Sunday, October 16, 2011
Mike Shanahan mum on Redskins' QB
LANDOVER, Md. -- Rex Grossman's fourth interception of the game barely was nestled in the hands of an opposing defender when the raucous chants of "We want Beck!" rang through the stadium.
As if the Washington Redskins needed any prodding at that point.
Yes, folks, the quarterback switch that's been the talk of town since the preseason happened Sunday, with John Beck replacing Grossman to begin the fourth quarter of Washington's 20-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Afterward, coach Mike Shanahan wouldn't declare who will be the starting QB for the Redskins (3-2) next week against the Carolina Panthers, saying that decision will be made Wednesday "after looking at film."
Not much need to figure out what went wrong Sunday, though: Grossman kept throwing the ball to the wrong team, raising his season total to 11 turnovers -- nine interceptions plus two fumbles -- in five games. Safety Kurt Coleman became the first player for Philadelphia (2-4) in 45 years with three picks in a game.
"You've just got to flush it," Grossman said of how he'll try to move on after such a performance. "I believe in myself, no matter if the whole stadium doesn't, the coaching staff doesn't. Whatever the situation is, I believe in myself -- that every single play, I'm going to get it done. So I fall back on that."
For all of his uneven play this season and, indeed, across his career -- prompting all of those fan discussions about "Good Rex" vs. "Bad Rex" -- Grossman had helped Washington start 3-1 entering Sunday, giving it sole possession of first place in the NFC East that "late" in a season for the first time since 1999.
But Sunday was pretty much all bad: Grossman was 9 for 22 for 143 yards, a 23.7 quarterback rating. While he was in the game, Washington was 0 for 7 on third downs.
After his final interception, late in the third quarter, Grossman was gone. Beck took over the next time the Redskins got the ball, to begin the fourth quarter.
"No. 1, we needed a spark. ... And with four turnovers there, we thought it was time to make a change and give John an opportunity to show us what he could do," Shanahan said.
"The bottom line is you have a good day or you don't," the coach added. "Everybody knows that (if) you have four picks in the game, good things aren't going to happen, regardless."
At the start of Grossman's postgame news conference, he made it all sound so simple.
"We didn't execute. I didn't execute," he said.
And then he continued: "I'm sure most of the questions are going to be about the interceptions, so I might as well just go through them with you."
Which Grossman then proceeded to do, discussing each of those four particular miscues, one by one, in varying degrees of detail.
For the next two full minutes, he talked about needing "to make a quick decision" (No. 1), and how he "didn't throw it far enough" (No. 2), and wondering whether tight end Fred Davis did what he should have on the play (No. 3), and saying he thought receiver Jabar Gaffney would come back for the ball (No. 4).
All the while, Grossman fidgeted up at the podium. He bit his lower lip. He shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He fiddled with the sleeves of his beige shirt.
Asked whether he's worried he won't be Washington's starting QB again, Grossman said: "I'm worried about getting better."
Beck, meanwhile, got his first regular-season action since 2007, when he was with the Miami Dolphins. He was 8 for 15 for 117 yards with zero turnovers, and showed the sort of mobility Grossman isn't exactly known for, including a 12-yard scramble for a first down and a 2-yard TD run on a quarterback draw.
That score pulled Washington within seven points with a little under three minutes left. But the Eagles ran out the clock, thanks in large part to LeSean McCoy, who carried a career-high 28 times for 126 yards.
Beck also showed rust, which wasn't all that surprising, given his lack of familiarity with his receivers and with real-game situations. The Redskins' starter gets every rep with the first-team offense, so Beck hadn't worked with those players in any meaningful way since the preseason.
"My next time on the field," said Beck, who wore a light blue shirt with his first name stitched over his heart, "I want to be fully ready."
Now will come endless chatter in Washington about when that will be. Is it Beck's job now? Will Grossman get another chance?
"Who knows," Beck said, "what'll happen next."
I believe in myself, no matter if the whole stadium doesn't, the coaching staff doesn't. Whatever the situation is, I believe in myself -- that every single play, I'm going to get it done.
-- Redskins QB Rex Grossman
on how he handles being benched