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McNabb's Injuries Contributed to Benching, Shanahan Says

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Quarterback Donovan McNabb has struggled with injuries the last few weeks, a contributing factor to why he was benched late in Sunday's 37-25 loss to Detroit.

In a press conference at Redskins Park on Monday, head coach Mike Shanahan said McNabb has been "hampered" with hamstring and quad injuries and a contusion.

McNabb had been listed as questionable for the Lions game as a result of the injuries.

Shanahan explained his decision to bench McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman at the outset of Monday's press conference.

"To start off, the last time we ran the 2-minute offense was against the St. Louis Rams [in Week 3]," Shanahan said. "We ran it for 10-11 plays and I thought Donovan did an excellent job. From that point on, we had not practiced the 2-minute attack.

"Donovan has been hampered with hamstring injuries, quad injuries, some contusions. Earlier last week, I sat down with Donovan and I talked to him about possibly sitting out [the Lions game] after talking to our trainers because of his hamstring.

"He could not get the work I would like him to get because he could not go full speed in a lot of our drills and a lot of our plays...I called him into my office and I said, 'The thing I want to make sure is that in the second half of the season you're ready to go. Are you sure you want to play in this game?'

"He said he felt like he wanted to play, that he would be fine, that he would not further injure the areas that were hurting.

"So when you deal with the 2-minute offense, and you don't have any time outs, and you haven't done it in five weeks, and you're calling two plays at the line of scrimmage, and you're calling plays that you haven't called in a 2-minute attack, and you're working cardiovascular endurance at the same time and you're working the clock, it's really hard to do that if you haven't practiced it and if you haven't really put yourself out with any strenuous activities.

"So I thought it would be in the best interest to go in a different direction. That's the reason why I did it."

Asked if he would play a healthy McNabb in a 2-minute situation in the future, Shanahan replied: "Yeah, without question."

Shanahan said he did not talk with McNabb about pulling him in the 2-minute offense prior to Sunday's game.

Asked about his communication with McNabb, Shanahan replied: "First of all, we're hoping we're not going to be in a 2-minute situation. If we're not, then you don't worry about it because he's saying, 'Hey, he's going to take me out in a 2-minute offense. Why is that?' If you don't have it, obviously you don't have to address it."

McNabb is currently the 25th-ranked passer in the NFL. He has completed 159-of-277 passes -- a 57.4 percent clip -- for 1,971 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. His passer rating is 76.0.

Shanahan said he believes McNabb's hamstring injuries have affected his play.

"I told him that," he said. "The reason why I called him in during the week, I said, 'Donovan, I've got to know for sure if you're hurting or not because I can see you're not setting your feet like you normally do, relative to throwing the ball.'

"I said, 'You're ball sometimes is going up, sometimes it's going down.' That's really one of the reasons why I brought him in. That and him talking to the trainers, [the injury] was much worse than it was the week before.

"But he guaranteed me that was not the reason and that he was going to play well, that he was ready to go physically and if for some reason he couldn't go, he'd let me know and be honest with me."

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