It came as no surprise to anyone who saw this past Sunday’s game between the Washington Redskins and, their divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles—Rex Grossman was done as the Redskins starting quarterback.
Although their coach, Mike Shanahan, maintained an imperceptible reticence during his post-game interview when pressed by reporters on Grossman’s future, the die had been cast. It was announced today, that the mercurial Grossman, who is as good as a second tier QB in his finest hour but as poor as a Pop Warner leaguer on his off days, would be replaced by John Beck.
Beck, as you may remember, was neck and neck in the running with Grossman for the starting job before the beginning of the season but his hopes were dashed after a mediocre showing in the preseason. Still, Redskins fans have championed him in the face of the alternative, Grossman, whose aforementioned 4 INT game against the Eagles sealed his fate with the fans, media and coaches alike.
It is imperative that Redskins fans temper their expectations of their new quarterback. For starters, Grossman, having only started 5 games previously, has the limited experience of either a rookie or second year player at the ripe age of 30.
Although his arm might be fresher than your average NFL quarterback his age, the physiology remains the same which calls into question his conditioning and ability to cope with the rigors of a starting position in the NFL.
Also, he wasn’t exactly putting up impressive numbers in the handful of games he started several years ago. Indeed, his team lost every game he started and he completed a meager 56% percent of his attempted throws with a similarly mediocre mean passer rating of 63. Still, Beck most recently did a satisfactory job when he replaced Grossman in the final quarter of the Eagles-Redskins game which gives the Redskins organization room to be guardedly optimistic.
So what does this move really mean for Washington’s immediate future? Surprisingly, not much—the Redskins offense was never dependent upon having a Brady or Rogers type quarterback.
If Washington is smart, they will rely very little on Beck’s passing game and stick with their tried-and-true success model which is contingent on the strength of their running game coupled with a hard-nosed defense. This is the strategy that got them to a winning record thus far; in their two losses they relied heavily on the errant arm of Grossman (whose mean passer rating in the losses was a little over 50).
So the fact that Beck hasn’t started in close to four years isn’t much to be leery of, as long as the Redskins stick to what they do best. At 3-2, the Redskins are in decent position in the NFC, despite the pitiable options they have in the QB slot.
The only thing the Redskins need from Beck is an immediate yet non-prioritized spark to a staid pass offense or at least not be an impediment via turnovers like his predecessor—moderate aspirations for a moderate talent.