October 16, 2011
Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman(notes) has said a great many things this season, and many of them have not made a lot of sense. When he guaranteed an NFC East championship for his team … well, people laughed for a while, at least until the 'Skins went into their bye with a 3-1 record last week with exactly the division lead Rex promised. He then said that he had the NFL's best receivers, and we sort of backed off and said very patiently as we would to a small child full of braggadocio, "Well, wait and see."
Well, Rex and his Redskins were in for a reality check, and it would come at home against the previously 1-4 Philadelphia Eagles. Andy Reid's team didn't play especially well, but they couldn't possibly match the brutal inefficiency of Grossman, who threw four interceptions in three quarters in a 20-13 loss and was eventually benched in favor of backup John Beck(notes). Eagles safety Kurt Coleman(notes) caught three of Grossman's passes all on his own.
In a word, ugh. There are times when a quarterback's interceptions are little fault of his own — receivers run the wrong routes, balls get tipped at the line of scrimmage, defensive backs make perfect reads. But each of Grossman's four picks were entirely on him — three were horrid underthrows, and he was telegraphing his throws to an extreme degree. It was the kind of performance from "Bad Rex" that we've seen quite enough before. Grossman tied a career high in picks that he last established in 2006 against the Arizona Cardinals in the game that inspired Dennis Green to say that "The Bears are who we thought they were … and we let them off the hook!"
Yes, Sexy Rexy also inspired that meltdown, because the Bears somehow won the game despite their quarterback's worst efforts. In the loss to the Eagles, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan was a bit more measured.
"Everybody knows that if you have four picks in a game," Shanahan said, "good things aren't going to happen … we needed a spark. John's been practicing very well the last couple of weeks. And with four turnovers, we thought it was time to make a change and give John an opportunity to show us what he could do."
Confident to the end, Grossman made the decision to bench him sound a bit like a mistake — if only he had more time to turn it around! "Obviously, I would have liked to have finished what I started, from a competitive standpoint," Grossman said.
"There are a lot of times where things aren't going well, and all of a sudden things just go into place and it starts to get better. You start to click, all of a sudden, get into a rhythm. I wasn't able to do that. They thought the best answer was to replace me."
The question is, what will "they" think in the upcoming week as the Redskins prepare for the Carolina Panthers next Sunday? The team faces three road trips in their next four games, and any more Grossman performances like this could have them backsliding in a big hurry.
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