"Just when I thought you couldn't get any dumber, you go and do something like this...AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!"
What is it with coaches that were out of the game for a year or more and come back and make the most asinine decisions? Before I get into the Rex Grossman debacle, let's talk about the decision to go for the 2-point conversion not once, but twice. NEVER TAKE FREE POINTS OFF THE BOARD. It's as simple as that. With over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Shanahan decided it was smarter to have a potential 7 point lead than a guaranteed 6 point lead. Kicking the XP assures the Redskins that the Lions can't win with two field goals - a very feasible scenario given the amount of time left on the clock. Less than 3 minutes later, Brandon "Money in the" Banks takes the kickoff to the house and AGAIN the 2-point conversion failed. It's one thing if you're the Patriots and have a play that you know you can run with 99% efficiency. It's an entirely different thing when your starting TE (Cooley) is out of the game and you're running a play to Fred Davis with a QB who throws the ball extremely hard with consistently poor accuracy.
After those 2 missed conversions, the Redskins were up 25-20. When the Lions scored a TD next, they were up 26-25 and had the easy decision to go for two and succeeded to go up 3. If the Redskins had those 2 XPs, the Lions would have only kicked the XP to tie the game...a 3-point swing.
As for Grossman, I was literally in shock when I saw him warming up. Flashbacks of pre-season immediately came to mind. If you don't recall, in 3 pre-season games, Grossman had 5 fumbles (2 Lost) on 55 passing plays. Add on top of that an interception and 4 sacks. So, let me see if I understand this. A Quarterback that has a career of fumbling, has not played a single, regular season snap, and is coming in cold gives the Redskins a better chance to win the game than McNabb? DEAR GOD. Look, McNabb has not looked great this year, but he is tied for 2nd in the NFL in passing plays 40+ yards. The Redskins are better with him OUT of the game? Trevor Matich also highlighted that McNabb was in the trenches all game. He knows where the Offensive Line breakdowns have been coming from. Of course, the very first play Grossman gets blind-sided for a sack-fumble-TD. Could it have been ANY more humiliating watch Suh dance in the end zone as Santana Moss swatted at him like a pesky, little brother?
Peter King highlighted McNabb's earlier 2-minute struggles in his MMQB article this morning:
Shanahan is simply going by what he's seeing. I went back and looked at the first eight games of the Redskins' season. McNabb has had the ball four times inside the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter. Once, against Green Bay, he led Washington on a seven-play, 53-yard drive that ended in a game-tying field goal that forced overtime. On the other three drives, he threw one interception and couldn't get a first down on two others. Four two-minute drives at the end of games, three points. But that's not unlike McNabb's overall production. As of this morning, at the season's midpoint, he's the NFL's 25th-rated quarterback ... and he's also in the lower 20s in fourth-quarter passer rating. Don't show Washington owner Dan Snyder the quarterback rankings, by the way. McNabb's three spots behind Jason Campbell.
OK. Not fantastic, but how many NFL fans would have predicted disaster with Grossman trying to win the game on the last drive? I'd guesstimate 99%. Either way, the Shanahan experience is off to a false start. This patch work OL will no doubt need to be overhauled next year (again). Rabach and Hicks for sure need to go. Jammal Brown and Kory Lichtensteiger have been inconsistent week in and week out. It's inevitable that the Redskins will again try to solve these problems via free agency, right?
As moronic as Shanahan's decisions were this week, we can surely say "It was only 1 game - we can win the next few." That's dandy, but what I cannot excuse is Mike's personnel decisions. Torain, Banks, Keiland Williams...all of these guys were off the 53-man roster at one point this year. How can a coach not evaluate his own talent? The Redskins are EXTREMELY lucky no other team picked them up because if Banks or Torain were scoring TDs for another team, especially an NFC one, fireshanahan.com would be getting some decent web traffic right now.
I hit the panic button last year when the Redskins lost to the Lions. It's pretty fitting that my sentiments are similar this year. The loss last year was way worse than this one, but I'm beyond sick and tired of annually having the Redskins gift-wrapped as a Super Bowl contender. All I want is to not be the laughing stock of the NFL...guess I'll have to wait another
game, week, month, year.
As for the players, they naturally defended their position. "We still have a good football team," linebacker London Fletcher said. "We're not in a panic-type mode." Haha, right. I'm sure all the players are behind Shanahan's decision to bench McNabb after a hard-fought game they were still in. It's moves like these how coaches lose locker rooms.