Fallout From Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb's Feud


In 2010, Mike Shanahan publicly humiliated veteran Donovan McNabb by sitting him to make room for up and coming Rex Grossman. Shanahan justified his decision by insinuating that Grossman understood the 2 minute terminology more so than his 12 year veteran.  There was a public backlash for his decision and none more critical than Fox Sports Jason Whitlock.

Whitlock’s article, “Shanahan crosses the line with McNabb,” asserts that disagreements between Mike Shanahans son, current Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, was the true reason for McNabb’s benching.

Whitlock wrote, “McNabb, a 12-year vet with an impressive resume, wasn’t all that interested in making the footwork adjustments Kyle and Mike suggested during the offseason.” Whitlock continued the article with, “I’m saying that Shanahan’s attack on McNabb is personal, intended to injure McNabb’s reputation and unwittingly pandering to racial stereotypes. All of us, regardless of color, are capable of resorting to lowest-common-denominator personal attacks when we are controlled by our emotions rather than logic.”

I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with Whitlocks statements but I do believe that McNabb’s benching may have more consequences than original thought.  For instance, look at the Redskins current predicament.

Mike Shanahan has showered the relatively unknown John Beck with praise and been quite adamant in the young quarterback's ability to lead the Redskins this upcoming season. Though the Shanahan’s may be confident in his ability many Redskin fans are reluctant to jump on the bandwagon and rightfully so.

John Beck was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2007 and was released shortly thereafter. He has very limited playing experience and has accomplished very little in his short tenure in the NFL.  In fact, John Beck is so unknown reports have surfaced that he was turned away from his own facility.

According to The Washington Post, Beck showed up to Redskins Park and was turned away by security guards. Though the official reason being that he isn’t allowed at the facilities until Tuesday.

Granted, I wouldn’t recognize John Beck if he sat down to dinner with my family but I’m not a D.C. native or Redskin employee.  I believe Shanahan’s stance on unproven John Beck is a direct result in his limited options at QB and this is a direct result on how he treated Donovan McNabb.

Think about it! The Redskins are actively trying to trade away Donovan McNabb, a proven NFL quarterback, for pennies on the dollar. Why? Logic would suggest that despite Donovan being a true professional he refuses to play for a coach who treated him with little if any dignity much less respect. Shanahan’s the coach but he took his position of power too far and it’s costing him a 2nd round and 4th round pick.

Speaking of lost draft picks, this is another consequence of the whole McNabb vs. Shanahan ordeal. It’s public knowledge that Donovan McNabb won’t be playing with the Redskins this year. I’m not a Harvard graduate but business 101 suggests that Washington has little if any negotiating power. Why would any team give up more than a 4th round pick when they know Donovan will likely be released? What? Shanahan is going to hold onto Donovan and spite him just to show everyone who’s the boss? McNabb is a well-respected figure amongst fans and NFL organizations alike. At this point, keeping him is certainly PR suicide.

Shanahan has now backed himself into a corner. If he keeps McNabb and publicly abuses his power over a beloved Gridiron hero, he may very well hurt his and the Redskins reputation. Who wants’ to play for an organization that uses players like pawns in a never ending game of War? Certainly not Santonio Holmes who is reportedly linked to the Washington during this years free agency.

Which brings me to my final point. Shanahan’s handling of Donavan McNabb should hurt them during free agency. Why would top wide receivers like Holmes and Rice go to an organization that touts John Beck or Rex Grossman as their starting QB’s? Why would top free agents like Ray Edwards or Vince Young sign with a coach who will chew them up and spit them out at will?

Shanahan is a respected coach within the NFL brass but his handling of Donovan has directly led to his organizations lack of options and Monday’s embarrassing event involving John Beck.  If the Redskins continue there losing ways its a direct consequence of how Shanahan handled the beloved Donovan McNabb.


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