It’s been almost four years since John Beck started a game as quarterback in the National Football League, but head coach Mike Shanahan doesn’t seem to mind.
The three interceptions to just one touchdown pass he’s tossed during his one-year career in the NFL doesn’t seem to be an issue, either.
Shanahan has anointed Beck as the favorite to start at quarterback, even though he has also stressed the concept of open competition and said he will not announce his decision until “right before” the team’s regular season opener.
Beck has shown signs of brilliance and he possesses a quality that Shanahan truly values—he’s coachable. Shanahan prefers quarterbacks he can shape and mold as he sees fit. Beck is also motivated and driven, always looking to take extra reps in practice to better himself. He’s a hard worker that is willing to go the extra mile and the Redskins coaching staff sees that translating into strong leadership qualities.
But can he win games in the competitive NFC East?
In 2007, as a member of the Miami Dolphins, Beck completed only 60 of 107 passes for 559 yards, his longest completion going for only 22 yards. Turnovers were a serious issue, as he tossed three interceptions and fumbled five times.
Shanahan’s run-heavy West Coast offense is predicated on winning the time of possession battle and controlling the tempo of the game. If Beck can’t hold on to the football without turning it over, that could be a serious issue.
While Beck may not have the strongest arm, he does possess traits that suggest he could be a good fit in Shanahan’s offense. He is athletic and can throw on the run. Also, his football IQ is high and he knows the game well. However, that doesn’t always translate onto the field, as Beck’s turnover issues have shown.
Beck looked sharp in his first preseason start against the Colts, completing 14 of 17 passes for 140 yards. He was an effective game manager who led the Redskins to victory. Then again, it is still the preseason, so the success must be taken with a grain of salt.
He's 30 years old, an age where most players have already entered the pinnacle of their career, yet he is still trying to develop into a consistent starting quarterback.