So it appears the Rex Grossman era is over in Washington, as John Beck has been named the starter for the Redskins game this Sunday in Carolina. What a no-brainer this had to be for Coach Shanahan. While it has to be a massive blow to Shanny’s ego that he couldn’t develop Rex into a capable starting NFL QB, it was a failed experiment that had to end. After posting a 110.5 rating in the Week 1 win over the New York Giants, his play degenerated steadily in the following weeks. Last Sunday’s cataclysmic performance at Fed Ex Field in the 20-13 loss to Philadelphia was Rex’s rock bottom – four interceptions and a hideous 23.7 QB rating. You can’t keep trotting Rex out there, trying to sell him to your locker room and the fan base, when all he does is throw you out of winnable football games. During Rex’s starting tenure in Washington, he was responsible for 19 turnovers in less than 8 full starts at quarterback. That should be the only stat that Coach Shanahan needed to digest in order to make this move; you risk losing the locker room if you hamstring your team by continually starting a quarterback who is an automatic -2 turnover differential the second his pudgy foot takes the field.
John Beck will be making his first NFL start since 2007 when he takes the field in Charlotte, and Coach Shanahan is at the plate with an 0-2 count against him when it comes to picking starting QB’s since he arrived in Washington. Shanny sent a 2nd-round and 4th-round pick to Philadelphia for a washed-up Donovan McNabb, who started just 13 games in his stint as a Redskin; now, Grossman has been thrown overboard after just 8 starts. You can’t have that sort of flux at the QB position and expect to win consistently in the NFL. And who knows if Beck is the answer? How long will his tenure last as the starting quarterback? Luckily for Beck, Grossman is the only other QB currently on the roster, so he won’t have to look over his shoulder for the 3rd-stringer trying to take his job. Beck should be given a long leash, and allowed to take his lumps, since there is absolutely no upside to handing the ball back to Rex.
This is the shot Beck has been desperate to take advantage of for so many years. It’s not an ideal situation, with the season-ending knee injury sustained by Kory Lichtensteiger and the high-ankle sprain that will force left tackle Trent Williams to the sideline for at least a few weeks. Those injuries will only hamper a sputtering rushing attack, that ranks 17th in the NFL at 109 yards per game. It’s a good thing one of John Beck’s positives is his mobility, because he’ll be working behind a patchwork offensive line over the next few months. Plus, you’re facing a pesky Cam Newton-led Carolina squad that’s better than their 1-5 record indicates.
The end result of the upcoming game against the Panthers is a mere blip; the more important byproduct will be the first chapter in the 11-game John Beck audition. Recent Redskins history dictates that you get ten or so starts to prove (or disprove) your worthiness to be the starting quarterback in this town. But thankfully, Shanny showed his willingness to admit the folly of trying to win with Rex Grossman. After the ugly performance at home last week, it had to be Beck.