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Chain Reactions: Mike Shanahan Speaks, Capitals Need a Miracle, Danny O’Brien Big Ten-Bound

Mike Shanahan finally speaks and says some weird stuff. Also, the Caps coach apparently is not saying the right stuff, and Danny O'Brien says Wisconsin and says it all.

March 27, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter watches from behind the bench against the Buffalo Sabres in the second period at Verizon Center. The Sabres won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
March 27, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter watches from behind the bench against the Buffalo Sabres in the second period at Verizon Center. The Sabres won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

When I was a young, aspiring basketball player, I often counted down from 10 seconds and attempted to hit a game-winning shot before the buzzer. Many times, the clock had to stick or there was an imaginary foul called because I missed. Why do I share such a pathetic story? Because perhaps Dale Hunter needs to tell his team he made a mistake in reading the schedule the other night. Maybe Tuesday's 5-1 loss to Buffalo was not really like a "Game 7." Or maybe it was a best-of-9 or best-of-11 series? I'm just spit-balling here.

Anyway, in this week's edition of "Chain Reactions", the only trustworthy professional franchise in DC is no longer in the circle of trust, Mike Shanahan had a real weird QB plan this off-season, and a former Terp is headed to the Big 10.

Shanahan Finally Speaks

Mike Shanahan broke his silence at the NFL owners meetings and hit a wide range of topics, but the headline stuff involved the team's pursuit of Peyton Manning. I know it shouldn't matter, but I can't help myself. The Redskins will get a young quarterback next month when they use the No. 2 overall pick. They will get a quarterback, that they will be able to build around as a franchise centerpiece.

So every time I hear that the Redskins wanted to still sign Peyton Manning after they made the trade with the Rams I get annoyed. Shanahan confirmed this was the franchise plan.

"There was a definite possibility" of the team getting both Manning and a prized rookie quarterback, Shanahan said at the NFC coaches' breakfast at the annual league meeting.

To say it was a "definite possibility" seems like science fiction, since all indications leaked by the Manning camp say that Peyton Manning never wanted to be a Redskin. For starters they play in the NFC East, which we have been told is a non-starter because it would mean playing Eli twice a year.

For a second, let's go with Shanahan's "definite possibility" premise. It would have made no sense from a football standpoint. The next quarterback that gets groomed by Peyton Manning will be the first. His backups in Indy stunk. He's not a baby sitter, he's in it to win it. Also imagine how much money it would have taken to sign him. And then you would still take a quarterback with the second overall pick? Child Please!

This stuff sounds like the dumb stuff the old Redskins regimes used to do: grab the name player even if it really does not fit. Why move up four spots in the Draft to sit RGIII for 2-3 years? No one does that anymore.

One other thing: no one, not even the Denver Broncos, can say with any certainty if Peyton's very large neck is ready for the rigors of an NFL season. There are still rumblings that his velocity has not completely returned. That being said, he still would throw a nicer spiral than Tim Tebow.

Caps Continue to Confuse

I'm never going to be confused with Craig Laughlin or Alan May when it comes to talking Capitals hockey. However, I think it is fair to say the Capitals roster heading into the 2011-2012 season was better than this. The "this" I am referring to is the predicament they are currently in. With just 5 games left, Washington is two points back of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

So what happened? Injuries? Yes, it hurts that they did not have Mike Green for a long stretch (which is becoming the norm) and Nicklas Backstrom has been out. Also, they changed coaches and system in season. However, with just five games left in the season, the team still lacks any kind of identity. Those that go to Verizon Center never know what they are going to get.

What's the saying, if you have more than one goalie you don't have one? Or is that about NFL QB's? Regardless, the Caps don't have one, or at least Dale Hunter can not decide. He also has a big-time issue with communication.

I admit when Bruce Boudreau got fired, I was sad, but I also knew it was part of the gig. I was hopeful that Hunter, the former Capital great, could kick this team into gear. Hunter has not gone to the whip often in his short time as head coach. Even after Tuesday's pathetic loss, Hunter did not come down hard on his team, but rather gave them a day off.

"It was a hard game last night; a lot of emotions were involved. Save the legs," Coach Dale Hunter said. "It's like playoff hockey where the legs are the most important thing; they carry you around the ice so we just gave them time to rest them."

Hopefully, the Caps players have forgotten that they just lost a Game 7, as Hunter had called the game against the Sabres. I hope Hunter can perform a miracle in the last week of the season. If not, the Capitals will head into what could be their biggest off-season in many years.

Danny O'Brien Could be Next Russell Wilson

The Wisconsin Badgers are hoping to find transfer gold at the QB position for the second straight year with the addition of Danny O'Brien. The former Terps signal caller is following in the footsteps of Russell Wilson, who transferred from N.C. State and led Wisconsin to a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl. So much for O'Brien joining James Franklin at Vanderbilt.

O'Brien was a rising star at the QB position under Ralph Friedgen, but struggled mightily last season under first-year coach Randy Edsall. Now O'Brien takes his talents to the Big 10 and Bret Bielema's program where he will have to earn a starting spot.

"We're excited that Danny has chosen to attend Wisconsin," said Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. "The first thing we did when we were aware of Danny's interest was to try and find out what type of person he was and if he would fit into our program. From our dealings with him and all the things I have heard from those who have been around him, he is a tremendous person and has great character. He had a fantastic visit and our current players who met him came away impressed. Having graduated from Maryland in just three years, you know right away that he is a smart kid."

O'Brien was the biggest casualty of Randy Edsall's first year gone wrong at Maryland. I hope it works out for him in Badger land.