Mike Shanahan Thinks Donovan McNabb Is Out Of Shape And Gimpy

Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: Mike Shanahan tries to justify Rex Grossman.

Mike Shanahan joined ESPN 980 in DC to talk about whether the decision to bring Rex Grossman into the game was based upon Donovan's health or Rex having a better grasp of the 2-minute offense, how strenuous of a drill the 2-minute offense is run during practice that he can't run it without the fear of getting McNabb hurt, and whether he should take some of the blame for Donovan McNabb not being as familiar with the offense as he should be.

What he said during his weekly Monday press conference:
Well what I said is that I talked to Donovan earlier in the week on Tuesday. He had strained a hamstring, in the last game, and I had talked to him to make sure that he felt good enough to play in the next game against Detroit because I knew his right hamstring was bothering him the last few weeks, 3-4 weeks…but to pull a left hamstring Larry has felt that there was a question of whether he would be able to play so I called Donovan and I said, ‘If you can't go I would rather not have you this week and be ready for the rest of the season than go out there to take a chance to pull a hamstring, pull a quad or something along those lines. He felt good enough to go so we went with that.

Whether the decision to bring Rex Grossman into the game was based more on Donovan's health or Rex having a better grasp of the 2-minute offense:
First of all I made a decision before the game that we were going to go in that direction if the situation warranted, where we had to go the distance with no timeouts. One thing that you have to do in the 2-minute, you have to be able to move, you have to be able to run. Not only does your cardiovascular endurance have to be there but you have two plays that you have to call in the huddle, you have to move up to the line very quickly to execute the 2-minute offense and I really didn't feel Donovan, relative to not being able to get any cardiovascular endurance and run the 2-minute offense the last 4 or 5 weeks, that I would put him into a situation that would just injure him. Since Rex worked the 2-minute offense, which was a no-huddle and then he ran as a scout team against Indy for the whole week, he did an excellent job playing as Peyton Manning, he is very used to the terminology being with Kyle in Houston's system for over a year and so with that background I decided to not take a chance to re-injure Donovan and I thought Rex would give us an excellent chance to win in that scenario.

How strenuous of a drill the 2-minute offense is run during practice that he can't run it without the fear of getting McNabb hurt:
Not that much in practice as it is during the game but in the 2-minute, if you are actually running the 2-minute and you have no timeouts, like the scenario we were in and you have got to score a touchdown, it is not only calling the plays but it is hustling to the line, it's keeping your composure while you are trying to go over your reads and snap counts especially your silent snap count when you are on the road, but there are many things involved. You just don't run that especially on the road without being in good shape and not having run it in the last 5 weeks.

Whether he should take some of the blame for Donovan McNabb not being as familiar with the offense as he should be:
Yeah, you are very familiar, but like all quarterbacks in their first year there is a growing curve. It is like learning a new language. Sometimes you will revert back to what you have done in the past and it's not always automatic, but he has done a great job working at it. He gets better each week and hopefully he will show results in the second half of the season.

Whether Rex Grossman is better at the 2-minute offense than Donovan McNabb:
I am not sure if he is better at the 2-minute. What I said is that, Rex is in shape. He works out every day and he has been running every day, he has been healthy. He ran the 2-minute attack which Indy runs. They ran a no-huddle offense, he played as Peyton Manning the whole week before and he did a great job executing that 2-minute attack against our defense, and knowing the terminology inside and out being a part of the system for a couple of years, knowing Donovan's situation and I thought it gave us the best chance to win so that is why I went in that direction.

So McNabb will be our quarterback for the next couple of years?
I sure hope so. (Hope?) Yeah, we have a contract to work out. He's got a one-year contract and obviously Bruce is taking to his agent. Obviously there is a lot that goes into negotiations, but hopefully we can get something done.

This post, written by Tim Gunter, appears courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews. For the complete highlights of the interview, as well as audio, click here.

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