Shanahan isn't joking with McNabb benching

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan reacts on the sidelines in a game against the Buccaneers in...

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan reacts on the sidelines in a game against the Buccaneers in Landover, Maryland on December 12, 2010. (JONATHAN ERNST/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:55 PM ET

TORONTO - It's getting close to the end of the season and award time - but it already seems that the NFL's Clown of the Year award has been locked up.

Mike Shanahan, come on down.

Shanahan was hired by owner Daniel Snyder, a former Clown Award winner himself, to turn around the fortunes of the Washington Redskins, a franchise that in recent years is guilty of making all the wrong moves, of paying mega bucks to players of dubious worth, of dubious character or those simply over the hill.

On top of Albert Haynesworth, the Redskins and Shanahan now have the disaster that is the Donovan McNabb experiment.

Just how did they get to here from there?

The here is Shanahan's decision, now that another season is lost, to sit McNabb for the final three games and go with serial failure Rex Grossman as his starting QB.

Not only does McNabb have to swallow that embarrassment, but Shanahan has decided that McNabb will be his No. 3 QB with John Beck sliding up to the No. 2 spot.

"I want to see John Beck," Shanahan said Friday.

"John Beck has been exceptional in practice. I want to see him in No. 2 role."

The McNabb saga in Washington has now officially moved into the Mad Hatter category.

"Since we're mathematically eliminated, I've got to see what the other guys can do," Shanahan said. "I think Rex Grossman deserves a chance to show us what he can do. I've been impressed with him from day one (Grossman signed with the Redskins on March 14, less than three weeks before McNabb was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles). I've been really impressed with Rex and Beck. I think Rex gives us a great chance to win."

Back in March, the McNabb trade hit like an earthquake in both Washington and Philly.

Redskins fans were dancing in the streets and thinking playoffs and perhaps a Super Bowl appearance while Eagles fans were left wondering how Kevin Kolb would serve as McNabb's replacement.

To show how deep misfortune runs through the Redskins franchise, McNabb's presence did little if anything to change either the team's culture or its fortunes on the field.

With nothing but a 5-8 record to show for the season, the trade now looms as another major and expensive mistake that the franchise has to absorb.

It was just a month ago that the Redskins followed up the benching of McNabb in a game against Detroit (Oct. 31) with the stunning announcement that they had signed McNabb to a five-year, $78-million contract, albeit one with plenty of out clauses that now will only cost Washington $3.5 million.

From a storied career with the Eagles to the toast of the town in Washington to a bum on the streets - that's the McNabb story this season.

"I've had a chance to watch (McNabb) for 13 weeks. ... There's nothing he can do in the (remaining) three games that would influence me over what he has done in the last 13 games," Shanahan added.

"I also told (McNabb) I could not guarantee him he would be back next season. I'm not saying he's not going to be with us next year. ... I will evaluate that and be as honest as I possibly can with him as time goes on. I want to get a feel on how Rex can run our offence in the next few weeks. ... I've been impressed with Rex since Day 1. ... I believe in him wholeheartedly."

And you thought the year was ending poorly for Brett Favre.

The Redskins. Shanahan.

What a joke.

Colts get a boost

Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts received a boost this week — and they'll need one in their big showdown game against the Jacksonville Jaguars — with the news that wide receiver Austin Collie will likely be able to play.

Collie has missed the last three games and four of the past five with a concussion — and over that time both Manning and the Colts have struggled.

"He looks good, and looks like he's going to be able to play," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said.

The return of Collie will give Manning something that he has missed pretty much most of the season — three healthy first-string wide receivers, Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon being the others.

Before being injured, Collie was one of Manning's chief go-to receivers as he had 50 receptions for 562 yards and six touchdowns.

The Colts, who at 7-6 are a game back of the 8-5 Jags, need to win this one badly to retain their playoffhopes.

A loss would give the Jaguars the AFC South title and all but eliminate the Colts from the post-season. And don't forget that these Colts won the AFC title last season.

With no running game to speak of and a leaky defence, the Colts will live or die on Manning's arm.

Collie gives him another quality option and on Sunday, the Colts will need as many as they can get.


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