Ron Jaworski: Decision to Bench Donovan McNabb Kind of a Head-Scratcher
If Brett Favre and Randy Moss are two of the bigger stories in the NFL this season, one that appears as if it will not go away is the Donovan McNabb benching by Mike Shanahan. The decision to bench McNabb at the end of the game made little sense, and the explanations for it were even more stupefying. It’s really not even worth attempting to decipher the Shanahanian code anymore; we can reasonably conclude he’s dissatisfied with his quarterback and looking to inspire better play.
Most analysts seem to be in agreement that McNabb’s benching, in favor of Rex Grossman no less, made little sense. ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, a former Eagles quarterback, watched the film from the Redskins-Lions game and remains steadfast that the move was “kind of a head-scratcher.” During his conference call with reporters leading up to the Eagles-Redskins Monday Night Football game, Jaws said:
I’ll still trying to find something that hinted a change was going to be made. Quite honestly, I still can’t find anything. There’s nothing that would lead me to believe that, boy, we’ve got to make a quarterback change. We’re not moving the football. Maybe we need a spark, which is a great phrase that coaches seem to use. But certainly I thought Donovan was doing all he could have done in the situation during the game under the duress he was under. The offensive line wasn’t blocking very well. They weren’t running the ball consistently, and their receivers were struggling to catch the football. So that’s why it’s kind of a head-scratcher that at a critical time in the game …
Incidentally, it was the pressure Jaws described that got to Grossman causing him to fumble and hand Detroit a touchdown. That has been the biggest concern about Washington’s offense all year — they haven’t been able to protect their quarterback. McNabb isn’t exactly immobile, yet he’s been sacked as much as anyone not named Jay Cutler. He seems to always be under pressure and on the run, with little time to let things develop. We questioned Jaws’ analysis of Peyton Manning earlier in the season, but he’s spot on with McNabb and the Redskins.