Cardiovascular Endurance Week
By: Bernie Marshall
Category: Washington Redskins News
During the Redskins post-game press conference, head coach Mike Shanahan, provided a vague reason for the switch by saying, "At the end of the game with Donovan, with a minute left and Rex knowing how to run that two-minute offense, I felt with the time and no timeouts he gave us the best chance to win in that scenario. Just knowing the terminology of what we've done, and how we've run it, it puts a lot of pressure on a quarterback that haven't been used to that terminology. What you have to do sometimes is you understand everything is sped up. When you don't have timeouts, it's got to come automatic. You've got to call a couple plays at the line, a few plays at the line. When you go through this during the week, and you take a look at this type of atmosphere, I thought it was the best scenario to put him in there in that situation." By Monday the explanation for going to Rex Grossman and sitting Donovan McNabb, was because Grossman had played in the same offensive system while with the Houston Texans and was in better physical shape than McNabb. Shanahan said "When you deal with a two-minute offense, and you don't have any timeouts, and you haven't done it in five weeks, and you're calling sometimes two plays - you've got to hustle to the line of scrimmage, and you're calling plays that you haven't called in the two-minute attack - and you're actually working on cardiovascular endurance at the same time you're working on the clock, it's really hard to do that when you haven't practiced it and you haven't really put yourself in any strenuous activities because of your hamstrings. So I thought it would be in our best interest to go in a different direction." The coach also said that, if McNabb is healthy after the bye week and he can practice the two-minute drill and other drills that quarterbacks must perform each week he would expect McNabb to be the quarterback in late-game situations.
The media says coach Shanahan did not tell the truth about the benching, and speculated as to the real reason McNabb got the hook, and speculation became the lead story nation-wide for the week. The speculation ranged from McNabb being the owner's choice and not Shanahan's, to McNabb being too laid back for a coach that is consumed with perfection. On Tuesday Kyle Shanahan tried to clarify his father's statements to the press by pointing to hamstring injuries that Donovan McNabb was dealing with. The younger Shanahan said: “When you say it was cardiovascular endurance, it was, but because he has two pulled hamstrings and hasn’t practiced at full speed in three weeks; it wasn’t because he has just been sitting around playing video games. That’s the way I thought it came off, and that was unfair to McNabb.”
The Washington Redskins fan base says, with the game on the line, there is no, was no, and will not be a plausible explanation for going with Rex over Donovan. They simply wanted to hear this from the head coach instead of the assortment of reasons that were provided. Instead they got news reports that the Redskins were working out former first round picks JaMarcus Russell and J.P Losman on Tuesday.
This gave the media more ammunition for their speculation that McNabb and Mike Shanahan were at odds, and the only thing they had to do was leave out the fact that the workouts had been scheduled two weeks earlier and that the Washington Redskins hold these type of workouts every Tuesday. Most reports also failed to note that defensive end Charles Grant, cornerback Tye Hill, receiver Chad Jackson, receiver Taurus Johnson, defensive tackle William Joseph, cornerback Justin Miller, defensive back Sha'reef Rashad, and receiver Bobby Williams were also at the workouts.
It is possible that Mike Shanahan omitted some of the facts surrounding the benching of McNabb?
Forget about what has been said about McNabb this week, lets look at the facts as we know them. We knew he has appeared on the injury report on a regular bases. We also knew going in, Donovan was only completing around 50% of his attempts with two minutes or less left in the half this season, and we knew he had been over throwing and under throwing receivers all day. By the time he was pulled, McNabb has been sacked 22 times this season (the second highest in the league), after you add in the six times he went down on Sunday. That could equal up to McNabb hadn't practiced much due to injuries, because we know any missed time will land a player on the Redskins injury report; (Shanahan overloads the report with players believing the opponent won't know who will be active), and we saw Donovan having trouble getting from under center early in the game.
After running for his life most of the game, other than the six times he couldn't get away, anyone can have issues with cardiovascular endurance. We know Shanahan needs to upgrade the offensive line, or McNabb may just get killed, and we know by the fourth quarter the Redskins were down to a rookie running back after only having two active to start the game. Now we know why coach Mike Shanahan didn't come out and say these things. Adding all these factors in still doesn't bring the average Redskins fan to the conclusion to go with Grossman over McNabb when a 5-3 mid-season record or being .500 was at stake.
Note: The players have been off since Tuesday and return to work on Sunday. The bye week is over, and we have no idea what to expect when the players return this week.
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