Vindication: McNabb Benched

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Before this season began, we at Bird’s Nest said that the 2010 Eagles season would be a referendum on whether or not the Eagles did the right thing by trading away Donovan McNabb. Judging by yesterday, it appears that not only did they do the right thing, but they got away with murder.

McNabb was benched by Mike Shanahan yesterday, at the end of the Skins loss to Detroit. But it wasn’t the benching that was so surprising, but rather the timing and reasons for it. McNabb was benched with less than two minutes remaining and the game still well within reach (The Skins were down six). So why did Shanny pull McNabb for the immortal Rex Grossman?

"At the end of the game with Donovan, with a minute left and Rex knowing how to run that two-minute offense, I felt with the time and no timeouts he gave us the best chance to win in that scenario," Shanahan said. "Just knowing the terminology of what we've done, how we've run it, it puts a lot of pressure on a quarterback that hasn't been used to that terminology…

"What you have to do sometimes is you understand everything is sped up," Shanahan said. "When you don't have timeouts, it's got to come automatic. You've got to call a couple plays at the line, a few plays at the line. When you go through this during the week [in practice], and you take a look at this type of atmosphere [in a game], I thought it was the best scenario to put him in there in that situation."

There is so much to that quote that damns McNabb that the mind reels. It’s not as if McNabb hasn’t been allowed to play in two-minute situations before during the course of this year. But clearly, Shanahan was so tired of seeing him fail that he felt compelled to give Grossman a shot (Grossman was awful in relief, by the way). It’s hard to imagine where Shanahan goes from here. Given his reasoning, you’d think the Skins would be perfectly fine with having a separate QB for the two-minute drill. How could such a platoon possibly fail? IT’S GENIUS.

If you’re an Eagles fan, you couldn’t possibly read those comments and not think instantly back to McNabb struggling to run the two-minute offense in the 2004 Super Bowl. There’s a sense now that Skins fans are getting a taste of just why McNabb infuriated fans in Philly for so long, and I find it hard to believe he’ll be a Redskin come 2011. The way he’s played of late, perhaps he won’t be employed at all.

In the Andy Reid Era, the Eagles have a long and impressive history of getting rid of players jussssst as their careers are beginning to go south. From Jeremiah Trotter to Brian Westbrook, the Eagles do a very good job of not overplaying old players, and figuring out when to replace them with younger talent. And now, after half a season and yesterday’s benching, it’s starting to look like McNabb is yet another good example. In fact, the Eagles now possess not one, but TWO QB’s who are better than McNabb. And they got a second round pick to boot! Suddenly, the Eagles have made out like bandits. So sit back and light up, Eagles fans. Your season is already something of a success.

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