Former Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb thinks that Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III will have trouble in Washington because of Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s egos.
Appearing Thursday morning on ESPN’s “First Take,” McNabb said he doubts that Coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have the humility to tailor their offense to Griffin’s strengths.
“Here’s a guy, who’s coming out, who’s very talented. Mobile, strong arm, regarded as being very intelligent, football mind. Are you going to cater the offense around his talent and what he’s able to do, or are you going to bring the Houston offense with Matt Schaub over to him, and just have him embedded in it?” Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Houston with Schaub as quarterback.
Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said that neither Mike Shanahan nor Kyle Shanahan would comment on McNabb's statements.
The Redskins are expected to select Griffin after trading up to the No. 2 pick in the draft. The highly athletic Griffin generally has been described as a good fit for Mike Shanahan’s offense, which requires a quarterback who can roll out often and make throws on the run.
The Redskins acquired McNabb in 2010 from the Philadelphia Eagles, but he was benched twice that season when the offense stalled. He was traded the following offseason to the Minnesota Vikings. McNabb lost his starting job in Minnesota in 2011, then asked for, and received, his release from the Vikings and remains a free agent.
After he was benched for the final four games of the season, McNabb, through his agent, Fletcher Smith, publicly criticized the Shanahans for not adjusting the system to play to McNabb’s strengths.
Both Shanahans have maintained, however, that they put in more screen passes for McNabb than they had in previous seasons of running the same offense, and that the quarterback simply didn’t execute well or demonstrate command of the offense.
Commentators Michael Smith and Skip Bayless both asked McNabb whether he was qualified to weigh in on how well the Shanahan-Griffin pairing would work after McNabb’s failed relationship with the coach. McNabb said: “I don’t have personal issues here.”
He added, “You’re only as good as the guys around you, and you have to be in a system that’s tailored to your abilities. … I was misused. Absolutely.”
McNabb then described what he considered Mike Shanahan’s shortcomings with quarterbacks John Beck, Rex Grossman, Jay Cutler, Jake Plummer and Brian Griese.
He said even if the Shanahans do tailor their offense to Griffin, the Redskins don’t have enough around the rookie to position him for success.
He also said that if Shanahan fails this season with Griffin, he believes the coach could get fired.
“What offense are you going to run with him? Is it the spread offense that you try to continue to flourish and that he’s been successful in?” McNabb asked. “Or are you just going to have him in a foxhole, with a make-shift offensive line? You’re bringing in receivers, and you have a solid tight end in Fred Davis that you need to feature. What are we going to see?
“I don’t think it’s a great fit. The D.C. fan base will support RGIII because they love the acquisition and they think he will be great for the area, the DMV, as they call it. But, if this doesn’t work this year, if we don’t see a Cam Newton splash, this could be it.”
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