Apparently, we've discovered what it takes these days for Mike Shanahan to deem you a sub-par quarterback: Simply throw four egregious and completely avoidable interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles, as Rex Grossman did last Sunday. The quarterback who has said a great many things about his own excellence and the excellence of those around him finally exceeded the patience of Shanahan in that Eagles outing.
As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Shanahan will go with backup John Beck when the Redskins take on the 1-5 Carolina Panthers this coming Sunday. Per Football Outsiders' metrics, the Panthers have the NFL's worst pass defense, so it's a nice opportunity for Beck to get that spot start.
"I do think they were good performances," Grossman said on Wednesday morning of his games through the season. "The frustrating part about it is they should've been great. But statistics and ratings -- you go out there to win. You don't try to put up numbers. It's very obvious when you have a great rating and you put up a lot of points, there's no doubt you played great. Anytime you don't produce enough points and statistics, it leaves room for judgment.
"I had an opportunity to make it clear as day, and it wasn't. For the first four games, I played well. I could show you to prove it, but it doesn't matter. At this point, it is what it is."
Grossman was actually benched in the third quarter of that 20-13 Eagles loss, just after throwing his third pick to safety Kurt Coleman. Beck came in to mop up, the first serious action he had seen since Shanahan named Grossman the team's starter in what he deemed to be a very close competition before the season opener.
"I've got a lot of faith in both of them. It was very competitive all the way through," Shanahan said at the time. "I thought Rex won by an edge. Anytime you've got confidence in two quarterbacks, it's pretty good in the National Football League, and that's what I have right now. I'm very pleased with it."
He's probably less pleased with it now that Grossman has shown himself to be very much the quarterback he's always been — a somewhat successful player who will eventually hoist himself on his own petard with boneheaded quarterbacking. Grossman has thrown six touchdowns and nine interceptions this season after resuscitating his career last season when Shanahan became disenchanted with Donovan McNabb. Shanahan and son Kyle, the team's offensive coordinator, had some VERY positive things to say about Beck through the preseason, but Grossman eventually did win that job.
"My first year as a position coach in the league, Houston had me scout all the quarterbacks coming out that year," Kyle Shanahan told Peter King of SI.com. "That was the JaMarcus Russell year, with Brady Quinn, Trent Edwards, Kevin Kolb and Beck. So they asked me who I'd pick if I had the 10th pick in the draft. I told them Beck. They said he's not worth the 10th pick in the draft. I was standing on the table for him. I've never seen a guy play that well in college."
Well, now the Redskins will get their chance to find out just how good John Beck is. At this point, Redskins fans must just wonder what kind of draft position their team will get, and if the Shanahans will be wise enough to pull the trigger on a potential franchise quarterback when the 2012 NFL draft comes around.
Since he was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Miami Dolphins, Beck has completed 68 passes in 122 attempts for 676 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. For the Redskins this year, he has completed 8-of-15 passes for 117 yards.
And as for the guy who's in the back seat? Grossman said that the demotion won't change his approach. "I'm a professional. I'm going to go about my business the same way," he said. "I know this offense. If I do get back in there, I'm gonna feel real good about it. I'm gonna feel real good about where I'm at. Just try to get better and build on the things I did well. Having success and winning games will propel my confidence, if I do get back in there. Obviously, there's things I need to clean up, but for the most part, I'll be in a good frame of mind."
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- Mike Shanahan
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