Redskins-Cowboys postgame chat with Cindy Boren

Dec 19, 2010

Post blogger Cindy Boren will be online immediately following Washington's match-up with the Dallas Cowboys to talk about the game.

Good afternoon and welcome to the Rexskins chat. Lots to discuss today. How are you feeling about Rex Grossman and the decision to bench Donovan McNabb today?

Is Grossman really that much more accurate than McNabb?

Grossman and his offensive coordinator are, obviously, more in sync. In the same way that Todd Collins was with Al Saunders. Grossman and Kyle have a history together, they're on the same page. Grossman goes through the checkdowns far more quickly than McNabb, for instance. He's never been blessed with the kind of talent McNabb has, so he's had to rely on smarts alone. Grossman did well today, although it ended in very Grossmanlike fashion, didn't it?

It wasn't the QB who lost this game. It was the lousy defense. 30 points should be enough.

The defense played poorly. But Grossman was not strong in the first half and the INT at the end was deflating. So close to FG range...

Do you think Grossman's performance justifies the benching of McNabb?

No, I think McNabb's performance did. It was horribly horribly handled and McNabb deserved much better. Grossman isn't the future, either, but at this point it's a battle to see who is the short-term caretaker for the QB they'll no doubt draft. At this point, everyone had to know what Kyle and Rex could get done. It was a fact-finding mission.

All the talk has been that the Skins will just cut McNab after the season. Is there any opportunity to trade him rather than just set him loose? Or will no team (other than the Redskins, that is) give up picks for a player who will invetably get cut anyway?

The Redskins' problem with McNabb is the same as their problem with Haynesworth: they've utterly diminished both players' trade value. Admit it: you'd love to play poker with the Redskins.

Who on the Redskins had what you would call a good game?

Grossman, certainly. Armstrong was at around 100 yards, Moss was at something like 70. Torain had 53, I think. 

How much time do you think Snyder/Allen will give Shanahan to turn the team around?

At this point, I think it's more a matter of how long does Shanahan want to do this. When is the right moment, when is the team in position for a possible transition to Kyle. It's impossible to know at the moment what the owner made of the events of last week and how that was handled. 

At least the Cowboys didn't come from behind for that win! Somebody buy the new starting quarterback a Todd Collins during dinner after the game! He almost pulled off the start to running the table. Or something like that.

A Todd Collins! The start to running the table! It's a nice first step. Now, how do you feel about this long range? Will an offseason of work by Kyle/Grossman and Mr. Draft Pick leave you with a comfortable QB situation next September (barring a lockout)? How confident are you in Grossman over, possibly, an entire season? Rookies start, but it wouldn't be overnight.

I saw nothing during this game that would suggest McNabb could have helped us win that game. Grossman is no starter as evidenced by his career to date, but do you think this vindicates Shanahan's decision to bench McNabb to some degree?

Yes, to a degree. I'm not printing up Grossmania T-shirts, but there was a problem with McNabb, a disconnect with the coaches. It was evident. Grossman isn't the long-term answer; he's not going to be a multi-year starter. But he's going to be the bridge to the future. (I probably should copyright that.)


I think Mike Shannahan should do to Jim Haslett what he did to McNabb. Our defense has been terrible. Is it the scheme or is it Haslett??? Congrats on your Chiefs. They have performed a clinic on how to rebuild.

Defense is a big problem. I know it takes years to switch to the 3-4 and that it's the greatest defense ever created. Maybe it'll get better next year, but I'd be casting a real analytical eye on that decision in the offseason.

i actually thought it was a tail of 2 halves and i can see what the coaches are trying to do. im hearing it might actually be shannahan on the hot seat maybe, is there any truth to that.

I wasn't surprised that they started slowly, given that they didn't have a real practice all week and were dealing with a new QB. I heard that report and we'll check it out, but I tend to doubt it.

I thought the Shanahan's took a big gamble by putting their reputations on Sexy Rexie's shoulders. It looks like their gamble paid off, this offense has not played this well sine the Houston game - even with the rusty start and turnovers. McNabb is obviously gone, Is Rex the caretaker for next year?

Glad you asked that question. Presumably he is, unless John Beck comes in and makes everybody forget Tom Brady.

(Forgot to thank the earlier chatter for congrats on my Cheeves. How many decades did it take for them to get good again??? Sheesh. Anyway, thanks for joining me on their modest little bandwagon.)

With Carolina possibly interested in Andrew Luck in the draft, do you think it would be smart for the Redskins to go after somebody like Jimmy Clausen to add to the QB mix? Or perhaps someone like Brady Quinn, who seems to be languishing as a third-stringer out in Denver?

Depends on where they pick and who's available, but I'd go with a draft pick. They can do better than Brady Quinn and I was Clausened out with the drama over him before the draft.

Grossman had his share of boneheaded turnovers, yes, but he also seemed to create some sort of rhythm and flow for an offense that looked moribund. Hopefully, this isn't just a result of the Cowboys bad D. Also, if not for that pass Moss dropped, we might be celebrating a victory right about now. (Although that was just one of many decisive plays) I wasn't with the Shanahans initially on the move... but maybe McNabb really was holding the offense back. What sayeth you?

There was indeed more of a rhythm, the team generated some momentum and heat. You could see from watching the sideline conversation that their was more interaction between Grossman and Kyle. You could argue that the Redskins should have won the game.

I always shudder when someone mentions the possibility of Kyle taking over for his father someday. I've never been able to picture him as a good coach. He has occasional good moments but he also has many bad ones. More importantly, he seems to be the kind of coach who tries to force players to fit into his system instead of adjusting his system to match the strengths of the players he has, and that seldom works well.

Let's remember that he is still awfully young. While I think your analysis is solid, it's just too soon to tell with him. 

You know Cindy when I hear players like Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman or Daryl Johnston commentate you never here them say overly negative things about the Cowboys, but ex-Redskins Brian Mitchell takes every chance to paint the Skins out as complete bums and coaches as completely incompetent. He said Grossman would do horrible, I thought he did well and he played a better game than Donovan could have, not Donavan's fault it's just Rex knows the offense better. I think what Shanny did was smart because now he knows Rex can manage while they bring up a rookie. Do you think we'll get a mea culpa from B-Mitch?

I can't speak for BMitch but I'll be interested to hear what he has to say.

What special deal should Papa Johns offer for Rex Grossman tossing more than 300 yards?

Crust stuffed with $5 bills?

I just laugh that out of the 7 coaches Dan Snyder has had, there remains only one with a winning record: Norv Turner.

Not only that but he's pioneered the half-season. Because the AFC West is, um, weak (except for the Cheeves, of course), the Chargers really only need to play about eight weeks. Sure, they don't go far in the playoffs, but San Diego is a lovely place to live. 

I believe with the exception of the first pre-season game, the skins have not scored 30 points this year. If the coaches feel McNabb is not getting it done, don't you think it best to see what they have for options? It may very well be time to cut your loses and move on? How could McNabb's benching been better handled? Tough situation no matter how you look at it

I'm no PR expert, nor am I a Dr. Phil ("Oh, quit your whining!" is considered poor advice), but perhaps if it had been handled a little more nonchalantly: "Yeah, we're going to start Rex and John and use Donovan as No. 2 over the last few weeks. Keeps Donovan healthy and lets us know what else we've got." There's no reason to tip your hand. Instead, it was scorched earth "can't guarantee he'll be here next year." Why do you need to go there now? That's what people mean when they say he deserved better. Then, in January, you can always part ways with him.

I would stick with Grossman, find another cheap veteran, and get linemen with the draft choices. Put off the QB draft til 2012

Not to argue against beefing up the OL, but I do not think you'd be happy with a full season of Rex Grossman.

Can the Redskins package McNabb and Haynesworth together and get at least a 3rd rounder back?

I see the holidays have you in a charitable mood...I don't see other teams being similarly inclined. 

I would like to talk some more about the defense. To me it has been the biggest disappointment of the season. Do you agree, and what do you think they have to do to turn it around?

At this point, they're committed to the 3-4. You have to think that more time spent working on it, with the addition of young players at key spots will help it improve. Can't get worse.

CB, you mentioned earlier the DM situation was handled poorly. How could they have done it any better in your opinion? Clearly he had to be benched and with DM always playing the "high road" what could the shanny's done differently?

See my earlier answer. Why go to armageddon on Friday and then subject McNabb to in-game humiliation (coin toss, standing behind the coach listening to strategizing). No one likes to see these moments with players they admire. He deserved a little padding on the fall. 

Maybe they could include some turnovers (preferably apple) with a large pizza?

Ha, ha. That's like 10,000 calories. Gross, man.

The only mistake the skins made with mcnabb was trading for him. Seems pretty obvious at this point.

Well, falling for him, trading for him, then falling out of love and dumping him so unceremoniously. It's like a Donald Trump marriage. I think I've said this before: when the trade went down Reader David and I were discussing it and both of us (like many people) thought he was an upgrade over Campbell but wondered what Andy Reid knew that the Redskins didn't.

All of a sudden it looks like Armstrong is for real, Torain is borderline stud back (if healthy), and the problem wasn't necessarily Kyle........hmmmmm all this accomplished by Rex Grossman. Maybe the Shannies actually knew what they were doing in sitting a QB who was playing horribly regardless of the reputation he earned elsewhere.....what didn't change was our defense is really bad Kareem Moore is the worst tackler I've ever seen.

They do appear to have solid players in Armstrong and Torain. Again, I'm fine with seeing what else you've got. I just don't think the firing squad should have been armed with BB guns. I'm surprised at the defense....there are some real questions to be addressed there this offseason. 

Loved your tweets today! Casual follower that laughed loud and often today! Thanks! Oh...and that loss was not on Grossman..I believe that the 2nd to last drive upended the Skins momentum. Your thoughts?

Thanks! The Twitter crowd is great to hang with as you watch a game. A bunch of us are planning a tweet up soon; hope you can join us. I'm going to put 70 percent of the loss on Grossman because the ball was in his hands and then it was in the hands of a guy in blue. Their momentum was waning before that, sure.


Cindy, Thanks for the chat. I understand that everyone wants to see McNabb treated with respect and I agree. However, this is big boy football and even the talking head on Fox alluded to the fact that McNabb might be done. Grossman came into a start, basically cold, and played as well, or better in some instances, as McNabb did all year. Sorry, but there is no way the Skins version of McNabb brings them back from 20 down. Rex had something today that DMac has lacked this year. Your thoughts...

Thanks. I like hanging out here. What Grossman has is real synergy with his offensive coordinator. I don't think McNabb is done; I think his best days may be behind him but he could start in a couple other cities. Stop and think how many QBs start over the course of the season. He's got another few years.


I see them needing to trade their 1st round pick for a 2nd and a 3rd round pick. Pick up a solid defender for the 3-4 and an O-lineman in the second and maybe a dark horse QB in the third. Maybe one more young lineman on the offense or defense in Free agency (who is under 28 years old). Is this wishful thinking for the holidays?

You've been tapping the egg nog, haven't you? Honestly, I've had that conversation on Twitter and with other bloggers. If it's possible to get a QB you really like in the second round, maybe third (second is more likely), then I'd trade the pick in a heartbeat. I'd need to get a boatload of picks in return and I'd need to be sure that I drafted as smartly as the Patriots did last April.

Ha, ha. That's like 10,000 calories. Gross, man. You should be shot, Cindy.

I apologize, but I think you are overreacting. I have refrained from all plays on Rex. Please note that.

Ms. Boren, I have watched QB's play for the Skins since 1967. Rex Grossman is NOT the worst one I have seen. Quit harping on the "you do not want a year of Rex Grossman" crap. This was a most entertaining game and I think you have taken too many sips from the WaPo water cooler which spouts the same drivel. Say it with me.....WOW REx and the O were pretty good on a short week and maybe there IS| something about the Kyle/Rex bromance. C'mon. be original. Right now you are boring me. pun intended.

Did you watch him when the Bears went to the Super Bowl? 

How bout putting in Beck next week? You know what you have with Rex. He's gonna make some good plays and some awful ones. Why not try out the kid in a real game situation to see if he has anything there?

Not sure I'd give him a start against two stout defenses, but I'd sure get him some minutes.

Was it the defense or the turnovers that undid the Skins today? It's always something - they find a new way to lose every week!

I'm going to say it was a combination of turnovers and injuries on the defense. Orakpo has a groin-hamstring injury, Daniels came out...there isn't a great deal of depth, especially at this time of year. Oh, and Reed Doughty has a concussion. 

Everyone says that he never won anything without Elway but wasn't he the coach who made Jake plummer and Cutler into playoff/pro Qb's. why doesn't he get more credit for that?

Oh, I don't think anyone is forgetting that. Nor is any one minimizing Kyle's role with the Texans. Let's see how he does with a young QB next spring and fall. 

On that note, I have to wind this up. Thanks, as always, for joining me. I'll be doing the First Things First chat (THam is in Kansas) tomorrow, so join me at 9:30 for that. Dan Steinberg and I will do the DC Sports-o-Meter at noon, so tweet me (@CindyBoren) and him (@dcsportsbog) your nominations for the three best and worst performances of the week. See you on The Early Lead the rest of the time. Have a great night.

In This Chat
Cindy Boren
Cindy Boren blogs for The Early Lead and has edited Redskins and NFL coverage for the Post. Follow her at @cindyboren on Twitter.
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