Veteran Redskins receivers will be key

In the wake of his strong performance against the Steelers in Friday night's preseason opener, Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman spoke with Mike Jones about his strong relationship with veteran receivers Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney. Grossman played with Moss last season in Washington and with Gaffney at the University of Florida.

"I trust them both, a lot," Grossman said. "Santana has a way of separating from defenders and knowing when to sit down on an option route. … Jabar is a savvy vet. As soon as he started as a freshman at Florida, you could tell he had that 'it' factor. He still has it and is a great receiver."

Interesting, and telling. But not, in my opinion, Grossman-specific. I still believe, based on the conversations I had when I was at Redskins camp, that John Beck is the favorite to win the starting quarterback job in Washington. And if he does, Mike Shanahan's biggest concern isn't going to be whether Beck can handle the job but whether he has put a sufficiently strong supporting cast around him. That includes the offensive line, which Shanahan hopes makes strides in his second season. It includes the running back corps, which got stronger with the addition of Tim Hightower. And it includes a group of receivers that has a lot of youth but two reliable veterans in Moss and Gaffney.

If Beck is the quarterback in Washington, he's going to have the same kind of connection with Moss and Gaffney that Grossman felt Friday night. Because no matter how convinced he and his coaches may be that he's ready for the job, it's going to be tough. And when the going gets tough, Beck (or Grossman, if he gets the job) is going to be looking for the most reliable people he can find on the field to help him. No matter who the quarterback is, Moss and Gaffney are going to fit that description.