NFL

Donovan McNabb Benched For Dallas Game; Rex Grossman to Start. What is Mike Shanahan Thinking?

Donovan McNabb has been benched by coach Mike Shanahan for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. Rex Grossman will start. Early reports are that the benching has divided the locker room, and players have lost trust in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Finally, for a day, the national spotlight is off the Jets!

The Redskins are an impossible team to figure out. They have wins over Dallas, Philadelphia (Vick left injured in the first quarter), Green Bay and Chicago. They have lost to Houston (freaky finish), St. Louis (disaster) and Detroit (ditto), and four of their eight losses are by a total of 11 points. No defense gives up more yards per game (394) than Washington’s.

Last year, the Redskins’ offense struggled and QB Jason Campbell was deemed the problem. Nevermind the myriad offensive line injuries, Campbell became the scapegoat. He’s doing OK in Oakland – his yards-per-attempt are up slightly (7.5 from 7.1), and his turnovers are down. But so is his completion percentage. The Raiders are 6-7 and could contend for a playoff spot next year.

McNabb? Going from an offense littered with weapons (McCoy, Jackson, Maclin) to one devoid of them, and learning a new offense, the veteran hasn’t been as effective as he was in Philly. That’s no surprise. His turnovers are up, and most of his stats are down. He’s been sacked more this year in 13 games than he was in 14 games last year in Philly. The Redskins drafted a need (offensive line), and Trent Williams has been solid (but not great, according to SI’s Don Banks). But the Redskins seem to burn through another running back each week. McNabb’s No. 2 receiver after Santana Moss is someone named Anthony Armstrong. Did they expect McNabb to work magic?

So much for the Sports Renaissance in the Nation’s capital. The Wizards are horrible, and John Wall can’t stay on the court. Stephen Strasburg already had Tommy John surgery and won’t pitch in 2011 for the Nationals. Everyone laughed when they paid Jayson Werth $126 million. And now the Redskins appear to be on the verge of dumping McNabb.

So, where does he shine next year – in Arizona? Minnesota? Miami?

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