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Portis thinks Shanahan benching McNabb has Redskins scared

Pittsburgh Steelers v Washington Redskins

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 22: Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins watches the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Fed Ex Field on August 22, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Clinton Portis

Greg Fiume

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.”