Tag:Mike Shanahan
Posted on: December 23, 2010 7:46 pm

Shanahan responds to McNabb's agent

Posted by Will Brinson

Ever know a couple that are together even though everyone knows they're wrong for each other and they keep fighting publicly and everyone keeps wondering why they won't just go ahead and break up and save their friends the awkwardness of watching their relationship go up in flames?

Yeah, that's Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb apparently. After McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith issued a scathing statement directed towards Shanny and his son Kyle on Thursday (which was based on Shanahan saying that he'd welcome McNabb as a backup in 2011 which was based on McNabb saying he'd been disrespected, which was based on Shanahan benching him for Rex Grossman), the Redskins countered with their own statement from the head coach.
"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."
Now, this is actually pretty good public relations, because Shanahan is saying what he should be saying -- that he respects McNabb as a person and a player and that he's doing what's best for the team.

Unfortunately, this is pretty contradictory to the whole "we'd love to have him for a backup" public statement that defines "backhanded compliment."

And at this point, we all know they're breaking up anyway; the nice thing would be for them to just go ahead and cut ties and let everyone move on. Or everyone involved could keep firing off statements that are either directly or indirectly insulting to the other party. That would be fun too.

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Posted on: December 23, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2010 8:54 pm

McNabb's agent, Shanahan exchange public barbs

Posted by Will Brinson

Earlier, we mentioned how Mike Shanahan said he'd be absolutely thrilled to have Donovan McNabb return in the role of a backup quarterback with the Washington Redskins.

There was also some mention of a back-and-forth that would likely occur in the offseason between McNabb's camp and the Redskins coaching staff. Scratch "likely" from that, because McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, fired a shot back at the Shanahan and his son. (Update: Shanny's sent a shot back at Smith, calling everything below "misconceptions" and saying that things are NOT personal.)

To the lengthy blockquote machine! 
I think it is important to clarify some misinterpretations following Donovan comments made earlier this week on his radio show.

Donovan did say that "he didn’t want to go anywhere" and that he "enjoyed himself" in the Washington DC area. He and his family truly enjoy living in the Washington,DC, area and are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support the fans have shown him this year.

He stated that he wishes to stay in Washington because he came to complete a task - and that task has not yet been accomplished.

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.

There have been many reports leaked of Donovan not being in shape and not being able to grasp Kyle’s offense.

The fact is Donovan came into camp in the best shape of his career having dropped 10 pounds in the offseason. Donovan spent most of his offseason in Washington working out with the Redskins and never missed a practice.

Unfortunately, it appears as though the Redskins coaching staff decided that their 12-year veteran quarterback, who flawlessly executed one of the NFL's most complex offensive systems (in Philadelphia), is unable to grasp Kyle’s offense.

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.

Donovan is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2009 where he threw for 3,500+ yards on 60% completions, with a TD:INT ratio of more than 2:1. He also led his team to the playoffs with an 11-5 record, and that's what he hoped to accomplish in Washington.

This year, Donovan was on pace to set the Redskins all-time passing yards mark before being benched. Every week he went out there in solidarity with his teammates with one goal: to win as much as possible for the fans in this town who deserve a championship caliber team.

Make no mistake, this has been a difficult season for Donovan. Some may say that he has had a down year....that is true specifically because of the high standards that he has set as an elite NFL quarterback in his previous 11 seasons.

Donovan has maintained a high level of professionalism on and off the field. He is determined to continue his relentless commitment to win and looks forward to the opportunity wherever that may be!

Fletcher Smith, III

President, Blueprint Sports Group
So, what can we discern from this statement? Well, basically that McNabb won't be a Redskin in 2011.

Because, really, at this point, it's gone past "he may or may not be out of shape and/or past his prime and/or a good fit for the offense" and things have gotten straight-up personal.

Or not, if you believe Mike Shanahan, who issued the following statement via the Redskins on Thursday night.
"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."
So, really, now the only question is how the divorce papers will actually get filed.

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Posted on: December 23, 2010 2:46 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2010 7:52 pm

Shanahan would welcome McNabb in '11 as a backup

Posted by Will Brinson

Donovan McNabb went on the radio Tuesday and said that he'd been "disrespected" when Redskins coach Mike Shanahan decided to make him the third-string quarterback.

So you have to wonder how McNabb feels now that Shanahan has decided to lob out an offer to take McNabb back in 2011 ... as a backup. (Update: McNabb's agent has released a statement, and so has Shanahan, via the Redskins.)

"I'm not sure he would [return as a backup], which I would understand," Shanahan said via Jason Reid of the Washington Post. "But I think that's why we're talking about hypothetical situations. I don't think that would happen. But if he was interested in that, obviously, that'd be a possibility."

Shanahan also said that "people might have speculated" on Grossman starting over McNabb but it was never actually realized until he told both quarterbacks last Thursday.

But that's really semantics, because the dissonance between McNabb and Shanahan is almost mind-boggling at this point. After all, it's not like Shanny's sitting on a franchise quarterback right now (although theoretically Grossman could be his Jake Plummer-like bridge to whatever his Washington version of Jay Cutler will be, but, um, have fun with that).

Not to mention, the Redskins signed McNabb to an extension, which means they'll have to cough up an extra $10 million if they want to keep him in 2011. They could trade him, of course, but it seems a lot less likely that another quarterback-needy team (Seattle? San Francisco? Minnesota? Carolina? Arizona? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?) will part with anything of significant value knowing that Shanahan doesn't perceive McNabb worth the amount he'll cost his own team.

As a result, the most likely way this plays out is the Redskins cutting McNabb approximately one minute before the deadline to pick up his option, after a lengthy offseason filled with "I want to play but I want to start" quotes from McNabb countered daily by "We'll welcome Donovan back any time he wants as long as he understands his role" retorts from Shanahan.

So, yeah, just like Albert Haynesworth's whole thing minus all the vitriol.

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Posted on: December 21, 2010 2:08 pm

'Disrespected' McNabb: 'Let's just move on'

Posted by Will Brinson

It wouldn't be a day in NFL coverage if there weren't some story relating to the Washington Redskins, would it? And thanks to Mike Shanahan starting Rex Grossman over Donovan McNabb in Week 15, we've got enough gossip juice to keep us rolling for the rest of the season, even if Albert Haynesworth stays off the radar.

Tuesday, McNabb appeared on ESPN 980 radio to talk about his benching and he had plenty to say about how he was "disrespected" by Shanny.

"Everything was handled awkwardly," McNabb said. "Somewhat to a disrespect to me and to the team."

McNabb lamented the evaluation process as well as the way that Shanahan handled the benching, not telling the QB of the decision until Thursday (and letting him hear about it through the media).

"Because of the timing and because of all the leaks and everything that was put out there, and no putting out the fire, so to speak," McNabb said. "I'm hearing everything through the media."

And, of course, he was asked about being placed behind even John Beck, into the third-string quarterback slot, something that didn't really thrill him too much.

"Yeah, I don't think too many guys go from 1 to 3," he answered. "That's an unfortunate situation that I guess I'm one of a few to be a part of."

The whole Washington thing is an "unfortunate situation" -- McNabb hasn't played well this year, and Shanahan has every reason to try something else out (although, Rex Grossman, really?) in the spirit of evaluation.

But the difference between the way he and McNabb are handling things publicly is stark, to say the least. McNabb continually says the "right thing," even when it involves him not looking for an apology ("At this point, let's just move on") or possibly returning to the Redskins in 2011 ("I do want to be back here").

Shanahan continually acts towards his would-be franchise quarterback in a manner that could, at best, be considered "motivational" in the right situation.

In this scenario, the only real word for it is exactly what McNabb used -- disrespectful.

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Posted on: December 17, 2010 5:33 pm

A McNabb McNotebook

D. McNabb officially has lost his starting QB job in Washington (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In an effort to ensure that the rest of your night isn’t taken up by my posting Donovan McNabb story after Donovan McNabb story, let me make this post a McNabb notebook of sorts.

Three stories combined into a McNabb-sized post. After all, how else would you want us to treat a third-string QB?

1. Anybody want to know McNabb’s thoughts about Rex Grossman starting instead of him this Sunday?

As reported by the Washington Post, McNabb released a statement through his publicist, saying, “I respect Mike (Shanahan)'s decision as a head coach, but I strongly disagree with it."

Look, say what you will about McNabb’s quarterbacking skills, but he certainly has acted with class during what has become an awfully difficult season.

2. Anybody want to know what Grossman thinks about this idea?

According to TBD.com, he’s looking forward to the chance to reinvigorate his career.

“I think everybody has doubters in any situation, and until you prove yourself (on a) consistent basis, you’re always going to have doubters. I don’t care what profession you’re in. It’s motivation,” Grossman said. “I’m human. How could you not be motivated to show everybody who’s mocking you, or talking on the radio or TV, thinking they’re smart? I’m totally motivated to prove to them, and to myself that I’m a bona-fide starter in this league and can lead this team to a championship one day. Those are the type of goals I have, so motivation’s not a factor.”

Grossman has made 31 starts in his career, going 19-12, and in the 16-game season he started with the Bears in 2006, the team went 13-3 and he completed 54.6 percent of his passes for 3,193 yards, 23 TDs and 20 INTs – numbers that, looking back on it, aren’t completely terrible.

And apparently at least one of his teammates has confidence in Grossman.

“There’s not going to be a feeling out process. Rex is totally confident in the gameplan and what guys are going to do,” tight end Chris Cooley said, via TBD.  “He’s been around everyone, he’s seen how they run their routes all year. It’s not like we’re playing a quarterback we brought in last week. I care a lot about this team, but I’m not going to be divided. I’m going to be indifferent to the decisions that were made. Because I trust our coach, I believe he’s doing what he feels is best for this team and trust that as much as possible.”

3. So, where does McNabb land after this year? If you think Arizona, well, Arizona Republic reporter Kent Somers will disagree with you.

Somers writes that, even though McNabb lives and trains near the Cardinals complex, his sources have told him during the past few years that the Cardinals have never made a play for him.

Writes Somers:

Do the Cardinals pursue him? I would be surprised.

McNabb has never played in this offensive system. There are allegations that he's not the hardest working guy in the business. He has no ties to this coaching staff, which doesn't seem to hold him in as high a regard as some fans.

Maybe the Cardinals will show interest this time. They will look to bring in a veteran quarterback next season, and they will be tempted to draft one with their first selection. Maybe McNabb would be a nice bridge to the future. But again, I doubt it happens.

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Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: December 15, 2010 5:24 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Washington Redskins hit an (arguable) low point when a botched extra point cost them a shot at overtime with the Buccaneers on Sunday. The answer to that, clearly, was an organizational facelift cutting punter Hunter Smith, who missed the hold on the play.

It was kind of a dumb move, frankly, because Smith shouldn't be holding the ball on kicks anyway -- that job should go to Rex Grossman. Since, you know, having a backup serve as something more than "rumor machine for Donovan McNabb" is generally a good idea. But Smith was holding and he botched the hold and now he's out of a job.

As he told SportsTalk (via Mike Jones at TBD), his release probably involved Mike Shanahan trying to send a message to his players and it' probably "political."

"I think after you play in the NFL long enough, you realize it's a very political institution," Smith says. "I don't write it off to politics, but someone does have to pay the price in because we would win, or possibly tie the game if I catch the ball."

Smith also wondered if he was a "scapegoat" for the Redskins loss, which certainly seems to be the case in this situation.

"In the NFL, there are a couple of different types of teams out there," Smith said. "There are some teams that display undying loyalty to their coaches and players, and other teams that tend to want to make a statement during a time of tragedy that's going on by making an example of somebody and partially blame them for the loss. I'm not saying the Redskins are like that, but I think in this sense, it does come down to that."

It's pretty obvious that it comes down to that -- the Redskins are losing, losing bad and no one in the D.C. area really cares for them right now.

Unfortunately for Shanahan and the current regime, simply putting a punter out on the street isn't going to do enough to cover up all the other problems with the organization right now. In fact, one could argue it simply accentuates the issues.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Mike Shanahan’s said Smith’s release had nothing to do with the botched PAT.

“I told Hunter, I said I admired the way he stepped up and blamed it on himself,” Shanahan said, according to the team’s website. “I said it was a combination of the snap and the hold, but Hunter's the type of guy that took full responsibility for it. 'For that,' I said, 'I was gonna keep you just for the way you handled yourself.’”

So why, then, was Smith dismissed?

"Over the last twenty punts I think he's had two that we'd consider the hangtime that we want," Shanahan said, "so that's why we'd make the change. It had nothing to do with the hold."

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 5:23 pm

Report: Grossman could start over McNabb

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Last Sunday, surprising news about the Redskins coaching staff and QBs Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman emerged in a FOX report that said the coaches had prepared Grossman to replace McNabb against the Buccaneers if the latter struggled.

That didn’t happen in Washington’s one-point loss to Tampa Bay.

Yet it appears Washington’s staff might take it a step further this week. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, via Pro Football Talk, the Redskins are considering starting Grossman in place of McNabb this Sunday vs. the Cowboys.

In response, Kelli Johnson of CSN Washington tweeted that she had talked to a team source who didn’t believe that to be true.

Grossman and McNabb split first-team reps last week in practice, so look for that to happen when the Redskins return to practice Wednesday. Still, how hard up must the Redskins be if they feel they have to start Grossman – a QB who gives them virtually no chance to win? Also, what does that say about McNabb’s future with the Redskins?

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Posted on: December 13, 2010 7:03 pm

Gano doesn't want to lose his job

G. Gano isn't interested in losing his job (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For a guy who’s walking a tightrope on whether he gets to keep his job, Redskins K Graham Gano sure is anxious to correct some of his biggest transgressions.

After returning home following Washington’s 17-16 loss to the Buccaneers – based partly on (gulp) two missed Gano field goals (34 and 24 yards) and a flubbed last-second PAT (that wasn’t Gano’s fault, for what it’s worth) – Gano returned to Redskins Park later Sunday night to watch tape.

“There was nobody here,” Gano said, according to CSN Washington. “I came in here to figure out what I did wrong. I watched film from the beginning of the season when I was hitting the ball well and compared it to (the Bucs game).”

So, did he arrive at an answer?

“It was really hard to break it down and go into detail because my form looked the same as when I was making all my kicks,” Gano said. “I think it came down to my plant foot being a little too far behind the ball.”

Further hurting Gano’s cause to keep his job – he’s 22 of 32 this season, and his 10 missed field goals leads the league.

And, according to the Redskins official site, Gano hurt his ribs Sunday in the mad dash after the unsuccessful PAT at the end of the game, and it looks like the club will work out some kickers this week in case Gano can’t play.

And if he’s healthy? Coach Mike Shanahan said Gano will continue to be the guy he’ll send out to kick field goals.

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