It’s difficult to imagine a more bizarre wrinkle in the Washington Redskins’ quarterback flap than the arrival of JaMarcus Russell for a workout today.
It just gets crazier by the day, and now Mike Shanahan’s son Kyle, the team’s offensive coordinator, is at odds with Donovan McNabb in terms of how the starter’s benching Sunday in the final two minutes of a bad loss at Detroit went down.
The short of it is Kyle Shanahan claims that McNabb was informed early in the week something like this could happen. McNabb claims he has no idea what Kyle Shanahan is talking about.
Confused yet? You ought to be because none of this makes sense and the more both sides talk and attempt to explain away this situation, the greater the divide is that grows between them.
How did we get here? Well, after Sunday’s loss Mike Shanahan said that McNabb was yanked with the Redskins within a score of winning the game because Rex Grossman was more familiar with the two-minute offense. On Monday, it turned to McNabb’s conditioning and his cardiovascular fitness. You can’t make this stuff up if you tried, could you?
Kyle Shanahan, according to Jason Reid of the Washington Post, attempted to clarify the matter today.
“I do want to clear up, though, what I saw yesterday on the cardiovascular stuff. I think that came off wrong for him (McNabb),” Kyle Shanahan said, per the report. “It came down to last week, when on Monday and Tuesday, we were gonna, because of his hamstring issues, we were deciding that hey, ‘This guy's hurting.’
“We know he won't take himself out, (but) we don't think he should play. We gotta rest him. We'll get him better for the rest of the year. Don being the competitor that he is, he came in and said hey, ‘I will rise to the occasion. I will play.’ And he talked us into it. We said, ‘Hey, we understand we're gonna let you go. But if we do feel you're struggling in the game (because of injuries) … we're going to have to go in a different direction.’”
Kyle Shanahan added that “without a doubt” McNabb had been informed of all of this early last week.
Well, that was news to McNabb while making his weekly appearance on ESPN 980-AM in Washington.
“I didn't hear that part,” McNabb said. “I didn't.”
More confused yet?
The more this situation plays out – and the Redskins are in their bye week – the uglier it could turn. No one is on the same page and the more they talk about, the more obvious that becomes. This is a situation that could dramatically impact the remainder of the season and Mike Shanahan should have realized as much before he made the knee-jerk reaction to yank McNabb in the game. Changing stories for why the move was made only compounds the problem.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune