Mike Shanahan has offered various explanations for benching Donovan McNabb in the fourth quarter of the Lions game.
1. Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins head coach: If you're going to knee-cap your starting quarterback with the game hanging in the balance, at least come up with a plausible explanation. Once Shanahan realized that suggesting Rex Grossman knew the two-minute offense better was demeaning to Donovan McNabb, he tried to switch to a "cardiovascular endurance" argument Monday. He's really made a mess of this thing, so for one week, he surpasses Wade Phillips on this list.
2. Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys head coach: It's almost like owner Jerry Jones is punishing Phillips by continuing to send him out to news conferences to represent the team. Jones should've fired Phillips several weeks ago, but now he's being stubborn about the decision. Phillips will eventually have to pay the price, but it was his players who quit on him once this season got out of control.
3. Alan Ball, Dallas Cowboys safety: You hate to single anyone out since so many Cowboys players have been awful, but Ball's been especially bad this season. It's time for Phillips or whoever is in charge (Jerry?) to bench this man. He has no business starting against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
1. Jon Runyan, former Philadelphia Eagles right tackle: We try to avoid politics on this blog at all times, but let's congratulate the former Eagles great who defeated an incumbent in New Jersey to become U.S. Congressman Jon Runyan. He's been a devoted reader of this blog and we exchanged text messages this very morning. Since the Redskins and Cowboys were so awful Sunday, it seems only appropriate to lead off our "Rising" list with Runyan.
2. Brandon Banks, Washington Redskins return specialist: The rookie out of Kansas State kept the Skins in the game against the Lions with some remarkable kickoff and punt returns. His 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown gave the Redskins the lead in the fourth quarter. He single-handedly put the Skins in position to score 17 points Sunday. Give this man a few plays in the offense.
3. The Giants and Eagles: They sat home and watched the Cowboys and Redskins lose. Both teams are set up to make a nice run in the second half of the season. The Giants need to remember how badly they faded in the second half of last season. The Eagles have always been better in the second half of the season under Andy Reid, so they should have plenty of confidence.