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During the back-and-forth between Donovan McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith and the Redskins organization a couple weeks back, coach Mike Shanahan mentioned that he planned to sit down and speak with Smith at some point. That meeting, however, has not happened. During his season-ending press conference on Monday, Shanahan confirmed that he has yet to speak with Smith and that no meeting has been planned yet.
"I have not talked to Fletcher. When I will meet with him, I am not really sure. We don't have a definitive date at this time."
Shanahan said he still has not made a decision on whether to bring McNabb back next season, saying he will look at film and make his decision from there. However, he did have one surprising admission: he wished he had handled parts of the McNabb situation better. In particular, he said he wished he hadn't used the dreaded "cardiovascular endurance" excuse that he used to defend his decision to bench McNabb in a loss to the Detroit Lions.
"I wish I would have handled the one in Detroit a little differently," Shanahan said. "I should have been a little more honest than I was. Sometimes, you do things to protect players, but you end up hurting them, so I wish I would have handled that differently.'
(Audio via 106.7 The Fan)
In his final radio show of the year, Donovan McNabb spent most of it reacting to his agent Fletcher Smith's statements from last week about Mike and Kyle Shanahan.
Here are his comments, via twitter from various Skins beat reporters:
Donovan "I support my agent." #redskins "We're on the same page"
He also says that any conversations he's had with coaches "stays behind closed doors"
McNabb: "Things would obviously have to change. Relationship would have to be better. Conversations would have to be better"
McNabb says he didnt read release from his agent until after it was released last week. Says repeatedly he supports his agents' thoughts
McNabb: "I guess as you read in the article, he put his thoughts into the whole deal, not Donovan’s thoughts."
McNabb says he hasnt talked with either Bruce Allen or Dan Snyder since the benching.
McNabb says he's not upset about the contract extension he signed in November. "Not at all"
McNabb on Smith's statement: "When I read the whole thing, I didn't see nothing wrong with it."
McNabb on his recent convo with Kyle: "We got things out there on the table and we were able to move on."
McNabb: "Would I like to be the quarterback here next year? Yes."
mcnabb on asking for release: "No, that's false."
So the main point that can be taken from this interview is that Donovan had no issue with that his agent said last week, and has no clue whether or not he will be back next season. Other than that, it's another round of "he said, he said" drama that no one wants to hear about anymore. And unfortunately for the Redskins and McNabb, this situation has become nothing more than high school level drama. One thing is for sure in the McNabb camp, and it's that he wants this situation to be over with regardless of how it ends.
And like many Redskins fans, he probably wants this saga to end quickly rather than it becoming another slow, painful drama in Ashburn.
Since it's quite clear that Donovan McNabb will not be apart of the Washington Redskins future, and with his agent firing off statement after statement, it was only obvious that McNabb would eventually try to get out of D.C.
And according to an ESPN report, it looks like McNabb will ask to be released in the offseason:
After the season, McNabb is planning to meet with the Redskins and ask them for his release. McNabb wants to be in a position where he can pick the place to finish his career, not have it dictated to him as was the case last season when Philadelphia traded him to Washington.
It's highly unlikely the Redskins initially would release McNabb, not when they believe he still has some trade value. Washington would want to recoup as much as possible for the player whom they surrendered second- and fourth-round picks.
It looks like the Redskins will have traded multiple draft picks for another one and done-er. The key here is how much they will work with Donovan in getting him out of here. They really don't want to release him and get nothing for him, despite how they diminished his value by the way they treated him this year.
The Redskins may want to pull an Andy Reid and "do right by Donovan" and try and deal him to a team like Arizona (a place where McNabb calls home) or Minnesota (a team who could be a quarterback away from contending), while still trying to get whatever they can for another wasted investment. Either way, it looks like this will spell the end for McNabb's short, drama filled tenure here in D.C.
After Kyle Shanahan responded to claims made by Fletcher Smith, Donovan McNabb's agent, the quarterback declined comment. Rather than speaking for himself, the well-respected Redskins offensive captain is letting his agent do the talking for him.
Fletcher Smith issued another short statement tonight, and Rich Campbell of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star has all the details.
Donovan and I talk constantly and have done so with more frequency during this season ... We are absolutely on the same page. I stand by my statement. I will reserve any further comments until after I have had ... a chance to speak, directly, with coach Shanahan.
Not quite as strong a statement as his comments from earlier in the week. It looks like the McNabb clan and the Shanahans are going to try to sort this out under the radar screen. But shots have already been fired, and its pretty hard to put them back in the pistol.
In a statement released yesterday, Donovan McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith had some strong allegations directed toward Mike and Kyle Shanahan for the way they handled the benching of his client. Mike Shanahan responded in a statement late last night, and now, Kyle Shanahan has responded. Kyle's response, however, was much stronger.
In an interview with CSN Washington's Kelli Johnson at Redskins Park, Kyle Shanahan called Smith's words "disturbing." He said that he met with McNabb last night, and McNabb told him that the claims made by Smith were no true.
Kyle Shanahan also denied saying that McNabb will never take a snap for him again, as Smith alleged he did. He also denied that the team switched to a different offense with Rex Grossman, taking issue with another one of Smith's claims.
"To hear we had a different offense for Rex was a joke."
Kyle Shanahan also said he never had a confrontation with McNabb. In essence, Kyle Shanahan is saying that McNabb's agent did this on his own without consulting McNabb. Kyle Shanahan said he and McNabb had a face-to-face meeting to clear everything up earlier Friday.
Last night Donovan McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith released a statement in which he called the Shanahan's decision to bench his client "beyond disrespectful. This isn't really anything new, as Smith came out with a similar comment last week when the benching first happened. After that statement was released, the Redskins released a statement from Mike Shanahan responding to Smith's claim. Here it is in its entirety.
“As I stated earlier, when I traded for Donovan McNabb I had hoped that he would lead us to the playoffs. No one wanted him to be more successful than me. When the team was 5-8 and mathematically out of the playoffs, I made the decision to evaluate our other two quarterbacks. This was not personal, but strictly professional. The decision was made in the best interest of the Washington Redskins and I stand by my decision. I will attempt to talk to Fletcher Smith directly to clear up every one of his misconceptions.”
Again, this isn't really anything different than what Shanahan has said in the past. Shanahan continues to contend that it was purely a football decision, and those who think McNabb hasn't played very well this year tend to agree with him. Meanwhile, those who are in McNabb's corner continue to side with Fletcher Smith. Either way you see it, this seems like a relationship beyond repair. We might have to wait until after the season though to see how it plays out.
It's been a rough season for Donovan McNabb, and has become even rougher after being benched prior to last Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys. He said he was bothered by the fact that he learned a lot of information through the media, prompting Mike Shanahan to say that he felt something got misinterpreted. McNabb's relationship with Kyle Shanahan, the team's offensive coordinator, has also not been good.
All this has finally prompted a strong response from McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith. In a strongly-worded statement just released to media, Smith said that the behavior by Mike and Kyle Shanahan has been "beyond disrespectful" and suggests that they were the sources of various leaks that have surfaced. Via CSN Washington:
While Donovan's feelings about Washington remain the same, the Shanahans - both Mike and more specifically Kyle - have made this an extremely difficult relationship to maintain. Their comments have been beyond disrespectful and unprecedented for a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback such as Donovan.
Smith's statement says that there has been "tension" between McNabb and Kyle Shanahan all season, stemming from McNabb's "suggestions" to tinker with Shanahan's offensive philosophy.
I believe there is tension between Donovan and Kyle that's rooted in the fact that Donovan has suggested modifications to Kyle's offense based on intricacies Donovan has learned in his NFL career. For example, Donovan has asked all year that the team run more screen passes to help manage the pass rush more effectively. Ironically, Kyle decided to employ Donovan's suggestions after he unceremoniously benched him on Sunday.
After Donovan quickly led the Redskins down the field and scored what appeared to be the game saving drive against Tampa Bay, Kyle was quoted as saying "He'll (McNabb) never take another snap for me again." Remember that statement came after Donovan led the Redskins on one of their best drives of the entire season.
The full statement is available at CSN Washington.
There has certainly been a fair share of disappointment within the Redskins organization with how the Donovan McNabb benching was handled.
Unfortunately for the coaching staff, it looks like owner Daniel Snyder may be the most disappointed, according to Jay Glazer of FoxSports (via Red Zone):
Jay Glazer of FOXSports reports that Dan Snyder is not happy as he was out of the country when it was decided that QB Donovan McNabb would be benched. After an efficient game against Tampa Bay, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said that he was upset with McNabb's performance and that it was the last snap that McNabb would take this season. Shanahan pushed and eventually got the benching to occur. Glazer reports that Snyder may make major coaching changes however as he is not happy with the way this situation was handled.
If any of this proves to be true, Redskins fans may have to brace for offensive coaching changes in the coming offseason. With it being highly unlikely that Snyder would get rid of Mike Shanahan after one season, it would seem that his son Kyle could be in the cross hairs of the owner.
And we all know what happens when that's the case.
Well, now that everyone else in the locker room and coaching staff has had their take on the Donovan McNabb benching, it was only a matter of time before the man in question finally came out with a statement of his own.
According to Rick Maese of the Washington Post, McNabb released a statement about today's news:
Well, there you have it. It's an unpopular decision (surprise) all across the board.
The deed is done, everyone's upset, and the Redskins now have a glaring hole at the game's most important position.
Happy times in Redskins land, for sure.
Well, at least there are people out there who have Mike Shanahan's back on the decision to bench Donovan McNabb.
"Everybody started smiling," Dallas defensive end Jason Hatcher said Friday in the Cowboys' locker room. "We were pretty happy about the news."
"We'll take Rex over McNabb any day," he said. "[McNabb's] hard to contain. He's hard to bring down and he can make plays with his legs and his arm. Not taking anything away from Rex Grossman, I think he's a good quarterback also."
So, just to keep score:
1. Redskins fans are upset
2. Redskins players are upset
3. Cowboys players are happy
Shanahan probably didn't anticipate that being the end result of this decision.
After his afternoon press conference, Mike Shanahan went on ESPN980 with John Thompson and Doc Walker for his weekly radio show and further explained his position of benching Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman (per Chris Russell of ESPN980):
Mike Shanahan "Rex has earned an opportunity to start. I'm looking forward to him playing." on @ESPNRadio980
Shanahan on ESPN980 "I want to get a good feel for what these guys can do." Says McNabb "has done a bunch of good things." #Redskins
Shanahan: "The reason why I am doing it is because we are not in the playoff hunt." #Redskins
Shanahan once again says McNabb # 2 this week, and # 3 behind Beck in the final two games. #Redskins
Shanahan says "same gameplan" and says he told McNabb "I like what you have done after the first half of the season" #Redskins
Shanahan "The one thing your always working with a QB is his steps. I've never seen a physical speciment in the NFL like Donovan."
Shanahan on Rex/young guys: "What we usually do is we take a look at positions that have competition. You have to earn the right."
It's kind of ironic that Shanahan is praising McNabb in terms of his physical abilities on a day where he announced he was benching him.
Skins fans can only hope they don't see more of that.
Well, you had to figure the players would come out with strong opinions to the Donovan McNabb benching.
Oh wait, they didn't. The players know at this point not to come out and openly question their head coach.
Here's a roundup of some player quotes, tweeted by the Redskins beat reporters Grant Paulsen and Chris Russell:
Trent Williams on McNabb's benching: "I don't got a comment on it. I get paid to play I don't get paid to make decisions."
Orakpo on McNabb: "He wants to lead by example and wants to win games. I admire guys like that, especially with the season we're having."
Chris Cooley: "I don't think in it's in any way a slap at Donovan. At this point in the year, it's not going to hurt us."
Phillip Daniels: "I have no reaction. Coach Shanahan felt like he wanted to go with Rex ... As long as he talked to Donovan, I'm cool."
Kory Lichtensteiger "It's just football. Im not in a position to second guess anything anymore. He wants to give the other guys a look."
Nothing shocking here. The players are either tight lipped or in support of their coach (albeit lukewarmly).
The locker room has learned throughout the course of the 2010 season that they better get behind Shanahan and play well in the system, or they will go the way of Haynesworth, or I guess now, the way of McNabb.
It's now Rex Grossman's turn to address the media about his new gig as the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins. This is Grossman on his new opportunity, 140 characters at a time, from various 'Skins beat reporters:
Rex Grossman: ''Last night after practice, I was lifting and I was summoned up to the head coaches office, and he told me.''
Rex said he had a "few hints" but nothing official until last evening. "It's a big opportunity for me"
Rex: everybody has doubters...I'm human, who's not going to be motivated... to prove i'm a bonafied starter, can lead team to championship
Rex said he and McNabb talked in weight room after decision and also on the phone last night.
Grossman on DAL game: ''I'm confident we can go win.'' ... ''I respect everything [Donovan] had done this year. This is a tough situation.''
In a way, Grossman is in an unenviable position here. He has to show he is capable of running the offense, but while doing so, he will be under constant scrutiny.
Every bad throw, every missed read, and every bad decision will be both an indictment of him as a quarterback and the coach who decided he should play more than Donovan McNabb.
Hopefully Grossman is looking forward to this.
Mike Shanahan just addressed the media and explained his reasoning behind benching Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman. Let's see what Coach had to say 140 characters at a time. These are tweets from the collection of reporters who cover the Skins.
Shanahan made decision to go to Rex when they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs
Shanahan says he told McNabb that he could not guarantee he'd be back next season, but he promised he'd be honest with the QB.
Shanahan said Kyle had no idea the move was going to be made.
Shanahan said he's seen 5 for 13 weeks; "the next 3 weeks won't change my mind."
Shanahan: Beck will be backup so they can see what he offers as well.
Shanny: "John Beck has been playing exceptional."
Shanny said he told DM5 after Thurs practice "because I knew it was going to be a circus."
Shanahan said he thinks donovan has been healthy. Not an issue.
Shanahan: ''Rex deserves the chance to show us what he can do. I've been impressed with him since day one.''
Shanahan: I think Rex gives us a great chance to win.
Lots to digest there. Maybe go back and read it one more time. What I think it boils down to, though, is that they aren't happy with McNabb. If they were, they wouldn't need to see what they had behind him. Nobody ever really needs to evaluate the backup quarterback if you don't think he has a real good chance of getting some playing time. If this is the only reason they give for starting Grossman, I think it's pretty clear what their intentions are.
I think anybody who is looking at this Redskins situation from the outside looking in would be able to reach the same conclusion, but it means a little bit more when it comes from an inside source like Adam Schefter. During an appearance on Sportscenter this morning, Schefter had this to say, via the Dallas Morning News.
"I think this move seals the deal," Schefter said Friday on ESPN's SportsCenter television show. "Clearly, Mike Shanahan wouldn't be making the move if he had confidence in Donovan McNabb. The Washington Redskins' marriage with Donovan McNabb is over. It's over."
Again, this isn't a ground breaking take. But there was always the chance that Schefter was going to go on the air and say that he had inside knowledge that the Redskins are committed to McNabb despite what this benching may say. It's pretty easy to see that the Redskins don't have faith in McNabb, and that he probably isn't happy with the way he has been treated by the Organization. If this truly is the end of the Shanahan/McNabb marriage, this is going to be a messy divorce.
According to a tweet from ESPN 980's Chris Russell, it would appear that this decision should not come as a surprise to either Rex Grossman or Donovan McNabb:
If true, it would appear that Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and both quarterbacks were determined not to let this 'secret' out. But as of Wednesday morning, it did not appear that McNabb was aware of a decision, as he told the media he wouldn't appreciate being told he would be benched his late:
McNabb didn't appreciate that, as of Wednesday, he hadn't been told whether he was playing.
"I would have hoped," McNabb said at the time. "That's professionalism. Communication."
We've been waiting for anybody who is actually involved with the whole situation (either the team or McNabb himself) to react to the benching. Now, it appears the first bit of legitimate reaction comes to us from McNabb's agent, via Jason Reid of the Washington Post's Redskins Insider. As you might imagine, he's not too pleased with it.
"Disrespectful is probably not strong enough of a word," Fletcher N. Smith, McNabb's representative, said in a lengthy phone interview Friday. "Donovan has handled himself with nothing but class, not just in Washington but as an ambassador for the league. To treat him this way ... it's beyond disrespectful."
"Just the way Mike handled the whole situation in Detroit, and in almost every instance since that time, and this is, I guess, the culmination of that. I think it's ... again, it's beyond disrespectful."
On one hand, I kind of agree with him. Donovan McNabb does not deserve to be pulled for the likes of Rex Grossman. But on the other hand, he hasn't really played like a quarterback who has secured his hold on the starting job this year. I think the Redskins have made a sideshow of the whole thing, but that doesn't necessarily mean that McNabb doesn't deserve to get pulled.
The early reaction to Mike Shanahan's decision to bench Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman was overwhelmingly negative, as Redskins fans grew tired of dealing with yet another quarterback controversy. But there may be a silver lining in the decision, at least as far as the future is concerned. If you're worried about committing so much money long-term to an aging quarterback like McNabb, this might be a good thing.
Chris Mottram of Mister Irrelevant spells out this argument very well.
Whether the Redskins offense is better right now with Grossman or McNabb running it doesn't matter for us, as fans. Because we shouldn't care about how many meaningless wins the Skins can put together over the last three weeks. What matters is next season. And the one after that. If we want the future to look better than this abortion of a season, then it can't include Donovan McNabb. He's proven himself to be a shell of the star this team played against in Philly. He's old, completely mediocre, and owed too much money if he stays. This isn't a team that can win now. This is a team that needs to rebuild. McNabb can't be part of that process.
It's certainly true that the Redskins aren't committed to McNabb now, as Mottram writes. On some level, it's nice to know that for sure as a fan. But still, it seems like it's not worth annoying so many of your players right now when many of them may still be back next season. I see no reason why the Redskins couldn't just play McNabb for the last three games and cut bait after the season.
But still, it's a good point. Maybe the present of the Redskins stinks, but the future might indeed be just a little bit brighter.
The news that the Washington Redskins have benched Donovan McNabb for journeyman Rex Grossman is sending a shockwave throughout the Redskins fanbase. However, this decision has much larger consequences than a meaningless December game against the Dallas Cowboys.
It could also be a signal that McNabb's time in Washington is coming toward a close. The benching of the former Philadelphia Eagles star, along with his extremely tenuous contract reduce the chances that McNabb will be suiting up for the Redskins anytime in the near future.
McNabb's recently signed extension does not guarantee him a place on the Redskins next year, but gives the Redskins the option of activating the contract if they so choose. The Redskins essentially will pay McNabb 3.75 million up front for the option of paying him 10 million dollars between the end of regular season play this year and the start of next year's regular season. If they pay McNabb that 10 million, it would activate the full five-year 70 million dollar contract, which could rise to upwards of 78.5 million depending on incentives.
But why pay a quarterback 10 million who can't play all 16 games of the regular season even when healthy? Benching a quarterback of McNabb's stature and leaving him in flux regarding his future with the team leaves a very clear impression that the Redskins are prepared to face a future without him.
Mike Shanahan's reported decision to bench Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman is a shocking move that probably won't go over too well with most Reskins fans. At least that's an educated guess. It does appear to be a certainty that the Redskins players aren't too thrilled with Shanahan's decision. They have stood up for McNabb all season, and according to reports, they are upset now.
Kelli Johnson of CSN Washington was the first to note locker room uproar over the decision.
Just learned that Rex Grossman is starting over McNabb Sun in Dallas; I'm told Redskins Lockeroom is divided and guys are extremely upset
That account was backed up by NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, a former Redskins beat writer. Except, he went a step further.
Players are very upset over this decision and Kyle Shanahan facing credibility issues in that locker room, players said. Of the decision to start Grossman over McNabb, one players told me, "the guys in the locker room are extremely pissed." Not a good scene in DC at all...
It makes you wonder whether Shanahan's play is worth it. Sure, McNabb is struggling, and sure, he may not be right for the team's long-term plans, but it's almost as if you're really losing an entire offense if these reports are true.
As for McNabb, it remains unclear whether he was informed of the decision. He hadn't been by Wednesday, according to the Washington Post:
McNabb said Wednesday he had not been told he would be replaced, and that he would expect to be told of such a move in advance.
"I would have hoped so," McNabb said. "That's professionalism and communication."
We have a full-fledged quarterback controversy on our hands. Early in the week, there were whispers that the Washington Redskins would bench Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman. Now, it looks like that may indeed be a reality. According to multiple reports, Mike Shanahan will elect to make a change and start Grossman over McNabb when the team takes on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunay.
Just learned that Rex Grossman is starting over McNabb Sun in Dallas; I'm told Redskins Lockeroom is divided and guys are extremely upset
It's a very surprising move, even though there were several warning signs from earlier in the week. On Monday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the team was considering making the switch due to McNabb's injuries. Mike Shanahan denied the report, but on Wednesday, he refused to commit to McNabb as his starter because he wanted to throw off the Cowboys' gameplan. Then, of course, there's the onging reality that Shanahan and his son Kyle have not been thrilled with McNabb's performance this year.
This move certainly throws McNabb's future with the team in doubt. He signed a contract extension a few weeks ago, but the Redskins can get out of it with only a $3.5 million guarantee if they cut McNabb after the season ends.
We'll have much more on this story as it develops.
Mike Shanahan has a way of keeping things coy with the media when it comes to who will start the team's next game. That didn't really change, even in light of recent reports that the team is considering benching starting quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Shanahan was asked whether he would be willing to commit to McNabb as the starter for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, and declined to do so. Via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan:
Mike Shanahan did not commit to Donovan McNabb starting this Sunday. He said he wouldn't talk about starters at any position.
McNabb wasn't being totally serious, as he likes to be non-committal to make it more difficult for teams to come up with a game plan, but it was still interesting considering the rumors that have been flying around. Quarterback seems to be the one position where it's not worth messing around and keeping people guessing about your starter, but Shanahan seems to be doing just that.
It's Washington D.C., so there will always be a quarterback controversy in this town. Back in Week 8, Mike Shanahan fueled that controversy by benching Donovan McNabb in the final two minutes of a loss to the Detroit Lions in favor of Rex Grossman. Then, prior to last week's game against the Buccaneers, a report surfaced that the team was considering sitting McNabb if he struggled.
The controversy apparently has continued. On ESPN today, Chris Mortensen said that the Redskins could go to Grossman in Sunday's game against Dallas if they feel McNabb isn't fully healthy. Via 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen:
There's a problem with this theory: McNabb doesn't think he's hurting. He said that he's healthy, and frankly, everyone is somewhat hurt right now. A team source told CSN's Kelli Johnson that they "don't think" the report is true, which is odd phrasing, to say the least.
It sounds like nothing, to be honest, but in this town, you just never know.
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