Poor Washington Redskins fans. We know there's not a single word in that headline that gets you excited … and things are just going to get weirder as you go along. Despite what many people expected, the Redskins named Rex Grossman as their starting quarterback in the first unofficial depth chart of the season. The surprise is that John Beck is not the starter after head coach Mike Shanahan made so many positive comments about Beck in the offseason.
"He has everything you look for in a quarterback. No. 1 you have to love the game, you have to have the mindset. What I'm looking for is a guy first to work and last to leave. You've got to be able to run this offense at a very high level. He can do things with his legs that a lot of quarterbacks can't do."
This week, however, Shanny put the brakes on anointing Beck as the favored starter, even after joking about him being a potential Pro Bowl player (Well, we hope that was a joke).
"First of all, I've never mentioned a starter," Shanahan [said...] "I've never even insinuated a starter. I said I had a lot of belief in John Beck, I had a lot of belief in Rex Grossman. We're gonna play the best player at the end of camp, but I do believe in both those guys. I've watched them practice. You make decisions based on practice. I've watched both these guys for a year, I like what they bring to the table. Now I get a chance to watch them compete on a day-to-day basis."
That may be the case right now, but it seems that there's another Shanahan voice stumping pretty hard for Beck, who was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Miami Dolphin. In Beck's NFL career, he's completed 60 passes in 107 attempts for one touchdown and three interceptions — and all those stats came in his rookie year. He was bouncing around the league until Kyle Shanahan, son of Mike and the Redskins' offensive coordinator, got him for the Redskins. And according SI.com's Peter King, the younger Shanahan REALLY wanted Beck in that '07 draft when he was a member of the Houston Texans' coaching staff.
"My first year as a position coach in the league, Houston had me scout all the quarterbacks coming out that year," Kyle Shanahan said. "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."
Houston Texans GM Rick Smith recalled that he was happier trading for Matt Schaub.
Probably the better decision.
Whether the Shanahans say so or not, they've been putting their names on the line for Beck for months, and if this doesn't work out, it's going to be a major hit for both men in their names as quarterback developers and evaluators. They traded Donovan McNabb abysmally last season, benching him for Grossman when Grossman provided no better alternative, and eventually booting McNabb out of town in favor of a quarterback who's proven nothing in the NFL. Beck threw for monster yards at BYU, but so did Ty Detmer, Steve Sarkisian and Gifford Nielsen. Maybe the Shanahan's next move will be to travel to the other Washington and see if Sarkisian, who currently coaches the Washington Huskies football team, has anything left in his arm?
It's a real embarrassment. And in other news from that unofficial depth chart, receiver Anthony Armstrong — who was the team's best receiver according to Football Outsiders' metrics — will be a backup behind Santana Moss and … Jabar Gaffney?
Hoo, boy. I'd wish Redskins fans the best with their team's seeming pole position in the "Suck for Luck" sweepstakes, but Andrew Luck might have too much talent for the Shanahans to handle.