Does anyone know what's going on in Washington?
We're not talking about Tuesday's elections. We're talking about the Washington Redskins, where the coach, the quarterback and the coach's son don't quite seem to be on the same page – at least not when it comes to the reasons Donovan McNabb was benched during last Sunday's 37-25 loss to the Detroit Lions.
The decision to bring in former Oakland Raiders bust JaMarcus Russell for a workout doesn't help matters. In fact, it confuses them – but that's the kind of season it's been for Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.
Where's the truth? You decide: Shanahan said after the game that he pulled McNabb because backup Rex Grossman had a better comprehension of the two-minute drill; offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the coach's son, said McNabb was told in advance that he might come out if the coaches felt he was struggling; McNabb said he knew nothing about that but indicated he was "at ease" with coming out and added, "I'm just ready to move on, focus on what I have to do after the bye week."
The Redskins will need a week to sort out this mess. Now throw into the mix reports that McNabb's practice habits are being questioned and you have one fine mess.
At least the Shanahans are steering clear of that one. "I think Donovan has perfect work habits," Kyle said. "He has done everything that I ever asked him to do. … It's hard to go full speed in practice when you've got two pulled hamstrings, and that's really what the case has been the last few weeks."
But McNabb and Kyle still seem to be at odds over the coordinator's statement that McNabb had been given notice he might be removed if he struggled. Cognizant of his hamstring problems, Kyle said the coaches told him, "Hey, we understand. We're going to let you go. If we do feel you're struggling in the game -- which we think it's possible because you can't practice full speed -- then we'll have to go in a different direction."
McNabb's response, delivered during his weekly appearance on ESPN 980 radio: "I didn't hear that part. ... We had a conversation of just the injuries that I have, being a little banged up. Maybe getting an opportunity to rest up for the long haul. But I didn't hear the word ‘benching' or anything to that effect."
And what about Russell? He was one of several players brought in for tryouts, so maybe there's no story. But it's worth watching.
"We'll evaluate him and everyone else out there," Kyle Shanahan said.