Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

McNabb says Robert Griffin III doesn’t fit with Shanahans’ offense

Mike Shanahan, Donovan McNabb

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, left, and quarterback Donovan McNabb stand on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)


Donovan McNabb was a failure playing for Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan in Washington, and McNabb thinks Robert Griffin III will be a failure in the Shanahans’ offense, too. But that won’t be Griffin’s fault.

Asked on ESPN First Take if Griffin is a good fit with the offense the Shanahans run in Washington, McNabb answered, “No.”

McNabb, who was benched in his only season playing for the Redskins, said that if the Redskins, as expected, take Griffin with the second overall pick in the NFL draft, the father-and-son Shanahan combination will try to force Griffin into their own offensive system, rather than modifying their offense to capitalize on Griffin’s strengths.

“A lot of times ego gets too involved when it comes to being in Washington,” McNabb said.

Where ego comes into play, McNabb said, is that the Shanahans think a quarterback has to fit himself into their offense -- the same offense that Kyle Shanahan ran when he was the Houston Texans’ offensive coordinator -- rather than tailoring their offense to accentuate the quarterback’s strengths.

“Here’s a guy coming out who’s very talented, mobile, strong arm, we’ve already heard he’s intelligent, football mind,” McNabb said of Griffin. “Are you going to cater the offense around his talent, and what he’s able to do, or are you going to bring the Houston offense with Matt Schaub over to him and have him kind of be embedded in that?”

McNabb then took a shot at both Mike Shanahan and the other quarterbacks who have played for them, saying that Shanahan hasn’t had success with a quarterback since John Elway in the 1990s.

“We talk so much about Mike Shanahan and the things he was able to do in Denver,” McNabb said. “Well, I have a couple of names for you that Mike Shanahan -- quarterbacks he’s coached -- and the lack of success that he’s had.”

At that point, McNabb ran down the last decade of quarterbacks Shanahan has coached (although McNabb curiously excluded himself from the list) and proceeded to suggest that the win-loss record proves Shanahan had failed with all of them.

“We had John Beck, who was 0-4,” McNabb said. “Rex Grossman: 6-11. Jay Cutler, who was his prize possession: 17-20. Jake Plummer, a guy who had success, led them to the AFC Championship against Pittsburgh, as we know, and then benched him the next year, because he wouldn’t do what he wanted him to do. Brian Griese, who was supposed to be the heir apparent to John Elway, hasn’t had a lot of success.”

McNabb then suggested that if Shanahan can’t make the offense work with Griffin, Shanahan could be fired at the end of the season.

“I don’t think it’s a good fit,” McNabb said. “If this doesn’t work this year, if we don’t see a splash like a Cam Newton splash, this could be it. . . . How long does he have with RG3? The seat is hot right now.”

McNabb compared his own talents to Griffin’s talents, and McNabb indicated that Shanahan doesn’t know how to use a quarterback with those talents.

“I was misused,” McNabb said. “Absolutely, I was misused.”

And McNabb thinks Griffin will be misused, too.