Friday, December 17, 2010 2:30 PM
By Rich Tandler
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They say that if youre going to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.I would like to suggest a corollary saying: If youre going to go around breaking a bunch of eggs, youd better be cooking up something pretty good.In other words, Mike Shanahan had better be making one hell of an omelet.Nobody expected Shanahan to come in and just try to get along. We knew that it was going to be his way or the highway and that some players left over from the old regime, such as Albert Haynesworth, were going to lock horns with the coach and that they would lose.But Donovan McNabb, presumably, was Shanahans hand-picked guy, the quarterback to lead them to the playoffs, maybe deep into the playoffs. He went out and made the deal with the Eagles, apparently ignoring the warning lights that the Eagles willingness to deal McNabb within the division set off.And now, just over three months after taking his first snap for the Redskins, McNabb has been benched. And not just benched but benched in favor of Rex Grossman.Shanahan said that he could not guarantee that McNabb would be in Washington next year. This means that he is as good as gone.The move, naturally, has everyone scratching their heads and, in many cases, tearing out their hair. Perhaps if there seemed to be any chance that Grossman would be the starter next year, this would make some sense. But there isnt so it doesnt.Not everything that a coach does has to make sense from the outside. All coaches play games and keep secrets, although Shanahan takes such things to a whole new level.But heres the thing. If youre going to be crazy, you had better be crazy like a fox. Making moves that dont make sense now need to make sense in retrospect.This doesnt mean that Grossman needs to light up the Cowboys for 350 yards and four TDs. But the move needs to work out in the long term.At the end of the 2004 season, Joe Gibbs proclaimed that Patrick Ramsey would be the Redskins starting quarterback going forward, moving Mark Brunell to backup status. All through the offseason and training camp, Ramsey ran the first team.In the first half of the first game of the season, Ramsey got hit and had to take a seat on the bench. Brunell went in and, even though Ramsey was ready to return to the game, he played the rest of the game and the Redskins won.The next day, Gibbs announced that Ramsey would remain on the bench and that Brunell was the teams starter. A firestorm similar to the one caused by McNabbs benching ensued. Fans went beyond questioning Gibbs judgment, they wondered about his mental capacity.But the critics quieted as the Redskins went 10-6 and won a playoff game. Gibbs may have been crazy but the move to Brunell worked out in the end, at least for that season.Shanahan apparently has given up on a quarterback that he gave up second- and fourth-round draft picks to acquire. He may be able to get something in return for McNabb but it certainly will be an expensive one-year rental.In addition, Shanahan will be starting into the second year of his five-year contract with a new quarterback. It may be a rookie, it may be a free agent (Alex Smith, anyone?). Who knows, it may be Grossman.However it shakes out, it had better work out. If youre going to be the smartest guy in the room, executing your master plan while all of the others in the room are watching and wondering what in the world you are doing, what you do had better work.After the bizarre events of 2010, with the in-division trade followed by the benching on Halloween in Detroit followed by the contract extension followed by Shanahan refusing to confirm that McNabb would be in Washington for the long term followed by Fridays news, Shanahan needs to get this right.When Shanahan came in to coach the Redskins, he got some benefit of the doubt as a two-time Super Bowl winner. With this move, he has spent the goodwill that remained. Redskins fans clearly are running out of patience. Indeed, the well may already be dry.Fans will not worry about the process if it results in a winning team. All of this chaos needs to form into a cohesive, effective football team and it needs to happen soon.Otherwise, Mike Shanahan will have egg all over his face.You can reach Rich by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins.Join Rich Tandler for an in-game chat during the Redskins-Cowboys game on Sunday. Things will get underway on www.CSNwashington.com shortly before kickoff at 12:45 Eastern and continue all game long.