The New York Giants were appalled and ashamed at losing a second game this season to the last-place Washington Redskins. But as Thomas Boswell points out, with Rex Grossman at quarterback, the Redskins are actually a 5-6 team this year -- not a whole lot different from the 7-7 Giants. The Giants have been outscored by a total of 38 points this year, and owe their seven wins largely to Eli Manning's knack for fourth-quarter comebacks. The Redskins have been hurt by Grossman's tendency to turn the ball over, but also helped by the competence he shows when he doesn't:
In three games started by John Beck, they were crushed, 75-31. In Grossman’s 11 starts, they are now actually 5-6, with only a tiny disadvantage in points, 221-225. It’s conceivable that, despite Grossman’s almost inconceivable 22 turnovers this year, they are roughly as good as the Giants in Rex’s games.
Ironically, the more Grossman plays, the better chance the Redskins have to win, as the last five weeks have shown. But the more they win (and they’ll be favored to beat the Vikings next Sunday at FedEx Field), the less chance they have to get a very high draft pick and grab Andrew Luck (unlikely), Robert Griffin III or Matt Barkley to be their quarterback of the future.
So, to a degree, the more Grossman wins, the better chance he has to reduce the quality of his own competition for the quarterback job next season and, in the process, quite possibly damage the team’s long-term future. You admire his moxie, but the better he plays, the longer you may be stuck with him.
What Mike Shanahan said all along about this year's team and its quarterback situation was that he believed he had guys who could run his offense if he put the right pieces around them. He never said Grossman or Beck was the long-term answer at the position, but he didn't think he could acquire a franchise quarterback last offseason for an appropriate price, so Grossman turned out to be the best option from among what he has. From the outside, it appears he'll have the chance to acquire a franchise guy this offseason -- be it through the draft or otherwise. We don't yet know who he likes or has his eye on, but even if the Redskins keep winning and their first-round draft position suffers for it, they should be able to maneuver up and get a Barkley or a Griffin if that's who they want.
In the meantime, against everything we've come to believe, Grossman is really giving them a chance to win games. And at the very least, next year he can be a worthwhile backup and mentor to a stud rookie who needs to learn the system -- someone who can step in and play if the kid's not ready right away or gets hurt or whatever. That's not a bad thing to know about a quarterback, even if he is far from perfect.