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Evaluation of McNabb Is Underway


The future of benched quarterback Donovan McNabb remains uncertain.

In his season-ending press conference on Monday, head coach Mike Shanahan said that he plans to evaluate McNabb and the Redskins' quarterback situation in the next two weeks.

Asked if McNabb could return to the Redskins for the 2011 season, Shanahan replied: "We're going to sit down here, look at film over the next couple of weeks, come up with a game plan, and once I know what direction we're going to go, I'll share it with you."

McNabb, for his part, has said he would welcome a return to Washington but added that he would want there to be changes in the offense and the communication structure between coach and player.

Acquired by the Redskins last April as part of a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, McNabb started the first 13 games this season.

In Week 8, he was benched by Shanahan in the final two minutes of a 37-25 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. In came backup Rex Grossman.

Two days before the Redskins' Week 15 game at Dallas, Shanahan benched McNabb again, this time for the final three games of the regular season. In came Grossman again.

A week later, McNabb had fallen to the No. 3 quarterback behind Grossman and John Beck.

In his first year in Washington, McNabb had an up-and-down season. He completed 275-of-475 passes – a 58.3 percentage – for 3,377 yards, 14 touchdowns and a career-high 15 interceptions. He was sacked 37 times, fourth-most in the league.

At the time of his benching, he was on pace to set a Redskins franchise record in passing yards, but the Redskins were just 5-8 in his 13 starts.

On Monday, Shanahan said he regretted how he handled benching McNabb in Detroit.

At the time, Shanahan initially suggested that McNabb wasn't as prepared in the 2-minute offense as Grossman. Later, Shanahan said that McNabb's "cardiovascular endurance" was lacking because he had been battling hamstring and groin injuries.

"I wish I would have handled the one in Detroit a little differently," Shanahan said. "I should have been a little more honest than I was. Sometimes you do things to protect players and at the same time you are actually hurting them. I wish I would have handled it differently."

Shanahan said that the adjustment to the Redskins' new offense in 2010 proved difficult for McNabb.

"There are so many factors involved," he said. "You learn a new system, you learn a new terminology, you have a different supporting cast. What we have to do is we have to decide what's best for the Washington Redskins for the next three, four, five years. What gives us the best chance to win? That's the thing we'll try to decide over the next couple weeks."

He has already indicated the team may consider pursuing a quarterback prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Meantime, Shanahan has not yet scheduled a time to meet with McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, who criticized the decision to bench his client in a strongly worded statement released on Dec. 23.

Said Shanahan: "I have not talked to Fletcher. When I will meet with him, I'm not really sure."

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