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Portis thinks Shanahan benching McNabb has Redskins scared

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Having previously played for Mike Shanahan in Denver, Clinton Portis may know the head coach better than anyone else on the team. And Portis says Shanahan’s decision to bench Donovan McNabb has cast a pall on the team.

“In the locker room, I think that [the McNabb benching] that would scare a lot of guys,” Portis said on 106.7 The Fan, via the Washington Post. “That Donovan McNabb, who is proven to do so much, and who has done so much in the NFL, gets benched. I think it becomes a thing in the locker room like, ‘Man, if they bench Donovan, anybody can be benched. Or am I next or what’s next?’ And I think guys start playing for safety.”

That’s probably music to Shanahan’s ears: He undoubtedly likes the idea of his players being scared that their jobs are on the line if they don’t perform up to his expectations.

But Portis doesn’t think it’s good for the team to have players scared.

“That’s really been a big part of the problem around here,” Portis said. “People start playing for safety. So it’s like, ‘I gotta play safe and sound, instead of going out on the limb and making plays.’ . . . If a guy scared in the locker room, he gonna always play scared.”

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30 Responses to “Portis thinks Shanahan benching McNabb has Redskins scared”
  1. baddegg says: Dec 22, 2010 9:00 AM

    I think that Portis’ interpretation — and anyone who agrees with him — is WAAAAY off base.

    Donovan McNabb did NOT get benched because he “tried to make a play and paid for it.” He got benched because of a season long lack of production — whether the play he was trying to execute was “safe” or “aggressive.”

    Other guys on the team have tried to make a play and not had it work out for them and they are not automatically benched. I remember Ryan Torain fumbling once when he wouldn’t go down for instance, and he wasn’t “punished for it.”

    In other words, just because Portis says it – and just because you write it — doesn’t make it so. There is no clear cut indication on the Skins that guys are getting benched for trying to play free and making mistakes. That’s not what happened with McNabb. You have to allow for nuanced communications or you will never be able to do anything as a coach.

    Extending Portis’ thinking to it’s logical conclusion, you would have to say, “if a guy has a track record, he is untouchable. Never bench him or everyone will be scared.” That honestly would be a pretty stupid way to run a team — making someone “untouchable” just based on past track record.

  2. kennyfukinpowers says: Dec 22, 2010 9:01 AM

    “If a guy scared in the locker room, he gonna always play scared”…..is English optional at the U of Miami?

  3. rickah8888 says: Dec 22, 2010 9:01 AM

    With such a crappy team, and poorly run organization that has been largely irrelevant over the last 2 decades…wouldn’t these players WANT to be benched??
    Just like the Dallas Cowboys, a total joke of a franchise!
    The Giants are total chokers, but at least they compete! These two franchises(Washington & Dallas) don’t really belong in today’s NFL.

  4. richm2256 says: Dec 22, 2010 9:04 AM

    When players don’t play as dedicated as they should because of “team” , self-pride, and goals, then I guess fear is all that is left.

    As exhibited by teams like the Patriots, those are much better motivating factors. Yeah players should play for fear of losing thier jobs, but when it gets that bad, you’re already too far gone.

    I’d say the Shanahan experiment in DC has been a total disaster.

  5. leucas66 says: Dec 22, 2010 9:27 AM

    Like in any organization, guys on the team respond to different approaches. Some guys may play the best when they’re scared, others need to feel like they’re on solid ground to reach full performance.

    Any coach that would apply a one-size-fits-all method is just wasting his resources. Even Lombardi had different approaches for different guys.

  6. tombradyswig says: Dec 22, 2010 9:29 AM

    Scared they might be bitten… by a RAT!!!!

  7. deanvernonwormer says: Dec 22, 2010 9:30 AM

    Shanahan’s one evil looking dude. Like Damian in Omen III.

  8. tjinphilly says: Dec 22, 2010 9:33 AM

    Why are we still talking about McNabb???

    I wish we could read about him winning a big game..nah..doubt thats gonna happen soon..

    Poor Fraud 5…he must cry himself to sleep every night..these big bullys keep making fun of him..

    Man up, Donnie

  9. TheDPR says: Dec 22, 2010 9:34 AM

    Portis is right. Shanahan is not a good head football coach and hasn’t a clue how to get the best from his players. His teams underacheived in Denver since Elway retired and the Redskins are no different. Shanny’s a dope.

  10. polegojim says: Dec 22, 2010 9:39 AM

    Thank you Clinton – you’ve proven to be a clear thinking, level headed, solid decision maker.

    Shanny should take full advantage of your wisdom, and avail himself of all the private consultation that you will afford him………….

    NOT

    That said – the term ‘Mastermind’ left Shanhan’s name right after Elway retired. In Washington, they should insert the term ‘Nevermind’.

  11. darind61 says: Dec 22, 2010 9:47 AM

    Shanahan is a nut case; he should be benched for destroying this season. He also destroyed any team chemistry that could have manifested. He is a prime example of why you don’t put mental midgets in charge of anything. His bazaar behavior started way back in camp when he attempted publicly embarrass Hanesworth. That soap opera continued to play well into week 14 of the season. He has FAILED to manage this team. I never expected him to have any leadership qualities. Just go back to days at Denver.

  12. electstat says: Dec 22, 2010 10:01 AM

    and if I failed to perform at my place of employment, I would have repurcusions as well. It’s called a job, regardless of how much you get paid or how important you think you are. The game will go on with or without you.

  13. tjinphilly says: Dec 22, 2010 10:08 AM

    Once again…McNabb is blameless in this whole mess. It amazes me how he, along with most others, NEVER HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE!!!!!

    He stunk it up this year…he knows it..we know it..and Shanahan knows it..take off the “I dont wanna be percieved as a racist” blinders..he’s a QB..a QB that is playing like crap..geez, people..

    He’s got more money, fame and memories than most of us will ever have. I have no pity for him.

    *poof*..just go away, 5

  14. horatio69 says: Dec 22, 2010 10:13 AM

    Portis just wants to go back to the good ol’ days when he could waltz into Snyder’s office and complain about how Coach Zorn was too rough on him. That was the problem with this dysfunctional team: the star players had more clout with the owner than the coach did.

    Perhaps “playing scared” is the only thing that will get these clowns motivated to actually win games instead of just collecting their oversized paychecks.

    Don’t like playing scared, Portis? Deal with it, like the rest of us who work in the real world and have to produce results every day.

  15. turgidsen says: Dec 22, 2010 10:18 AM

    baddegg says:
    Dec 22, 2010 9:00 AM
    I think that Portis’ interpretation — and anyone who agrees with him — is WAAAAY off base.

    Donovan McNabb did NOT get benched because he “tried to make a play and paid for it.” He got benched because of a season long lack of production — whether the play he was trying to execute was “safe” or “aggressive.”

    Other guys on the team have tried to make a play and not had it work out for them and they are not automatically benched. I remember Ryan Torain fumbling once when he wouldn’t go down for instance, and he wasn’t “punished for it.”

    In other words, just because Portis says it – and just because you write it — doesn’t make it so. There is no clear cut indication on the Skins that guys are getting benched for trying to play free and making mistakes. That’s not what happened with McNabb. You have to allow for nuanced communications or you will never be able to do anything as a coach.

    Extending Portis’ thinking to it’s logical conclusion, you would have to say, “if a guy has a track record, he is untouchable. Never bench him or everyone will be scared.” That honestly would be a pretty stupid way to run a team — making someone “untouchable” just based on past track record.

    _____________________________________

    I agree McNabb got benched because he for one is not a good passing QB and he’s not willing to change ,for instance, his footwork to become a better passer. He has a tendency to throw at wide open receivers feet. I think he is very classy as a person but from everything I have I seen he is not a very sound QB. His replacement ,now , with the eagles has actually learned to be a more complete QB his throwing ability and accuracy is much better now but he was/is willing to be coached .Big difference.

    I’m sure Boysfold (boysroll) will have some idiotic comment to state considering this is a Redskins story. Do yourself a favor and follow this advice: It is better to remain silent and have everyone think you a fool than to express your opinion and remove all doubt.

  16. molehillsmountains says: Dec 22, 2010 10:30 AM

    #
    TheDPR says: Dec 22, 2010 9:34 AM

    Portis is right. Shanahan is not a good head football coach and hasn’t a clue how to get the best from his players. His teams underacheived in Denver since Elway retired and the Redskins are no different. Shanny’s a dope.

    ————–

    Shanahan may not be a great coach, but look at how much effort Portis put in last year. He isn’t exactly a reliable person to ask about how to motivate players.

    But I agree the players shouldn’t play scared — they shouldn’t play at all because most of the team sucks. And if they can’t take the pressure of playing in the NFL when you only get 16 shots at doing your job correctly, then they should go flip burgers and stop stinking up joint.

  17. psousa1 says: Dec 22, 2010 10:37 AM

    Imagine how scared he would be if he had to take a test on grammar and syntax.

    Shannahan knew he wasn’t winning a SB so he has to go in there and see who is going to play for him and who is not. Only reason they go McNabb was because they had nobody else to play QB

  18. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 22, 2010 10:39 AM

    Shanahan need not worry about harming team chemistry………THEY WENT 4-12 LAST YEAR

    If it’s a sign he’s getting rid of older unproductive players that don’t get it done- Great. i think about the only people worth a damn on the entire offense are Chris Cooley and Fred Davis, and maybe Trent Williams will become good. I wouldn’t care if they dumped all the others……….

  19. lolatraidersfans says: Dec 22, 2010 10:49 AM

    portis has been a drama queen his entire career. His words hold little value.

  20. 706vet says: Dec 22, 2010 10:51 AM

    I guess Portis is “scared” about HIS job.

  21. bspurloc says: Dec 22, 2010 11:00 AM

    .
    scared that they realize the coach is a complete idiot.

  22. 706vet says: Dec 22, 2010 11:24 AM

    How dare Shanahan take control!!! As an Eagles fan I don’t want Shanny to take control! It might work. It’s really pretty basic, get draft picks (many of them). Shanahan might actually know this…….but he can’t execute it!

    So it’s like, “I gotta play safe and sound, instead of going out on the limb and making plays.”

    This IS the problem. Translation…I gotta listen to the coach! Blame, blame , blame……

    When the “leader” (McNabb) of the team backed Haynesworth it was a death sentence for McNabb and the team.

    This illustrates that the owner/coach must have an understanding of each other. L’ingMFAO.

  23. mannyicey says: Dec 22, 2010 12:33 PM

    If that was indeed the case, Shanahan is the dumbest coach in the NFL right now. But I doubt that is the case.

    Personally, I think that Shanahan wants Locker. But the game left Shanahan in the 90s. You must be able to coach grown men and grown men are difficult to scare.

    Look at McNabb- McNabb is a businessman. He’s talking that he wants to stay in Washington because he is making a business decision. He’s saying all the right things. He wants one more contract and retire. He wants to be like Warrick Dunn- well-respected and rich enough to join an ownership team.

    Shanahan can’t adequately coach businessmen. He’s coaching players like playing football is the end game. And it’s not.

  24. darind61 says: Dec 22, 2010 12:43 PM

    Okay all of you Shanahan lovers, let’s wait and see how next year ends up. In your eyes he is such a great AUTHORITATIVE leader, so now he is on the clock. I totally agree that Hanesworth had to go, but it should not have taken until week 14 to realize that genius! McNabb is at the end of his career…duhhhh didn’t the mental midget Shanahan know that? Instead he gives away a 1st round draft pick. So who is really the idiot here? Philly fans love Shanahan for intuitive thought…LMAO
    Oh but wait next year he can blame another player for the teams poor performance. Hey wait a minute, didn’t Portis score 5 TD’s in one game with Denver and Shanahan traded him to Skins. That is the exact leadership style every losing team needs. Daniel Synder please keep up the good work , the rest of the league is counting on your ignorance

  25. electstat says: Dec 22, 2010 2:29 PM

    darind61 says:
    Dec 22, 2010 12:43 PM
    Okay all of you Shanahan lovers, let’s wait and see how next year ends up. In your eyes he is such a great AUTHORITATIVE leader, so now he is on the clock.

    _________________________________

    Did Shanny say that he was going to win a SB next year, or even the playoffs? Which clock is he on? The one that says you build a winning team in 4-6 years?

  26. darind61 says: Dec 22, 2010 3:03 PM

    electstat,

    Talk about low expecations, so now you have a built in excuse for Shanahan’s inability to manage. Do you really think he should get six years to build a team? If you go by that logic why not give McNabb six years to win? Okay smart guy let me answer that one for you, neither should happen!

  27. lanflfan says: Dec 22, 2010 4:37 PM

    If Coach Shanahan were a player, say someone 2-3 years out of the draft, we would be talking about him being a bust. Other than two years with John Elway as his QB, what has he done? Denver churned out 1,000-yard RB’s, but didn’t win anything. “Over-rated” is putting it mildly at this point.

    Yes, McNabb had a very bad season, and it could be time for him to retire, or accept backup status. But I’d kick the tires on him in places that need a QB because I don’t think he ever got a fair shake (and decent weapons) this year.

    Junior Shanahan needs to be fired for the crap he has pulled this year. That kid is in way too deep as an NFL O.C., and his (and dad’s) pathetic excuses call for a demotion at a minimum.

  28. jwalkerinboots says: Dec 22, 2010 4:40 PM

    Not sure why my post got deleted, but my point is Portis actually said the opposite of what this line of comments and the article portrays. He was saying that over the last few years players were looking out for themselves and not playing scared enough. I think he is using the term scared for a synonym for motivated, but Portis’ point is actually that Shanahan is motivating players to play hard (i.e. scared). He didn’t say he doesn’t agree. He actually endorsed (if people would listen to the interview) Shanahan’s tactics that no one is safe if they don’t do their job.

  29. davem23 says: Dec 23, 2010 8:14 AM

    Look the benching is just another step toward stripping away the star system that has existed around this team for the last decade. You don’t see #59 sitting or being benched, why is that?

    Preparation, work ethic, and dedication; the Coach has said from day one how you perform during the week will determine your playing time. You earn your playing time no one is entitled regardless of contract, name recognition, or media hype.

    As a season ticketholder and a lifelong fan, I love it!

    It’s easy to see who is giving 100% on Sundays, so if these benched players want to talk about being disrespected, look in the stands and not in the mirror.

    Your either all in or your gone!

    My 2 cents.

  30. jaypace says: Dec 23, 2010 2:48 PM

    does anyone really believe that this redskins team as currently constructed had a chance of making the playoffs. McNabb’s early season performance or lack there of handled that. In any job you don’t perform you get benched or fired. why should players continue to under perform and still have the opportunity to play. be real take the names out of it. if his last name wasn’t McNabb he would have been benched weeks ago. Players should be scared they are members of a 5-9 team they should have to earn every second of playing time they get.

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