Washington Redskins: Quarterback Carousel Starts at the Top
As the clock hit zero and the final score 20-9 flashed across the screen, I couldn't help but feel confused and disappointed. This season has been the tale of two quarterbacks that no one else wanted but were the subject of great debate this offseason.
Redskins fans were just happy to move past a season where conflicts between Mike Shanahan, Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth made headlines week in and week out. With the lockout coming and going without canceling any parts of the season, the Redskins—and Grossman specifically—boasted of winning the NFC East, with several new young players hungry to contribute.
By opening the season 3-1 against weak and injured competition, Grossman and the Skins were riding high atop the NFC East. The defense carried the team with Grossman doing just enough, throwing six touchdowns and five interceptions in the process. After horrible outings from Grossman against St. Louis and Philadelphia after the bye week, Shanahan turned over the reins to John Beck, who had never won a start in his entire NFL career.
Beck's inexperience was apparent, as he lost three consecutive games while never being able to establish the passing game down field. Against Buffalo, Shanahan suffered his first shutout of his 24-year career as a coach or coordinator in the NFL.
With the loss of several key players on the offensive line as well as the likes of Santana Moss, Tim Hightower and Chris Cooley, the team has spiraled back down to their usual dwellings at the bottom of the division.
Grossman has the confidence needed to lead a team, but his stubborn nature and inability to realize when not to force the issue had resulted in his subpar outings. By forcing the issue often, he is tied for fourth-most in the league with 11 interceptions despite having about half the pass attempts as the other quarterbacks on the list.
The game against Miami was a prime example, as Grossman moved the ball down the field several times but committed a crucial interception in the red zone when he tried to force the ball to a well-covered Leonard Hankerson, effectively sealing the loss for the Skins.
This quarterback carousel has caused uneasiness in fans and players alike, as no one is sure week to week who is going to be at the helm come game time. These two quarterbacks are very different in their executions of the offense, but no matter what, the result has been the same.
As the losing streak has now hit five games, talks of next season have already entered the conversation. With little left to play for other than pride and continued learning of the systems in place, Shanahan should just stick with a quarterback and remove the added stress and drama surrounding a new starter each week.
While the personnel that plagued our team last year has moved on, the dysfunction and uncertainty lives on with Shanahan as the puppet-master. Teams are a reflection of the coaching in place, and transparency is crucial in running a smooth operation from the top down.
As the Redskins will most likely limp to another losing season, it begs the question: how much longer will Shanahan be allowed to right the ship before Dan Snyder stops sitting idly by and does something even more drastic?
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