Nov 01, 2010

Post columnist Tracee Hamilton and staff writer Barry Svrluga discuss the Redskins-Lions game, why Donovan McNabb was benched and more

A quarterback controversy going into the bye. Good times.

Memories ... shoo be doo be doo be doo.

And good morning, everyone. There are already far more questions than we'll ever get to but Barry and I will begin plugging away. Let's go!

No soup for you, Donovan! Next!!

Okay, that made me laugh. Not an easy chore to do this weekend. Remind me to tell you about our hotel stay in Detroit on a day when we don't have 1,000 questions.

Barry S. said "McNabb might never have been in such a situation if not for his own performance." I have to agree 100% with the first part. But it really wasn't because "if not for his own performance." If the"game planners" would game plan to the strength of its players THAT would give a team its best chance of succeeding. Joe Gibbs learned that after the 5th game of the season. Shanahan Jr. & Sr. are probably just too pigheaded or egos too large to accept that. To paraphrase... If one does not learn from their mistakes he is doomed to repeat them.

Well, I know I believe the part I wrote. But I'm unsure how the gameplanners, in this case, were supposed to better set up their players. Perhaps a few more bootlegs for McNabb (really the best part of this offense so far, I'd say)?

This is an amazingly complex situation, one that involves a proud veteran quarterback, a seasoned coach who wants everyone to know who's in charge, an offensive line that is banged up and hasn't come together -- and a franchise that thought it had stabilized itself at the one position at which it had endured so much turmoil over the previous decade.

Gonna be a fun week, huh?

Ms. H: I don't know who was more shocked at the NU-MU game - the Tiger fans or the Husker fans. One of your "posters" from Mizzou was prepared to make a deal with the devil if Mizzou could follow up the OU win with one over NU, but I guess the devil held out for a better deal. I've rooted for NU since I was growing up in Lincoln (Nebraska, that is) in the 1950s, and I can't remember a more dominant quarter. Next week, no doubt, NU will stink against I-State, but I'll take Saturday's win with no complaints. AHG

I'd sure take that win. That was an impressive performance by the running back. Meanwhile, I consider a 12-point loss to Iowa State a moral victory. That's how low I've sunk. But the Chiefs won so that helped.

Couldn't he pick up his game and get 5 interceptions?

Really need more from that guy, huh?

(He did give up two of Calvin Johnson's three TD catches, but that's a tall, tall order covering that guy, and he made his pick against Johnson, too.)

I moved to India this year. As a result, Redskins games begin at around 10p, and go until 2amish. If the Redskins would either blow teams out, or get blown out, I could sleep at a sane time of night. But with all the close games, now I tend to stay up way too late, resulting in a zombified state the next morning at work. To make it worse, I went to bed with the image of Rex Grossman playing QB for our team. Why, Tracee, why? "Oh the humanity (Newman)!!!"

Geez, and I've been griping about not being able to see World Series games in their entirety. Yes, if you're a Redskins fan this year, you can't bail. Except for the St. Louis game, it's been ridiculous. (I've noticed this as a columnist who'd like to know the result before figuring out what to write.)

Jim Zorn started 6 and 2 with a lesser quarterback; Mike Shanahan started 4 and 4 with a higly regarded quarterback and pulls his quarterback with 2 minutes to go in a game that could... maybe could... have been won. If Zorn pulled McNabb I think he would have been put on a train out of town before the game was over.

It'll be interesting to take the temperature of the fan base on the Shanahan issue over the next 24-48 hours. There are ways to get to 4-4 this year that would have been palatable. But with 1:50 left yesterday afternoon, Shanahan -- whether he thought it was the best chance to win the game or not -- opened up the largest can of worms he had available. Not only was he questioning his quarterback -- openly, publicly, brutally -- but he also left himself open to be questioned by his team.

Am I the only one not outraged by Mcnabb's benching? Granted, he's spent the majority of his time here running for his life, but he has been downright terrible in the 2 minute drill all season, missed open receivers often, and that last INT was inexcusable. A poor man's Brett Favre if you ask me.

Not the only one, but apparently in the minority.

Hi Tracee, I am confused. What will it take for Shanahan to replace Lichtensteiger and Rabach? McNabb avoided at least 8 sacks with his legs. By my count this is the fourth game that this duo has been completely run over by a DF tackle. The guard and center positions because of the small area they work in is mostly a strength position. In the NFL you hardly ever see DF tackles in the backfield, but this dynamic duo has made at least 4 DF tackles Pro Bowl contenders. Just like the Haynesworth issue, it makes you wonder what exactly is the lesson that Shanahan is trying to teach Dockery. Dockery may not be the most mobile guard, but I don't remember him just getting run over.

It's hard to imagine that the line has been upgraded and still looks that bad. I can't understand the Dockery business. I really can't. The sad thing is, they made acquisitions and worked on the line, and that's the best it can do. It seems to me that with that line, you're better off with a mobile quarterback, even in the final two minutes.

 

As a huge Redskins fan losing to Detroit would be terrible but the Redskins can't just be terrible! They HAVE to ensure that the most drama can emerge to give them the most press possible. No, lets not just lose the game, lets also bench our starting QB and bring in Sexy Rexy! Seriously, I know it's great for the media but I just wish that at some point someone in our front office would stand up at the next meeting and demand that we stop making ourselves the joke of the league. The NFL media should have been talking about if the Cowboys were going to fire their coach, instead it will be if our coach and McNabb are done... Thank god there's hockey.

Hammer. Nail. Done.

Even with a loss yesterday -- a normal, woulda-coulda-shoulda loss -- the Skins could've gone to the bye week at the midway point and said, "Well, we're still in it." Now, they're still in it, but with countless layers of drama, drama that was, some would certainly argue, unnecessary to create.

Shanahan is here in large part to create stability. But what, exactly, has been stable about his tenure thus far? The Haynesworth issue seems to be solved. They have found a role for him, and he's effective in it. Now he has created a situation with the most prominent player on his team, and the rest of the league has noticed. Amazing that this team, regardless of who's running the show, has very few quiet moments.

I understand if you put in Rex Grossman at the start of the second half and I realize that Head Coach Shanahan wasn't yet upset with Donovan McNabb until two minutes left in the game. But if you don't have confidence in McNabb, why did you trade for him in the first place? Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if Jim Zorn made such a move, especially using the reasoning Shanahan used?

We had a saying back in the sticks: Dance with the one who brung ya. This is your guy, at least till the end of the season. Maybe you don't re-sign him, maybe there's no season next year, but for eight more games, this is your guy. Make it work.

He isn't looking so bad is he? Do you think Rex Grossman will be under center against the Eagles? I think Shanahan needs to stop tinkering with the O-line, rotating players through that left tackle position is not working. Also, Portis' run blocking ability is needed badly!

Dockery? He looks ok in a sweatsuit on the sidelines. Hasn't played in a month.

I don't think Rex Grossman will be under center against the Eagles. But what if they're down by six with 1:50 left? Shanahan certainly left open that possibility.

Portis's pass blocking is missed; his run blocking is a non-factor/issue.

Am I the only person who thinks Coach Shanahan makes decisions sometimes that seem to spite his face even thought it means cutting off his nose? He rails against Albert Haynesworth for weeks, and while some was justified, once the plan is changed and AH gets to roam free, he has his best game ever as a Skin. The team trades for McNabb and replaces him with a QB who has never come close to the pedigree that McNabb has as an NFL starter. I just don't get it. And his explanation is even more bizarre. Saying Grossman was better suited to deal with the 2 minute drill b/c he played for Kyle in Texas.........It's week 8 coach. You haven't done your job if your starting QB hasn't been versed in how to handle an end of game 2 minute drill. Am I missing something here? Nothing in me can fathom why this was done.

You make a good point. Coach him up, and if he doesn't get all of the terminology, then scale back to what he does get. The guy has more plays of 50+ yards than anyone in the NFL, so he can still go deep. He ran well yesterday, although maybe should have taken off a few more times than he did. It's the short game that's the problem, to me. Can you really not get McNabb to make 10-15 yard passes effectively? If not, bench him at the start of the game. The whole thing is just weird.

Hi, I'm Jason Campbell, who y'all said couldn't play. My team has the same record as yours, and we've scored 92 points in the last 8 days.

Hey, Jason, thanks for dropping by. We miss you around here. Congrats on all the numbers y'all are throwing up. What'd you throw for yesterday? Oh, 310 yards, I see, along with a pair of touchdowns without an interception. Good work.

For the record, you, Jason, are the 21st-rated passer in the NFL at 82.5. Donovan McNabb, your replacement, is the 25th-rated passer in the NFL at 76.0.

"Get Rex Grossman more playing time" would not be on my top ten list of ways to improve the Redskins.

Nor mine.

Hot. Next question?

Yes, I'm getting that distinct impression.

I can't believe I haven't heard anyone on the post game shows (commentators or callers) or the morning radio shows blame Dan Snyder for yesterday's loss to Detroit or the benching of Donovan McNabb? Have people finally gotten respectable about the owner or have they finally realized that he's not putting his imprint on everything Redskins?

I think you would have heard more griping about Snyder if this situation occured under another coach. But Shanahan has done a good job of creating the impression that he is in charge of all things football with the Redskins. And clearly -- even in the old days, I think -- Snyder wouldn't be given responsibility for pulling the QB with 1:50 left in a six-point game.

At some point, are we allowed to point out that Shanahan appears to have a HORRIBLE time managing players? Let's make a list: 1. Albert: apparently, back in the fold. 2. Devin Thomas: run out of town. 3. Derek Dockery: not even active. 4. McNabb: coach-created crisis. 5. Fred Davis: productive last year; last seen this year on a milk carton. Dockery and Fred Davis have been productive; suddenly, they can't play? Devin Thomas: million dollar body; ten-cent head. If another coach develops him, does that fall on Shanny? McNabb: By all reports, the classiest guy in the world. Is THIS how you treat him? At what point do we conclude that Shanny and Shanny Jr. are NOT necessarily the Manhattan Project of the NFL?

That's a nice summation, thanks. I couldn't believe they went to Fred on two two-point conversions after ignoring him the rest of the game. Did they really think that would work?

Why did this sentence about McNabb in Mike Wise's column make me cringe and chuckle at the same time: "He spoke to Albert Haynesworth near the Gatorade cooler on the opposing sideline late Sunday afternoon at Ford Field."

Two prominent players with one thing in common: Both have now been dissed by Mike Shanahan.

Really, it was, is, and will be the offensive line, not the quarterback. How many times did they start 1st and 20 yesterday? How many times did McNabb get hit or sacked?

The line has regressed, and I don't understand why. Maybe Dockery is part of it.

the way i see it, the 2010 team is a natural experiment in whether coaches or players drive success. in the short-term, i don't think there's any doubt it's the players. the 2010 team is largely the same as 2009, and we're seeing the same results. before everyone crucifies the shanahans, give them time to remake the team. already we're seeing signs of light in personnel acumen (banks, torrain, etc). mcnabb is really just a transitional figure. nothing more. chillax, everyone. chillax.

The issue, I think, is that McNabb was supposed to be more than a transitional figure. I think most of the fan base -- and almost everyone in the buildings at Redskins Park -- figured McNabb would hold down the position for three years or more, right?

Yes, the team is evolving. But this is one darn jarring way to push that evolution forward. It's not as if he did this to Jason Campbell. He did this to the guy he went out and traded for. I think, if McNabb leaves, lots of the fan base will look at the 2011 draft and wonder where those two picks went, and conclude that the new Redskins just did business like the old Redskins would have.

Hi Tracee, could you conceive of a situation in which B-Svrl was struggling with a column (not that he would; he is, after all, B-Svrl), and, just as he was about to write the final column, yank him in favor of, I don't know, let's say, Cheese Boy, who would be asked to complete the column "cold?" And when asked about it, you would say something about Cheese Boy knowing the Post's standards better than B-Svrl, and thus giving the Post a better chance to win?

I would have yanked Svrluga in the third quarter. :) Just kidding!

Dumb question... Why do coaches decide to try to force a QB to fit their system. It's like the "system" is this aeons old thing that is unchanging. The Redskins decide that Grossman gives them a better chance to win because he is more experienced in the West Coast system? Why are they in a West Coast system and if they feel their QB can't run it, why did they trade for him in the first place? If the "system" is that sacrosanct, why not get a QB who knows how to run it? If you believe in your talent, why not get the best talent possible, then match the system to it?

This is actually taking too broad a view of what happend. Per Shanahan's explanation, they believed Grossman gave them a better chance because he was more familiar with the terminology and changing formations in the Redskins' two-minute offense, not in the entire system. Again, per Shanahan, with no timeouts, he needed someone in there who would be able to call two plays at the line of scrimmage and run them both quickly. That's open to criticism/interpretation/second-guessing, but that's what Shanahan said.

Do you really believe that a veteran QB is going to let a benching affect him much? I don't. I do believe that we're going to have to be patient until the O line improves....a lot.

That, no doubt, is a big issue. Seven sacks overall against the Lions, and McNabb has now been sacked 22 times in eight games. The most he has ever been sacked in his career was 45 times, back in 2000 -- his first full year as a starter -- and he's nearly on pace for that this season.

Hi Tracee, you know I would much rather being going through this level of angst with a first year rookie than a seasoned vet. After 8 games it is evident Donovan doesn't know the offense yet and he always looks like a good QB winging it. The sad part is that once he leaves in a few years we will have to go through this all over again with a new QB. I am already looking toward the draft because I see where this season is going, which is nowhere fast. Any reason I should be thinking otherwise? PS. the skins need a new center and guard (Casey and Corey are human turnstiles). Uggh!

I would be pretty surprised if you have to wait a couple of years to go through the rookie pains. I can't see this relationship flourishing. They haven't extended him and seem in no hurry to do so. What if they draft a quarterback next April (ignoring glaring needs on offense) and let McNabb go? That's certainly possible. The ideal transition would be a youngster learning the ropes under McNabb but I'm beginning to think that won't happen.

that Donovan was benched to give the Redskins a chance to come back, and then Rex Grossman basically seals the deal by dropping the ball on the very next play? In other news, now we know that Redskins offense players are surprisingly NOT taught tackling and resort to tickling when faced with the opportunity.

Don't underrate tickling as a weapon. Very effective.

I was the starting QB for 3 years in the 1990's on a decent college team. You've probably heard of me, if only vaguely. During that time, I had 2 coaches and 3 offensive coordinators, all of whom had somewhat different offensive philosophies. Point is, I managed to adapt OK. So I get frustrated when I hear that pro quarterbacks, who are almost certainly more skilled than I and probably have better football "smarts" as well, can't adapt to new schemes. Jason Campbell in particular comes to mind, but there are so many others. I'm not sure you should try to impose a new scheme on a Pro Bowler like Donovan McNabb, but that's another issue.

I think this is interesting insight, and it's one thing that those of us who never played the game at a high level can't really hope to completely appreciate: How difficult is it, really, to learn a new system? My main take-away yesterday afternoon, after Shanahan's explanation of the move, was: Given OTAs and mini-camps and the preseason games and training camp and EIGHT FULL GAMES of the regular season, is it surprising that your starting quarterback hasn't mastered all the tasks he needs to perform? To me, that part of Shanahan's evaluation was the most stunning.

Now maybe the Lions will start to sell out their home games so those of us who can't afford to buy tickets will be able to watch on TV.

I hope so, Lions Fan. These local blackouts really hurt, especially in a place like Detroit that's just trying to hang on.

Good morning Tracee! Ashburn Nats Fan here. First off, I enjoy reading your columns and your online discussions. You're one of the bright spots of the Sports section at the Post. Nats fans have to be patient? Let's see. Senators v.1 moves to Minnesota in 1961 with a nice nucleus of players and makes the World Series in 1965. In the meantime, Senators v.2 spends its 10 years in DC pretty much as a bottom dweller. Fans get fed up with the mismanagement and the highest ticket prices in MLB of the Bob Short years and stay away, allowing the team to move to Texas in 1971. Nats move here in 2005. Have been disappointing with two 100-loss seasons but, in hindsight, a lot of that had to do with the foundation laid by Bud Selig, Omar Minaya, and MLB when they operated the Expos/Nationals on a shoestring budget from 2002 to 2004, which included a trade of Cliff Lee from the Expos to Cleveland. In 2010 with MLB operating Senators v.2 (this before Nolan Ryan took over), they decide to splurge and make the $4.5 million investment for that same Cliff Lee in the trade with Seattle, helping Senators v.2 to the World Series. As a DC baseball fan, it's hard to be told "be patient" when the powers-that-be, fate, the baseball gods, etc., all seem to be tilting the table so that it's never level. Keep up the good work! You have a fan here!

Yup, that was my point -- aren't you tired of hearing it? How about, "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!" :)

What has Bruce Allen and Shanahan given us? A bad offensive line that cannot block at all. An over the hill QB (Bruce, your dad made hay with those types of guys, but today's OTHers are not the same as Kilmer, Pottios, Talbert, Pettibon, etc.) A stellar corps of inadequate receivers (Joey Galloway?). The Haynesworth controversy. A stripped 2011 draft (few picks. Yup, they have done a great job of making this team a winner. But for a couple of breaks that went our way, we could be 2-6 or 1-7.

And this, folks, is what a day like yesterday can leave.

Tracee, further confirmation as why I love ya...Gordo Cooper and Tom Petty in the same column? Two of my pop culture favorites all mixed together (I assume you were referencing Cooper, played by Dennis Quaid, in the much-underrated "The Right Stuff?"). BTW, another Petty lyric that popped into my head for some, um, reason: "I shoulda known right then it was too good to last, God, it's such a drag when your living in the past. Baby, even the losers, get lucky sometimes."

Thanks! Any of you who haven't seen "The Right Stuff" -- one of the great movies of all time.

How bad was the McNabb benching decision? I'd go with a 9.

I think a 9 is about right. We have to save the "10" for whatever's yet to come.

This looks like a job for Pepper Rodgers. Does Mr. Snyder still have the coach-in-waiting on speed dial?

I'm not sure if he does, but I do. I love me some Pepper.

Spelled wrong I'm sure. Can someone ask Shanahan why this guy is in the game? And I don't care that he can play three different positions. Seems to me he has a hard enough time playing one. Meanwhile Dockery (all 315 pounds of him) is just watching from the sideline as Suh and company are having a field day.

Yeah that's an interesting one. The main reason, I believe, is they think Dockery's size hinders his mobility, and mobility is crucial in this zone-blocking scheme. But left guard is not the only place they're struggling on the line. Both Stephon Heyer and Jammal Brown are beat-up. Trent Williams is going through (understandable) growing pains. And the interior of the line seemed to struggle, in particular, yesterday. A work in progress, to be sure.

It is extremely hard to be a Redskin fan anymore. Why?

My impression is, when you know you're no good, it's slightly comforting to remind yourself of that after a loss (see 2009 season). When you're close to being good (defense humming along, special teams vastly improved), and you lose, it's a lot more painful. The KU season, for me, is increasingly painless because I have zero expectations. Zero.

What has been most surprising with Donovan McNabb recently is his horrible decision making. The end of game drive against the Colts when he took a bad sack and threw a bomb on 4th and 10 was bad. The horrible INT's against Chicago which should have resulted in 2 TD's for the Bears. Today throwing another sure INT for a score that Detroit flat out dropped. Then throwing a pass into triple coverage when the Skins were holding the lead and trying to finish the game. It's one thing to make bad throws or be unlucky, but the decisions McNabb has been making are inexcusable for a top level veteran QB. This can't be the type of leadership, decision making and performance in the cluth the Skins envisioned when they gave up crucial draft picks for McNabb can it???

Another reason why I think there's a million ways to analyze this situation, and I agree whole-heartedly. I understand that McNabb is not the world's most accurate passer. (From 2000-09, the years McNabb was the full-time starter in Philly, the average NFL completion rate was 59.5 percent, and McNabb's was 59 percent.) But a 12-year veteran -- regardless of the system, it would seem -- should be able to avoid throws into coverage and progress to the open man.

Frick & Frack, Mutt & Jeff or what ever you wat to call Shanahan & son (sounds like lawyers) have asked McNabb to change his skill set. Do things he is not accustomed to doing. Also to take some heat off would be to throw some quick hits over the middle (slants) oh wait a minute their DBs don't play 10yards off the ball like we do ALL the time.

They do try to get Santana Moss on those slants, I believe. And I think the best part of the offense -- as I said earlier -- is when they do take some heat off of McNabb with their bootleg (they call it "keeper") game.

When his athleticism inevitably declined as a result of age and injury, he doesn't seem able to provide much else. Yes, he's well-liked, a great leader, and a great guy, but hideously inconsistent as a passer. Is his demise as a starting QB in a year or 2, and not in, say 4 or 5 because of this? Or am I nuts? (I might be nuts)

Not sure you're not right, but here's the thing -- he's lost no arm strength and he can still run the ball. Those, to me, would be the first areas to go. Why, with age, would you lose the inability to complete the short passes? That's why I'm not ready to throw in the towel on him -- this just seems fixable.

And I admit to being biased because he does seem like a great guy, a well-respected leader, etc., and that's something the Redskins really did need.

But no, I don't think you're nuts. Time may prove you right.

There seemed to be very few people in my neighborhood giving out Halloween candy last night. I doubt it's the economy -- most candy is pretty cheap. Do you think people took Cindy's suggestion to turn off the lights and eat it all themslves, after yesterday's pathetic performance?

I can't believe Cindy would suggest such a thing!

Well, maybe I can.

I've had some unease about this all year, but after yesterday it looks really bad: Where does Shanny want to go with this team next year and after that? Hard to see McNabb back here next year -- even if he turns it around and plays well this year, he'll just take a bigger check to play in Arizona. So that leaves Shanny with a crappy o-line, crappy weapons on offense, and a crappy backup as his top QB. Oh, and one less second round pick for the privilege. He came in saying he wanted to win and win now, but it looks like that attitude will only further extend their mediocrity. Wouldn't the Skins have been better served to blow it up and take another 4-12 year rather than mortgage the future for yet another 7-9 team? And best wishes to Donovan in the desert. Hope he can finally get some respect out there.

Indeed, this is what makes the last 1:50 of that game truly intriguing: There are now questions about organizational direction in 2011 and beyond that didn't exist 24 hours ago. Amazing.

Folks, I have to get out to Redskins Park to talk to some presumably unhappy campers. I'll let your fine hostess, Tracee, take it from here. Ask her about the convention at our hotel in Detroit over the weekend. Seriously.

Zornahan

HA!

Okay, Barry's gotta run to Redskins Park for open locker room, which should be a thin slice of heaven today. So we'll trudge on without him.

Arrowhead because of all the BBQ cookin'?

Inside or outside? Arrowhead would smell pretty darn good inside. Wonder how I can wangle a trip to see my Chiefs. Hmmmm.

In all fairness, while the offensive line did play atrociously, they were facing one of the better defensive lines in the league. Former Huskers Kyle Vanden Bosch and Ndamukong Suh are very, very good, and the rest of their defensive line are no slouches either. Though the Lions haven't been very good overall this year, in watching a few of their games, their problems on defense stem from their secondary, not their front seven. - Recent Husker Grad

Hey, we have an RHG! Awesome.

You are right, of course. The line was bad and they were playing a couple of very good players. Suh was a monster yesterday. Vanden Bosch as well. I like Vanden Bosch. I approached him to talk at practice and he immediately asked what was wrong with my arm. Told him, and his eyes got real wide. He said he'd had 11 surgeries and his shoulders were the worst. He's had both labrums done. He's a specimen. Nebraska produces a lot of stud NFL players, no doubt.

Suh was at Roast Saturday night, same restaurant Svrluga, Maese and Reid visited. I'll name-drop for them...

Tracee, Nice column this morning. I am a patient sort so I don't have as much trouble waiting as most sports fans, I suppose, especially since the teams I care about - the Redskins and the Nationals - are both moving in the right direction IMO. I have to say, however, that yesterday afternoon Shanahan made the first big decision I completely disagree with when he pulled McNabb. How in the world he thought Grossman gave the team the best chance to win I'll never know. I don't know Grossman's history of ball security but what we do know is that McNabb hangs on to the ball, and we all knew Detroit was going to send everything but the kitchen sink after the QB duirng the 2-minute offense. Long term, I hate the message it sends. What it says to me is that we'll be looking for another QB this offseason. Again. Who will more than likely have to learn a new offense. Again. I'm patient, but damn.

When the even the patient ones are frustrated, that's bad.

A very unexperienced Jim Zorn was selected at the last minute to be the head coach, wasn't allowed to put togther his own coaching staff, and had both Dan Snyder and Vinnie Cerato over his shoulder and involved in everything, and started 6 and 2, and went 8 and 8. A very experienced Mike Shanahan, with support by a very experienced Bruce Allen, with complete decision making and player personnel authority and a coaching staff of Shanahan's choosing, started 4 and 4 and have brought in a quarterback controversy (whether the quarterback deserves or not). What doesn't look right about this?

You're not wrong, but in fairness, remember, Shanahan has a lot of Cerrato's players, just like Zorn did. I hate to harp back to patience, but you can't dump an entire roster and rebuild in one year. I'm not ready to throw out the very tan baby with the bathwater yet, and 8-8 for Shanahan would be a good result.

Have the Redskins considered hiring an offensive consultant? A consultant can bring a wealth of knowledge to a fairly green offensive coordinator. I know that other teams have done this in the past and had some amazing success with the strategy. The best thing: the consultant need not be currently employed by another pro team or even be in the football industry in general!

Paging Sherm Lewis. Sherm, pick up the white courtesy phone!

Dude put up 12-27, 300 yards and two TD's yesterday and led his team to a big win. I think that Jason Campbell guy would be a great fit...

The one that got away always looks better ... good for Campbell.

There once was a boy named Suh

He dined on our Donovan (eew)

Ndamukong chased him

Rex Grossman replaced him

So now what are we gonna do?

According to Wikipedia, Suh won these collegiate awards as a senior: AP Player of the Year (first defensive player to ever win it), Outland Award, Bronco Nagurski, CBS Sportsline Defensive Player of the Year, Lombardi Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, and Bill Willis Trophy. He finished fourth in the Heisman.

Very nice. Yes, he's the real deal, no question.

This is an 8-8 team that is now 4-4. We're not the Cowboys. Heh heh heh.

Exactly. If they hadn't replaced McNabb yesterday, we'd be talking about the loss, but it wouldn't seem like the end of civilization.

I love our special teams unit this year. So that's one thing going well

Yes, that Liddle Kiddle Brandon Banks is just tons of fun. And Lorenzo Alexander making big plays. They finally gave Danny Smith some fast, hungry guys and he's made the most of them. Just gotta quit those blocking in the back penalties.

It used to be that the museums were pretty empty on Sunday afternoons. Bet they'll be a little more crowded this fall...

I don't know; they are still watchable because anything can happen. You wouldn't want to miss that Banks touchdown.

I seem to recall Reid benching McNabb for an entire half last year, with the ultimate result being that it fired him up in the next game, at least that was the narrative that was constructed around the event. Maybe Shanahan had that in mind. On the other hand, I guess he never saw footage of Rex's tenure in Chicago.

That might be a plausible thought if they had a game this weekend but before the bye week I'm not sure that would work.

Speaking of QB Controversies... Quinn Meachem, the next Todd Reesing? p.s. Is it wrong that I can't readily get behind the leadership of a guy named Quin???

I don't know ... Todd? Jordan? For that matter, Donovan? You don't get a lot of Butches and Broncos at QB anymore.

Just testing out this handle. I'm not sold on it. Nice column today. Shanny has two more Super Bowl rings than I do, so I know I'm on shaky ground here, but I have to wonder: if you think you need to make a QB change, why on earth would you do it with two minutes to go, in a game against a team with a bad record, before a bye week? That's not good for either QB, and it's certain to become THE story, so you have to answer (or, rather, dodge) questions about it for two weeks. (Which is also not good for either QB, come to think of it... or the rest of the team either.) Plus, it's bound to take pressure off Haynesworth. How happy is Albert today? Oh well. At least there's the pleasures of schadenCowboyfreude. 1-6 baby!

Good summation. The timing was just odd. And for a guy who doesn't like to be questioned by anyone, he opened himself up to two weeks of chatter and blather. Not that that should be a factor in his decisions but it is ironic. AH must be thrilled. And deservedly so; he's playing very well.

What has happened to the Terrapins? Are they really as good as their record? Will their inexperience bring them short of their goals? Can they beat Miami? And what has happened to Notre Dame?

Not sure about the Terps but they're going to give the new AD a tough decision on Friedgen. I think they can beat Miami, yes. Notre Dame -- well, they sure as heck should have kicked a field goal Saturday instead of going for the end zone.

So is McNabb an Arizona Cardinal next season? I can't imagine why he would want to sign an extension with the Redskins after the head coach told the press that he had no faith in his ability to run the two minute offense. And on a somewhat related note: I guess all of those Redskins fans who complained that the Lions were favored by 3 were right. The Lions apparently should have been favored by more.

I think Arizona is a good possibility, yes. Not sure this relationship recovers. And yes, the Lions were a good 1-5 team (just as the Bears were a bad 4-2 team).

And it's time to close up shop and head to the airport. Let's talk tomorrow, when we can sprinkle in some Caps, Wiz, Detroit dining and whatever else you want. Later!

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Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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