Adam Schefter reports via Twitter that the Washington Redskins "have made the decision to go with Rex Grossman as their starting quarterback" instead of John Beck. As you know if you've been reading this blog, that comes as a bit of a surprise to me, since I was under the impression that head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan preferred Beck as long as he didn't fall flat on his face in the preseason. Beck performed fairly well in the preseason, though his final game was not his best, but Grossman performed better and will apparently get the start Sunday against the Giants.
There are a number of things this could possibly mean:
Grossman1. That it was a legitimate, old-fashioned competition all along, just as the coaches were telling everyone it was, and Grossman simply won it.
2. That the Redskins' coaches believe, based on the impressive way their defense, their running game and their offensive line performed in the preseason, that they have a better chance to contend this year than they originally believed and Grossman is the surer bet to play the kind of simple, mistake-free, good-decision quarterback they'll need.
3. That all the stuff they said about Beck and why they liked him was a smokescreen designed either to help his confidence and make him better or to convince other teams they had something no one else thought they did.
Regardless, I can't imagine the decision is final -- meaning, I expect this to change at least one or two more times as the season goes along. Sure, Grossman could play great and keep the job, but if he falters, the Redskins have a guy in waiting that they believe can handle the job.
I just don't agree with this as the initial decision, though. If you believe they're close, why wouldn't you rather have a fired-up Beck starting and a resigned Grossman, who's used to being a backup, backing him up and helping him out? As opposed, that is, to Grossman starting and a deflated, disappointed Beck backing him up. Seems to me you run the greater risk of losing Beck by making him the backup than you do of losing Grossman if you did the same to him. So if all else is equal, why wouldn't you go with Beck?
The answer might well be that all else is not equal, that they like Grossman better and don't think Beck is ready. We'll find out more in the coming days, I am sure, and will keep you updated on this fluid situation. Meantime, it looks like Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul know which guy they're going to get to go after on Sunday.