The Washington Redskins have added 23 new players to their final 53-man roster this season. That's a 43 percent turnover, or more bluntly, a whole new team!
But let's not call this a rebuilding year.
Conventional wisdom would argue otherwise, pointing out that when you drastically change almost half of anything, it should be considered rebuilt. So why isn't this a rebuilding year for the Redskins you ask?
Call it a renovation.
A typical rebuilding year involves a latent sense of despair. Team front offices and coaches come upon an agreement to sacrifice at least one season for the greater good of the team. After all, this is a sport predicated on players being in sync and working together as one unstoppable unit.
Expectations are low and fans have an understanding. It's like a free pass to fail as long as you're moving in the right direction. No sane man would actually believe a newly recruited cast of rookies and free agents would quickly gel and becoming championship material in it's first year. This ain't the Miracle on Ice.
But alas, this seems to be the path that the Redskins are following.
By announcing Rex Grossman as the starting quarterback, Mike Shannahan has subtlety shown that he wants to win now. Sure, there are other roster moves that might hint to such notions (such as keeping one-year stopgap Dante Stallworth), but none more pivotal than choosing the well-tested and provenly mediocre Rex Grossman.
He's the safest of the quarterbacks because we know what we'll get with him. Rex will come into the huddle with that frat boy smile of his and work his best Brett Favre impression—just without the magic. As his career has shown us, he'll complete about half of his passes and turn the ball over for each time he throws a touchdown.
If you enjoy players with no upside, this is it.
If the Redskins were truly rebuilding, John Beck would be the starter. In the past three preseason games, he's proven to be just as effective as Rex Grossman, but without the benefit of having two full years in Kyle Shanahan's system.
Physically, one could argue that he's an even better fit for the job, as he's mobile for roll-outs and can sling it deep, traits common among the quarterbacks Mike Shannahan has worked with such as Steve Young, John Elway, Jake Plummer, and even Jay Cutler.
However, this could be a sign that it's Kyle's offense, as his success relied on a more traditional pocket passer in Matt Schaub.
Whatever the case, John Beck has upsides in spades, and will only get better if he's given the reps. By announcing Grossman as the starter, the Redskins have shown that they would rather start a career backup than waste time on letting a quarterback with potential develop. You know, things you can do in a rebuilding year.
But don't call it that. The Shanahans want to win now.
It's just a renovation.