Mike Shanahan raised some eyebrows on Sunday when he benched Donovan McNabb against the Lions. There were just under two minutes remaining in the game, and the Redskins were a touchdown away from tying. Rather than sticking with his starter, Shanahan gave the ball to Rex Grossman to try and lead a comeback. Now, we may have a better idea as to why.
According to Pro Football Talk, via ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Shanahan has been unhappy with McNabb’s effort at practice. Mortensen said McNabb doesn’t practice at the tempo the Redskins’ coaching staff — particularly Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan — would like to see. According to Mortensen, Shanahan even considered benching McNabb after Washington’s victory over the Eagles when McNabb struggled despite the win.
The Redskins are on a bye this week, meaning McNabb has a full two weeks of practice to prove the coaching staff wrong if Mortensen’s report is accurate. If he doesn’t, he’ll probably be on an even shorter leash when Washington resumes play.
Aside from creating a potential coach-quarterback controversy, this news could have an impact on where Randy Moss ends up. Moss was waived by the Vikings on Monday and there was some early indication that Washington would be one of the teams interested in his services. If they’re heading in a direction that involves turning to Grossman to take over the starting quarterback duties, it would probably be a waste of time and money for the Redskins to go after Moss.