Posted by Will Brinson
On Sunday, Mike Shanahan inexplicably pulled Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman. Were it not for Randy Moss and Brad Childress, that's all anyone would have talked about Monday and Tuesday.
To counter said distraction, Shanahan and the Redskins brought in Jamarcus Russell for a tryout.
As much as all of that reads like an Onion Sports story, it's the truth, folks -- and as such we have some sort of a quarterback controversy going down with the 4-4 Redskins.
Well, perhaps "controversy" is too strong a word. After all, Grossman isn't as good as McNabb, and Russell, who weighed in at 286 pounds, might have trouble making a Lingerie Football League team. (Actually, he might have an easier time getting on an NFL squad than that, but you see the point.)
The hemming and hawing of Shanny was the worst of it all -- he originally claimed that Grossman was better at running the two-minute offense (clearly a) a lie and b) patently wrong) and then decided that McNabb wasn't in good enough shape to stay on the field.
Regardless of why, Kyle Shanahan (yes, son of Mike) protege Grossman entered the game and immediately guaranteed the Lions a win with a fumble-turned-touchdown.
We understand now that there are locker room issues with Washington (I mean, duh, right?) thanks to Shanahan's decision, and that while he certainly doesn't have the problems of the aforementioned Childress, he's getting dangerously close to blowing up a Washington season that once had promise.
Will Grossman start for the Redskins the rest of the way home? We can only hope so -- after all, that means when the Vikings sign McNabb next year, Leslie Frazier will finally get the respect he deserves.
Whatever, that's a lot of projection, but is it really worth discussing whether or not Grossman should replace McNabb in the starting lineup? Of course it's not -- if the possibility of David Carr replacing Alex Smith in San Francisco a mind-boggling mishap of mediocrity (and it was, as I said and then we saw) then this is just a slap in the face to common sense.
Most coaches go out of their way to avoid quarterbacks controversies like these -- somehow, Mike Shanahan has managed to invite one, while also insulting his veteran leader and the only talented quarterback on the roster.
No amount of humiliation-based motivation is worth the obvious downside to this. And swapping out McNabb for Grossman at this stage would just be proof that Shanny had his brain surgically replaced with Dan Snyder's.
Speaking of the 49ers, Troy Smith did a pretty good job of making sure that David Carr won't be seeing the field as a starter (there are always injuries, and he'll seemingly always get a job based on just potential, sigh) any time soon.
But what happens when Alex Smith returns in a few weeks? At that point, Troy will have had multiple weeks with reps as the starter and possibly even more wins than Alex, in many less tries.
It's not like we're discussing someone off the street either -- Troy has the credentials to a degree (the Heisman Trophy has to be worth something, right???) and reasonable stats when he started. His accuracy isn't as good percentage wise as Alex, but he doesn't cough the ball up as much, and San Fran is very much a Frank Gore-based team.
Just saying we shouldn't be so quick to roll right back to Alex just because he was the top pick a few years ago.
Matt Moore and Derek Anderson will continue getting the nod -- both moves are the smart play, in reasonably similar situations -- both teams are equal at -65 in point differential, both have star wide receivers, both have a talented pair of running backs that are underperforming, both teams have rookie quarterbacks they believe to be the future, etc., etc. The only difference is that the Cardinals are in a crappy division. And given the way Jimmy Clausen and Max Hall have played, which is to say, "not good," it behooves both coaches to allow their youngsters to develop on the bench and learn while watching for a little while.
Pants on Fire (Hot Seat Watch)
- Brad Childress: If I fired Andy right now, no one would notice or care, but the bosses would probably say "um, why did you do that without telling us?" and then fire me too. (Just kidding, I don't have hiring/firing power. And if anything, I'm the Randy Moss of the group. You should see what happens when my coffee isn't premium brand.) Thin ice for Chilly.
- John Fox: Someone asked Sean Payton if he would be willing to hire Fox as an assistant next year, even though Fox still has a job (technically). That's an indication of something, insomuch as 1-6 is at least.
- Wade Phillips: At some point, the awkwardness of Wade's eventual firing will wear off. Thank goodness he doesn't have a primetime game this week!
- Jack Del Rio: Betting against Del Rio when his job is on the line is like betting against Michael Jordan these days. Still, the Jags are going to be hard pressed to make the playoffs in that division with that talent and you have to think Wayne Weaver will at least explore something new once the CBA gets sorted out.
- Mike Singletary: The bright side of eventually losing the NFC West race to the Seahawks and Rams is that he'll be immediately employed as a six figure motivational speaker.
- Marvin Lewis: No one's really talking about Lewis' job being in jeopardy because it's too easy to place blame on Carson Palmer for stinking. But there's a lot of talent on this team and they're underachieving badly.
- Josh McDaniels: The biggest problem for Pat Bowlen is that admitting he messed up with McDaniels is about as fun as Mike Shanahan admitting he messed up with Grossman. Which is like full circle or something, man.
- Norv Turner: A win against the Texans on the road would go a long way towards keeping Norvell safe, particularly with divisional games coming up and Vincent Jackson returning. He should also give Philip Rivers 10 percent of his paycheck for winning games with a receiving corps only outflanked in mediocrity by the Bolts' special teams.
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