Is McNabb's intelligence being questioned?

First, Donovan McNabb gets pulled from a close game. Now comes the suggestion that he can't handle the playbook. Maybe it's time for McNabb to stand up for himself.

Maybe it's a good thing the Washington Redskins had a bye on Sunday. Given the schism that seems to be growing between quarterback Donovan McNabb and coach Mike Shanahan – and Shanahan's son, offensive coordinator Kyle -- a little time to step back and breathe might help.

At some point, though, it appears things are going to come to a head between the quarterback and his coaches.

The heart of the matter is an apparent disagreement about McNabb's ability to grasp the offense and fit into Shanahan's offensive system. Frankly, given McNabb's 11 seasons in the league, that's hard to believe.

Last Sunday, Shanahan pulled McNabb late in the fourth quarter of a 37-25 loss to the Detroit Lions, saying his decision to send in Rex Grossman was "the best chance to win in that scenario. Just knowing the terminology of what we've done, how we run it."

Now comes the suggestion, reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN, that McNabb is having trouble learning the playbook and often struggles to call the correct plays in the huddle. The playbook supposedly has been scaled back to make it easier for McNabb to absorb.

If the intent is to demoralize McNabb or question his intelligence, maybe it will work -- although we're not sure why either Shanahan or his son would want to do that. But if you heard analyst Terry Bradshaw on the "FOX NFL Sunday" show this morning, you know that McNabb has his supporters.

Bradshaw knows what it feels like to be called dumb. He endured it through most of his Hall of Fame career. But you don't win four Super Bowls at quarterback without knowing how to competently run an offense.

Here's a portion of what Bradshaw said during the broadcast, directing his remarks to McNabb:

"When they start questioning your intelligence, don't smile and say ‘It's OK, it's the coach's decision.' You fight for respect. I know about intelligence being questioned. At 62, I fight it almost every day of my life and I hate every second of it. Do not allow that to happen. You fight for it and you stand up to Mike Shanahan. You understand me? Don't let it happen. If you don't, then like most people in America, I'm just going to think maybe the coach is right."

The coach isn't right, of course. But McNabb, as Bradshaw suggests, may have to stand up and defend himself.

If Shanahan doesn't want McNabb, release him. We can think of a few teams that would be happy to sign him within 24 hours.

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