Now that Mike Shanahan has shut down Donovan McNabb for the rest of the season, his critics grow louder. Critics who say the coach has done nothing more than follow Hall of Famer John Elway to two championships.
While Shanahan's very brief tenure as head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders was unsuccessful, he had a nice stint as a quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos and helped Elway develop. He then won a Super Bowl as an offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers before returning to Denver as head coach.
Shanahan's first year in Washington is nothing to be proud or even optimistic about. While heading the oldest team in the league this year. He walked in knowing he had a long rebuilding project in front of him with a franchise that has had sparse success since winning four Super Bowls over ten years starting in 1982.
The Redskins 2010 started with him butting heads with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in where both men looked ridiculous many times. After suspending Haynesworth for the season, murmurs came from Redskins Park that Shanahan lost respect in the locker room. Benching McNabb just increased the rift and puts the rest of the front office in a bind.
While owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen remain quiet in their support of Shanahan, mostly due to the fact Snyder gave him $35 million over five years, there are problems that may plague Washington during his reign. Nepotism is the most prevalent issue.
Kyle Shanahan is not only the son of the head coach, but the inexperienced offensive coordinator's ego is as large as his dad's. The plays called by the younger Shanahan this year have come with mixed results, though he is quick to point the blame on his quarterback.
When playing the Indianapolis Colts this year, Washington was in the game because they ran the ball well against a team that has issues at defending the run. The younger Shanahan showed his inexperience by deciding to start passing, which led to defeat for the Redskins. Almost every pundit agrees Kyle Shanahan is overmatched and couldn't hold the position of offensive coordinator for any team other than the one his dad coaches.
While the Shanahan's egos have help ruin the team, the defense has had trouble adjusting to a 3-4 base defense with personnel best suited for a 4-3. This has led to a ton of yards allowed, thus forcing the Redskins in a position where they have match that offensive production. They have failed to do this for the most part, which allows the glare of the spotlight burn brighter on the play selection.
While McNabb has been mostly off target all year, he is easily their best option. Rex Grossman might be the worst backup quarterback in the NFC, and journeyman John Beck hasn't really seen the field since his rookie season in 2007.
Now with an irate locker room who has a good chance of turning a deaf ear to their head coach, the 2010 season cannot end soon enough for the Redskins. It doesn't hurt either Shanahan that there is an expected large roster turnover next season, as the team tries to get younger, but the coaching staff needs to soon show why they are initiating such abrasive methods to their players. It is hard to see a team be unhappy yet win.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Saint Louis Rams
The Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell picked a bad time to have an appendectomy. Another loss will hurt Kansas City immensely. This bit of bad luck couldn't have happened at a worse time, as San Diego breaths down their necks.
The Rams need to win here, and hope Seattle loses, to have a shot at taking over the NFC West. Though their defense has been the big story all season, they must generate offense against an average Chiefs defense.
Cassell seems likely to miss his second straight game, so the Chiefs will be stuck with the horrible Brodie Coyle at quarterback. That might all the Rams need to win.
Rams 20 Chiefs 17
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
When quarterback Vince Young had a meltdown a few weeks ago, he pretty much ended the Titans season. Now the only thing left to decide is if to bring him back or head coach Jeff Fisher. One has to go.
Houston is still hoping they can sneak into the playoffs, so the offense should be ready. Considering how Texans star receiver Andre Johnson and Titans star cornerback Cortland Finnegan fought a few weeks ago, tensions should be high.
Texans 31 Titans 20
New Orleans Saints @ Baltimore Ravens
The Saints have been on a roll, showing exactly why they are the defending champions the past few weeks. Baltimore has been inconsistent on both sides of the ball, mainly on offense.
Both teams are in second place in their divisions and need this to have a shot at a division title or home field advantage in the Wild Card round. Can the Ravens defense hold up to the Saints offensive onslaught, or will they tire out like last week? Will Baltimore play a whole game of offensive consistency finally?
This game is a toss up, because both could be Super Bowl bound. We will pick the cold weather as a deciding factor.
Ravens 24 Saints 21
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
It is amazing Peyton Manning keeps the Colts in the playoffs race despite no running game and a pretty mediocre defense. Jacksonville does one thing very well that the Colts cannot stop : run the ball. Maurice Jones-Drew might go for 200 here.
Jaguars 34 Colts 28
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
This rivalry has seen better days. Jason Garrett went from one of the worst offensive coordinators in football to a head coach of an improving team the past few weeks because he finally decided to run the ball more. Some theorize he purposely sabotaged former head coach Wade Phillips with bad play calling. knowing he was next in line.
Mike Shanahan went from a respected head coach to an egomaniac who has no respect in his locker room. Some are guessing he is doing this in order to get fired so he can take the Dallas job because the rebuilding the Redskins need has overwhelmed him.
The only thing for certain is that it doesn't matter to many who wins this. Even the fans may be ambivalent. Redskins fans only want to beat Dallas, but it is hard seeing this occur with Rex Grossman starting at quarterback for them.
Cowboys 34 Redskins 10
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers
Arizona blew out a terrible Denver team last week with a rookie quarterback making his first start. Defense was the main reason this occurred. They will try to duplicate this again against a Panthers team that might be even more terrible than the Broncos.
Cardinals 17 Panthers 13
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Game of the Week
This might decide who wins the NFC East in 2010, because both teams are tied with identical records right now. Both teams have explosive offenses and solid special teams, but the Giants are much stronger in a key area.
The Giants defense has been stout all year, but Philadelphia has a tiny defensive line that has trouble stopping the run. They also lost their starting middle linebacker for the year because of an injury.
New York had both of their primary running backs get over 100 yards on the ground last week, and it should be expected to see them try to ground and pound the Eagles on their home turf.
Philadelphia needs quarterback Michael Vick to be special if they want to win. Though the Giants secondary has played well this year, the Eagles have three receivers that are hard to stop. This is a game that has all the markings of being decided late in the fourth quarter.
Giants 30 Eagles 28
Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Detroit is a hard working team of youngsters on their way to being a very good team. Next season is looking up for them.
Tampa Bay is pretty much the same way, yet they discovered winning this year and are very much in the hunt for a playoff berth. They need to win this to keep the dream alive.
Buccaneers 28 Lions 24
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Eric Mangini has had a roller coaster 2010 season as Cleveland's head coach. Starting out as a perceived lame duck, he seemed to have procured another season a few weeks ago until the team began losing. Part of the reason was having to start Jake Delhomme at quarterback.
Cincinnati might want this game because Terrell Owens ran his yapper again. He blamed everyone but himself, as usual, for the Bengals 2010 woes. We will see if it fires his team up enough to play 60 minutes, something they rarely have done this season.
Bengals 27 Browns 21
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Miami still holds onto faint playoff hopes, so they face a Bills team most interested in the first pick of next years draft. Expect the Dolphins to wear Buffalo down.
Dolphins 23 Bills 20
Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks
Atlanta has been on fire, which doesn't bode well for a Seattle squad needing to win on out to stay in the hunt for the NFC West title. Seattle has been winning with mirrors, something the Falcons should shatter along with their playoff dreams.
Falcons 31 Seahawks 17
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
Denver might start rookie quarterback Tim Tebow because starter Kyle Orton is hurting. Oakland needs to win this bad to stay in the playoff hunt.
Raiders 20 Broncos 17
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Jets are in a losing rut now and facing Pittsburgh will add to hurt feelings of a team that spent most of the year bragging how good they were going to be. Reality now has them on the cusp of maybe losing a playoffs bid.
Steelers 26 Jets 20
Green Bay Packers @ New England Patriots
The Packers playoff hopes are fading fast. Quarterback Aaron Rogers is their primary offensive weapon since they have no running game. He won't play, so the red hot Patriots will dominate.
Patriots 23 Packers 9
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
The Bears timing here is perfect as they try to wrap up the NFC North crown. The Vikings are down to a third string quarterback with no experience to speak of. Chicago's defense should eat him alive.
Bears 27 Vikings 10