November 13, 2011
This week, the Titanic's deck chairs will form a triangle.
Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan once said that he was staking his reputation on the quarterbacking acumen of Rex Grossman(notes) and John Beck(notes). Many skeptical and cynical Redskins fans may have wondered at the time just how much of a reputation Shanahan had left to risk. And after a half-season in which his team has fallen to 3-5 and lost four straight, Shanahan may figure that he has nothing left to lose.
So, less than a month after benching Grossman in the middle of a four-interception nightmare against the Philadelphia Eagles, the coach has reversed course and gone back to his mercurial one-time starter. Jason La Canfora of NFL.com was the first to report that Grossman will get the starting nod when the Redskins face the 1-7 Miami Dolphins at Miami's Sun Life Stadium.
Beck, the man who replaced Grossman in that Eagles game and in the next contests, did very little to prove to anyone that he could led an NFL offense with his unimpressive arm, limited mobility, and tendency to fold in the pocket when things get difficult from a pressure perspective. He's completed 80 passes in 132 attempts for just 858 yards — a 6.5 yards per attempt average — two touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Grossman's stats reflect his preference for risk-taking, though he's been no more efficient or effective. He's completed 92 passes in 155 attempts, giving him a 55.8% completion rate and just 6.9 yards per attempt. Not what you'd expect from a "franchise quarterback." Factor in his six touchdowns versus nine interceptions, and you've got Grossman as the second of two quarterbacks who are clearly just marking time until the Skins can either find their next average quarterback in the draft, or botch another free agency or trade transaction to underfund the position.
Either way, this could turn out badly for the Redskins. Grossman will take the field without many of his former targets — running back Tim Hightower(notes), receiver Santana Moss(notes), and tight end Chris Cooley(notes) are among those players who have been out due to injury — and the Dolphins just waxed the Kansas Kity Chiefs, 31-3, after starting the season with seven straight losses.
This can't even be called a trap game for the Redskins, because it's entirely possible that the Dolphins are the better team right now from a straight-up perceptive.
Right now, that's what Mike Shanahan's reputation revolves around.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)
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