McNabb Vs. the Shanahans in a Classic Conflict

Mike Florio at expresses an intriguing theory on what’s behind Donovan McNabb‘s problems with the Washington Redskins.  McNabb finds himself as the number three quarterback on the roster today.

The team has until the day after the regular season opener to make a decision on an option bonus on McNabb.  That would be too late for McNabb to find a good starting job if the team decided not to pick it up:

“As one league source explained it, McNabb realizes that the team has the power to trade him whenever the Redskins see fit.  And so the thinking is that he’s trying to force the issue by persuading the team either to trade him or to dump him sooner rather than later.

“The source suggested that McNabb is ‘pulling a Haynesworth,’ but that McNabb has been more subtle in his approach that the suspended defensive tackle.”

Its an interesting theory but I really don’t think this sounds like McNabb.  He’s not that subtle and I’d be willing to bet that the story is more about football and much more straight forward.

Rumor has it McNabb isn’t accepting coaching from offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan and head coach Mike Shanahan. That rings true.  Its easy to believe that, as a veteran, McNabb is used to a certain amount of latitude in how he handles his business, latitude which doesn’t fit with the very controlling Shanahan way of doing things.  Eagle’s head coach Andy Reid probably allowed this though I doubt he liked it much, which is possibly one reason why McNabb ended up in Washington in the first place.

So its really a power struggle.  McNabb is playing it NBA-style, saying, “I’m the talent.  I’ll do what I think is right or you can try to do it without me,” and the Shanahans are saying, “Coaching is more important.  We make good quarterbacks.”.  In other words, they want to prove that they can make a better quarterback out of today’s starter, Rex Grossman, a mediocre player who does what he’s told, than McNabb is now.

Talent Vs. coaching.  Its an age-old classic debate.  Of course, its also a waste of energy.  Both are necessary and the best can only be brought out of all parties involved are cooperating with each other while working together toward the same goal.  But that’s not likely to happen here where egos have gotten in the way of what’s best for the team.  In that respect I could care less about which individuals “win” this struggle.  Neither deserves it.  But on a broader scale, it should be of interest to see how it plays out.

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