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Shanahan moves on from McNabb, stakes rep on other QBs

ASHBURN, Va. -- Mike Shanahan isn't shying away from it. He knows his stature as a coach is in play with his plan to go with John Beck and Rex Grossman as his quarterbacks in his second Washington Redskins season.

Shanahan addressed his quarterback situation and numerous other issues -- including the departures of Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth -- on Friday night in his first meeting with reporters since the end of the NFL lockout.

Near the top of the list: Votes of confidence in Beck and Grossman, who have combined for four NFL starts over the last three seasons. Beck hasn't played in a regular-season game since 2007, his rookie year with the Miami Dolphins.

"You talk about a guy not being experienced -- I believe in the guys," Shanahan said. "I believe in 'em. And I've been doing this for a long time. And I put my reputation on these guys that they can play."

Beck and undrafted rookie Ben Chappell were the only quarterbacks on the field Friday morning at the first practice of training camp. Grossman is a free agent, but the Redskins plan to re-sign him to compete for the starting job.

"John's done a good job on the first day of practice. I don't want to put him in the Pro Bowl yet, but he's close," said Shanahan, who then quickly added: "It's a joke."

As for McNabb, Shanahan gave some hints as to what went wrong after the Redskins traded two draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles for the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback a year ago.

"We were hoping he would fit into our system," Shanahan said. "I told Donovan when he came in here, I said: 'Hey, here are the reasons why I think Philly did not sign you' -- they were going to go with (Kevin) Kolb -- 'this is what you're going to have to do to stay on our football team for a number of years. If you do that, I think you've got a chance to go to the Pro Bowl and do the things you've been doing throughout your career.' It didn't work out."

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McNabb was benched twice during the 6-10 season and demoted to third string for the final three games. Shanahan said he gave McNabb's agent permission to negotiate with any team, and this week, they worked out a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.

"I think Donovan has a great future ahead of him -- if he decides to do the little things that he needs to do to get to the next level," said Shanahan, who then declined to elaborate on what those "little things" are.

As for Haynesworth, Shanahan had no plans to bring back the disgruntled two-time All-Pro defensive lineman, who was suspended for the final four games of last season. Haynesworth was shipped to the New England Patriots this week for little return -- a 2013 fifth-round draft pick.

"He wasn't going to come to our camp," Shanahan said. "Thankfully, we did get a trade. We were releasing him if we didn't trade him."

Shanahan discussed the players the Redskins added this week during an extraordinarily compressed period of free agency. It got so busy that the coach pulled a Joe Gibbs on Thursday and spent the night in his Redskins Park office.

The Redskins re-signed wide receiver Santana Moss and signed defensive tackle Barry Cofield, wide receiver Donte' Stallworth, cornerback Josh Wilson, quarterback Kellen Clemens, defensive end Stephen Bowen, guard Chris Chester and punter Sav Rocca. All agreed to terms earlier in the week, but they couldn't sign their contracts before Friday at 6 p.m. ET under the NFL's post-lockout rules.

Shanahan said the Redskins were proactive because they needed to improve in "a lot of different areas." The makeover also is part of the coach's effort to shape the feel of the team more to his liking.

"The one great thing going into your second year, you get to evaluate everybody," he said, "and put your football team together, the type of personalities that you think fit into your type of mindset."

One notable name absent from the list of incoming players is wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who decided not to join the Redskins after initially agreeing to a deal. Shanahan said he suggested that Stokley pursue other options after the Redskins acquired Jabar Gaffney in a trade with the Denver Broncos.

About 60 players, or roughly two-thirds of the number allowed under the new rules, were on the field for the first practice. The incoming veteran free agents won't be allowed to practice until Aug. 4 -- assuming a new collective bargaining agreement is ratified.

The Redskins did have all 12 draft picks signed and present, including first-round linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who agreed to terms late Thursday. However, Kerrigan hyperextended a knee during the morning practice. An MRI was negative, but Kerrigan has a bone bruise and is expected to be sidelined for a few days.

Beck, meanwhile, received all the first-team snaps, repetition after repetition, with Chappell mopping up the rest.

"Having this week where I do get the majority of the reps, I'm lovin' it," Beck said. "Because I want all those reps. Because reps for me equal experience, and experience helps me win."

Notes: DBs LaRon Landry and Kareem Moore and LB Robert Henson were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Landry has been nursing Achilles' tendon, shoulder and wrist injuries. He said the shoulder and wrist are OK, but he's playing it safe with the leg. "Just want to make sure it's strong enough to endure the whole season," he said. Moore and Henson are recovering from knee injuries. ... Players wore shorts for the morning practice, but that did little to counter the oppressive heat. Shanahan said five players needed IVs afterward. ... The Redskins also re-signed CB Byron Westbrook.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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