What to make of Rex Grossman?


I read this ESPN Insider piece by Chris Sprow on Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, mainly because I was hoping it would help provide some clarity on how to feel about him. Grossman is a conundrum. We watch him play, he looks fine, but we can't shake this idea that it's all liable to fall apart at some point because it's Rex Grossman.

Grossman's haunting me right now. I didn't think he had a real shot to win the job in preseason and he proved me wrong. Now everywhere I look there's a story about whether he might actually be turning a corner in his career. I'm trying to decide whether to trade Fred Jackson for him in a fantasy league where we have to start two quarterbacks and I only have one. The guy won't leave me alone.

So I consulted Sprow, who has some theories as to why Grossman might be able to sustain the little bit of success he's had so far in Washington. Reasons include the Redskins' soft schedule, the similarities between this Redskins offense and the Chicago Bears one Grossman took to the Super Bowl and a chart showing other quarterbacks such as Warren Moon, Roger Staubach and Vinny Testaverde whose post-30 production exceeded what they did in their 20s:

There's no evidence that a quarterback can't greatly enhance his career beyond his age-30 season. There are 67 quarterbacks who've thrown for more yards past that point than they did before it, and at the top of the list, there aren't just some good names, there are instances of dramatic improvement. Trent Green couldn't get on the field, or stay consistently healthy up to age 30, but after, in a better situation, he threw for another 22,971 yards and, like many of the guys you see in the chart, dramatically improved his accuracy. Grossman can't be confused with Green, or the limited but steady Brad Johnson, or even the late-blooming, accurate Rich Gannon (Johnson at 34 and Gannon at 37 met in the Super Bowl). But none of the guys listed here, at age 30, would be confused with how we perceive them now.

So I don't know. If you have the Insider access, give it a look and let me know what you think. I will say that Grossman does seem to be in a system that suits him well, as long as the supporting cast of running backs, receivers and offensive line holds up around him. That was Mike Shanahan's biggest concern when I spoke with him in training camp -- not whether he had the right quarterback but whether that quarterback, whoever it was, would have enough around him. I thought he was messing with me, or nuts, but now I wonder. We always wonder when it comes to Grossman.