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Saturday, March 17, 2012
Reports: Redskins re-sign Rex Grossman

By Dan Graziano

Yeah, yeah, I know. The news that the Washington Redskins have agreed to another one-year deal with quarterback Rex Grossman is not going to make anyone's Saturday night in D.C. After last season's 20th interception, you didn't want to see Grossman again, and I totally get why the initial reaction is to moan and wail.

But folks, they're not bringing Grossman back in to be their starting quarterback. The Redskins' starting quarterback in 2012 is going to be a rookie for whom they traded three first-round picks and a second-round pick, most likely Robert Griffin III. You don't make a deal like the one the Redskins made to move up to No. 2 in the draft if you're not planning to start the guy you're picking right away.

Rex Grossman
Rex Grossman's role will be to tutor, and back up, the Redskins' rookie starter in 2012 -- likely Robert Griffin III.
That established, how exactly is Grossman a bad choice as backup quarterback? He knows Mike Shanahan's offense in depth. When he was the quarterback in 2011, that offense actually ran somewhat efficiently in spite of a shredded offensive line and a receiving corps of which the team's first two hours of free agency this past Tuesday were a searing indictment. The only problem with Grossman was the turnovers, which were intolerable in quantity and the reason they couldn't possibly bring Grossman back as next season's starter.

But they haven't. They've brought him back as a guy who can help the coaching staff teach Griffin the offense. A guy who can sit in the meeting rooms next to the rookie and help explain terminology that might be unfamiliar, who can stand next to him on the practice field and show him how certain plays work and where he can expect receivers to be in certain situations. It's not as though he's going to get into Griffin's head and affect his in-rhythm decision-making. If Griffin weren't responsible with the ball, he wouldn't be getting picked second overall in the draft. He'll throw some interceptions, but when he does it'll be because that's what rookies do -- not because he was tutored on how to do so by a leading expert who happens to be his veteran backup.

And if Griffin gets hurt and Grossman has to step in and finish a game, the Redskins know he can run the offense and won't be overwhelmed. And yeah, they also know he'll throw interceptions, but that's what you get with a backup quarterback. If he didn't have some kind of fatal flaw, he'd be a starting quarterback. The best backup option on the market was Kyle Orton, but he got a three-year deal from the Cowboys and you can understand why they didn't want to do that. The second-best was Jason Campbell, and if the Redskins had brought him back, would that have made the fans feel any more awesome than this does?

Perspective, folks. We've been trying to preach it all week here. I know it's tough. I know you want every player your teams signs to be the best one you ever heard of. But it doesn't work that way. And given all of the objective circumstances, there's nothing wrong with Grossman coming back to Washington. As long as he's just the backup.