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At Quarterback, Shanahan Playing a Guessing Game


Who is the Redskins' starting quarterback?

The weekly depth chart released to the media reveals it's still Donovan McNabb.

But on Wednesday, head coach Mike Shanahan declined to say who he would start at quarterback this Sunday vs. Dallas.

Could be McNabb. Could be Rex Grossman. Maybe John Beck?

"I don't go through the starting lineups," Shanahan said.

Asked why he wouldn't name McNabb the starter as he has done previously, Shanahan replied: "I like people getting prepared for a lot of different people. Even though they say it's a meaningless game, it's not meaningless to us. It's a big game, and it's a lot of preparation, and you'll have to show up to see all the starters."

Uncertainty surrounding McNabb started last Sunday when it was reported that backup Rex Grossman could supplant McNabb as the Redskins' quarterback.

McNabb ended up playing the entire game against Tampa Bay and he engineered a last-minute scoring drive that would have tied the game had it not been for a botched extra point.

Then last Monday, Shanahan suggested that McNabb was not scrambling as much because he may not be 100 percent healthy.

For his part, McNabb said on Wednesday he fully expects to start vs. Dallas.

He said he would hope that coaches would have informed him by now if he weren't starting.

"That's professionalism and communication," McNabb said.

McNabb said he feels healthy. He was listed on the team's injury report with a hamstring injury but he practiced in full on Wednesday.

After practice, Shanahan was playful with reporters who peppered him with questions on McNabb.

Asked if it was fair to say he was non-committal on McNabb as the Redskins' starting quarterback on Sunday, Shanahan said: "I'm committed to not telling you who the starting quarterback is."

Isn't there a benefit to putting an end to speculation about his starting quarterback, though?

"Not if the [Cowboys] have to prepare for both quarterbacks," he replied.

Does all this uncertainty suggest a lack of confidence in McNabb?

"No, it doesn't," Shanahan replied. "It's people getting ready for a game. They've got to get ready for a couple of players -- two or three players. That's good for us."

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