With about two minutes to go in a tight game, the Shanahans bench starting quarterback Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman. Fumble. Return for touchdown by Detroit (Ndamukong Suh). A game still within reach at 31-25 is blown away.
So the question for coach Shanahan is why? Why replace quarterback Donovan McNabb so late in the game?
I'm not arguing that McNabb should not have been replaced, but why so late in the game? Shouldn't that move have been made at the half, or third quarter at the latest?
We are all learning how the coach thinks, so this explanation will be revealing. I like almost all of Shanahan's decisions since his arrival. I will likely buy into this one when I've heard it. But the timing of it is a head-scratcher.
For distraught Redskins fans, let's just say the 'Skins are where they should be for a team expected to finish with seven or eight games. Detroit is not the patsy they used to be. Martin Mayhew is a year ahead of Bruce Allen in rebuilding his team with young talent. The result is that the Redskins and the Lions are so evenly matched that this game could not be predicted.
The game's outcome tells us nothing about the state of the Redskins beyond the impact on the record. Six sacks on our quarterback tells us a lot more, but nothing we didn't know about before the season.
Going into the bye, Washington has issues to address with the offensive line, just as they did last year. The front office has to fix the issues with the players already here.
Maybe now the whispers about Grossman in front of McNabb will stop. But I'm going to sneak a peak at college quarterbacks entering the next NFL draft (whenever that will be). It seems certain Bruce Allen will be looking.
McNabb still throws a nice deep ball and that's something to work with.
UPDATE: Shanahan says that Grossman was more familiar with the two-minute offense than McNabb; thus, Grossman gave the Redskins the best chance to win. Shanahan clarified that he was referring to the formation and terminology and that Grossman handled that better. He said nothing about handling the ball.
In business, you are responsible for the decision and accountable for the results. Both are open to second-guessing.