t dude ... this is supposedly 99% on Shanny Jr. who doesn't like McNabb for whatever the reason. I saw that punk interviewed on the NFL network tonight for the 1st time and he is a mega weasel if I ever saw one. How futile that existence must be with Sr. backing Jr. into a foreseeable future of 6 and 10 every year. Shotty may be very close to inept ... but at least we don't have Marty here to empower him. Gratitude ^
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