Yesterday afternoon, head coach Mike Shanahan issued a statement responding to an earlier statement from Donovan McNabb‘s agent Fletcher Smith. Despite the fact that Smith’s statement was lengthy and highly critical, Mike Shanahan’s response was terse and fairly general.
Speaking to Comcast SportsNet’s Kelli Johnson after practice today, though, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan rebutted a good deal of the Smith statement very specifically, and in no uncertain terms.
“When I heard that last night, it definitely was a little disturbing,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Anytime you work with someone every day like I do with Donovan — we’ve been together for about seven months at least, we’re around each other all the time — and never once have a confrontation; you eat together every day, nothing ever’s been bad … to hear stuff like I heard, that was a little surprising. So of course it bothered me.”
Upon hearing about the statement, Kyle Shanahan called McNabb to ensure that the two could sit down and discuss things in person. And what the player told his coordinator was just a little bit different from what the player’s agent said publicly.
“When I talked to Donovan,” Shanahan said, “and he says that he didn’t say any of that, I’m like, ‘Well, yeah, your agent did, which to me is you.’ And he said he didn’t agree with any of that; those words didn’t come out of his mouth; he didn’t tell his agent that stuff. So … all I can go off is what Donovan tells me. We’ve never had a confrontation all year. Never had an argument. Everything’s been good. So it is kinda … really a different situation to hear that stuff, but when I clear it up with him, I’ve gotta go with the reality of what the two guys it’s between talk about.”
Just for fun, here are a few excerpts from Smith’s statement, contrasted with Kyle Shanahan’s comments to CSN:
Fletcher Smith: “While Donovan’s feelings about Washington remain the same, the Shanahans – both Mike and more specifically Kyle – have made this an extremely difficult relationship to maintain. Their comments have been beyond disrespectful and unprecedented for a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback such as Donovan.”
Kyle Shanahan: “I asked [McNabb] if he did have any problems that he wanted to talk to me about; he said ‘No, not at all. We’ve always been good.’ So when I heard that from him, talking man-to-man, face-to-face, that’s what I’ve gotta go with. So it is a little weird to hear the other stuff.”
Fletcher Smith: “There have been many reports leaked of Donovan not being in shape and not being able to grasp Kyle’s offense.”
Kyle Shanahan: “There’s obviously some people getting leaks out; I think that happens everywhere. But to think that coaches would do that when it only hurts the coaches is … entertaining, like I said before. But all we can do is worry about ourself, worry about this team. We know that rumors happen, and hopefully guys don’t pay attention to ’em and to people who are gonna try to do that, break people apart. That’s why you gotta do things face-to-face, man-to-man, and clear things on out with each other if you’ve got a problem.”
Fletcher Smith: “The fact is Donovan came into camp in the best shape of his career having dropped 10 pounds in the offseason. Donovan spent most of his offseason in Washington working out with the Redskins and never missed a practice.”
Kyle Shanahan: “I think it was hard with him early on in the year. I don’t think he was ever able to practice full speed. He had some injury problems, and, I think, he missed most of preseason because he did get hurt, and then when he came back he either had a quad or a hamstring, so he hasn’t been able to practice at the speed that we like and we expect from a quarterback all year.”
Fletcher Smith: “I believe there is tension between Donovan and Kyle that’s rooted in the fact that Donovan has suggested modifications to Kyle’s offense based on intricacies Donovan has learned in his NFL career.”
Kyle Shanahan: “That quote was almost … it was entertaining. Asking Donovan about that, he nor I remember that conversation.”
Fletcher Smith: “For example, Donovan has asked all year that the team run more screen passes to help manage the pass rush more effectively. Ironically, Kyle decided to employ Donovan’s suggestions after he unceremoniously benched him on Sunday.”
Kyle Shanahan: “To hear that we had a different offense for Rex is a joke. We ran six screens versus Dallas; we’ve ran five or six screens in every game since our bye week, so I really have no idea what he’s talking about, and it’s completely inaccurate.”
Fletcher Smith: “After Donovan quickly led the Redskins down the field and scored what appeared to be the game saving drive against Tampa Bay, Kyle was quoted as saying ‘He’ll (McNabb) never take another snap for me again.’ Remember that statement came after Donovan led the Redskins on one of their best drives of the entire season.”
Kyle Shanahan: “Zero [truth to that]. I was with Donovan at the end of that Tampa Bay game. You can talk to Donovan about that. I mean, we were together the whole time. So I’d like to know where he got that quote.”
Tags: donovan mcnabb, fletcher smith, kelli johnson, kyle shanahan
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