Mike Shanahan deserves some of the blame for the Redskins' disappointing season. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan deserves much of the blame for the Redskins’ 5-8 season, and quarterback Donovan McNabb should not be made into a scapegoat.

The controversy surrounding Shanahan’s benching of McNabb Friday for Sunday’s game against Dallas is symbolic of the Redskins’ tumultuous season.

If the Redskins had avoided a few disastrous mistakes, McNabb could have led the Redskins to a respectable season this year.  In that scenario, McNabb could have continued to start next season while a rookie quarterback drafted in 2011 would have been groomed a year before starting.  Now the Redskins will play Rex Grossman or acquire a veteran next year to hold the fort down anyway before a draft pick starts.

The Redskins didn’t significantly upgrade their running backs, wide receivers, or offensive line during the offseason, and Shanahan, though he’s in his first season, has complete control.

Shanahan, a.k.a. Shenanigan, mishandled the Albert Haynesworth situation.

Also, Shenanigan inexplicably pulled McNabb for Grossman with less than two minutes to go and the Redskins trailing the Detroit Lions by six October 31.  Then he couldn’t get his story straight.  He said at various times that McNabb wasn’t in cardiovascular shape, had bad hamstrings, and didn’t know the two-minute offense well enough.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense didn’t mix well with McNabb’s talents, and Kyle Shanahan wasn’t flexible enough.

Sure, McNabb didn’t have a great year, with 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, and many misfires on short and intermediate passes.  But he’ll be fine next year playing for Minnesota or Arizona.  It’s a shame, because despite McNabb’s mediocre play, it could have worked out if the Redskins had made better coaching and personnel decisions.  The Redskins will draft a quarterback next year but they could have had McNabb starting for another season or two, flourishing under the right circumstances.

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