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Morning Commute: The Real Problem With Benching Donovan McNabb

Everything you need to know about D.C. sports in one place.

Sometimes cliches are just meant to teach us a lesson or change our behavior (lookin' at you, "apple a day"). But sometimes they stick around because they carry some sort of inherent truth. One of those really accurate cliches is from the world of football, and it goes, "If you have two quarterbacks, you have none."

The quarterback in the NFL is the most important position in all of sports. It's the focal point of the team, both in what they are trying to do on the field and the attitude of the other players. If you don't have a guy under center that the team can rally around, very rarely does your team have a chance to succeed.

Which brings us to what happened on Sunday in Detroit. Mike Shanahan could have had a million reasons for pulling McNabb, and many of them are probably justified, but as we can see from the fallout, this is the type of thing that just isn't really done. I'm not saying that Shanahan should have conceded a loss if that is what he thought leaving McNabb out there meant, but he needed to find a better way to handle it.

We can see now what the fallout of this situation is. I'm sitting here watching Chris Mortensen on Sportscenter talking about Mike Shanahan's job security. He's not in danger of losing his job, not even close; but just that it has to be brought up is telling.

Now it comes out today that the team was considering benching McNabb earlier in the game because he was nicked up with some minor injuries, and that the team isn't particularly thrilled with his practice habits. If Shanahan had just made sure to be clear that he was benching McNabb for the minor injuries (even if that isn't totally the case) we wouldn't be having this entire conversation right now.

Donovan McNabb clearly wasn't getting it done in Detroit. That is not the point I'm trying to argue. But it can be very damaging to cut off a team's head (removing the quarterback) if the coaches choose to handle that situation the way that Mike Shanahan did. Whatever his intentions, Coach Shanahan needed to find a way to handle this situation in a less controversial fashion.

Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:

  • Hogs Haven recaps Sunday's loss to the Lions. It's the last, and therefore most definitive, recap you'll find. 
  • Japers' Rink has their weekly evaluations of everyone on the roster.
  • Federal Baseball weighs in on the Adam Dunn/Carlos Pena debate.

On SB Nation D.C. today: Jack Anderson on the potential long term effects of the Donovan McNabb benching.