John Beck V. Rex Grossman: Which QB Gives 'Skins Best Chance to Win?
Were there a few times where fans cursed at the television over some Beck wrongdoings? Sure. But it was nowhere near as nerve-racking as Rex Grossman dropping back in the pocket.
The controversy in Washington is over. At least for now.
Beck's progression as the season moves forward will be a breath of fresh air for the team and for the Redskins fans. Even with the anticipated surface rust in his first start since 2007, Beck showed that he gives the 'Skins their best chance to win.
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After the loss of Kory Lichtensteiger and Trent Williams, the Redskins offensive line was in obvious despair against the Carolina Panthers. And with 'Steiger out for the season and Williams due to miss at least a month, I don't see the line getting much better.
New center Erik Cook gives up a lot to any kind of two-man blitz in the middle and fill-in left tackle Sean Locklear appeared to struggle with speed on the edge. Given that scenario, the Redskins quarterback is much better off being mobile.
Grossman gave the Redskins no mobility whatsoever. When Grossman dropped back, that was where he was throwing from. He was a sitting duck for opposing defenses.
With Beck at the helm, defenses are forced to respect his ability to scramble. I'm not saying that Beck has Vick-like vision or blazing speed, but he can at least get out of his own way.
Beyond the injuries along the offensive line that could very well force the Redskins quarterback to move, it's nice to have a passer who can tuck the ball and go.
Ability to Spread the Ball Around
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With Rex Grossman in the game, it seemed like he either threw to tight end Fred Davis or the guy defending Davis.
As great of a year as Davis is having, it's important not to ignore him just because he's receiving extra attention. However, Beck seems to do a better job of spreading the ball around to multiple receivers.
I'm not sure if it has to do with Beck getting more snaps with backups or Grossman just feeling more comfortable with only a couple of guys. But either way, I like Beck's distribution much better. Not to mention, an even distribution can lead to more fits for opposing defenses.
In Sunday's loss to Carolina, Beck got the ball to guys like Terrence Austin (his apparent favorite from preseason), Niles Paul (who hauled in his first two NFL receptions) and tight end Logan Paulsen (his first two catches of the season).
Beck also completed passes to Santana Moss, Fred Davis, Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Armstrong and Roy Helu.
In Grossman's best game this season against the Giants, he went to both starting tight ends (Davis and Cooley) and to the starters (Moss, Gaffney and Armstrong).
There were a few plays during the Carolina game where Beck seemed to ignore the check-down to the backfield and rather take a shot down field. Whether that's confidence or ignorance is yet to be seen, but I have to admit that I like the idea.
Flexibility Within the Play
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On situations that place the Redskins offense in second-and-short or third-and-short, the extent of Kyle Shanahan's playbook is endless. When Grossman is manning the offense, the playbook suddenly doesn't become all that endless.
In last week's game, as well as throughout the entire preseason, the effectiveness of Beck's bootleg was miles ahead of Grossman's.
On play-action and bootleg plays, Mike Shanahan loves to have a guy who can give the offense options if the play breaks down. I would assume Kyle doesn't mind having that flexibility either.
When Beck rolls out, he creates tons of space that helps in numerous ways. For one, it gives him time to look down field and go through his reads. Two, it spreads the defense thin enough to give him the option to tuck it and run. And finally, it can potentially keep the defensive coordinator at bay throughout the rest of the game.
All of the above-listed things being positive, it's obvious that Beck offers the flexibility that Grossman cannot. If Grossman rolls out and the play breaks down, there is no tuck-and-run, there is no buying of time and there's a strong likelihood that the play results in a turnover.
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Typically, I try to disregard players' post-game interviews as extensions of their leadership or moxie within the huddle. But with Rex Grossman, it never seemed to be an option.
Whether it be his attempted justification of four interceptions in one game or his stating that he knows he's a good quarterback, Grossman never fit the bill as being a real leader at the quarterback position.
Although we haven't heard a lot from other Redskins about John Beck's leadership in the huddle or how vocal he is at practice, I'm basing my decision off the way Beck carries himself off the field.
Even as a 30-year-old journeyman without game experience in the last three years, Beck demonstrated confidence in the offseason and always spoke as if he was the real starter in Washington.
With real game experience, I'm sure we'll hear some feedback from players about how Beck acts on the field and how he reacts under pressure.
It's very possible that Grossman was a tremendous leader on the field and us fans just really couldn't tell. And I'm sure Santana Moss would back that up. But judging from the couch, I like Beck's demeanor much more than Grossman's, and that's a characterisitic that could change the entire attitude of an offense and their ability to execute.