The bloom is off the Rex Grossman rose after Washington Redskins games against the Cowboys and Rams. In truth, the bloom was only on the rose for the two opening games of the season when Sexy Rexy played above everyone's low expectation.
But sniping at Grossman when the Redskins are 3-1 and atop the NFC East is breadth taking by any standard. We already hear calls on sports talk radio calling for the most popular man in town--John Beck
Slow down there, cowboy. Count to 10 and lets figure this out.
Was it so long ago that Washington was the national laughingstock for starting Grossman or worse for thinking of starting Beck at quarterback? That was the perception right up to the opening game kick-off against the New York Giants.
Even with Grossman's fall-off in performance from Week One to Week Four--you really should have expected that, people--Rex is performing above expectations. Look at Grossman's stats compared to the preseason betting line on him set by sports book Bodog.com.
|CATEGORY||BODOG PROJECTION||ACTUAL PERFORMANCE|
|2011 Completion %||53.5||58.0|
|Total Games Started||11.5||tbd|
|Ave. Yards per Game||210||247.25|
|Ave. TD Passes per Game||1.2||1.5|
Better than expected, especially on yards per game. Back on August 29, RHH projected Washington's QB productivity for the season to be about 215 yards per game, complete just under 60 percent of their passes while throwing five or six more touchdowns than interceptions. (Five Reasons Why Beck Or Grossman Does Not Matter For The Redskins)
Grossman is doing better than that on yards. He is close on completion percentage. And yes, he must do better than 6:5 on his TD-to-INT ratio. Grossman has to do MUCH better on his old bugaboo TD-to-TO ratio that now stands at 6:7 (5 INTs and 2 Fumbles).
We do not see Beck improving on those stats. I suspect he might not do as well on yards per game, but perhaps better than Grossman on fumbles lost. The Redskins will be the Redskins whoever is under center.
If John Beck is interchangeable with Grossman, who were the alternatives Mike Shanahan passed up for Grossman? Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb. Who were the quarterbacks the pre-Shanahan Redskins coveted in preference to Campbell? Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez.
Grossman, at 16th place for passing after four games, is performing better than all but Sanchez and Sanchez is barely better. Here is the Week Four passer ranking from NFL.com:
All of the quarterbacks that the Redskins had or dreamed about are bunched together. It is hard to see how they would have improved Washington's prospects if they were here. As they say in Indianapolis these days, Peyton Manning isn't walking through the door.
More than any other team game, football is a system sport. Quarterbacks do not complete passes. Quarterbacks attempt passes. Quarterbacks and receivers complete passes. Rex Grossman will be a better quarterback when the wide receiver corps catch 60 percent of the passes targeted to them. So far, only Santana Moss measures up. You expect that of 'Tana.
RHH is not arguing that Grossman should get a pass (oops, pun) on starting. We are pointing out that his performance is not less than we expected and that alternatives promise no better. If his performance stays above his career average and he executes Kyle Shanahan's game plan better than the alternative, then he remains the starter.
If he slips, or if the 'Skins fall out of the playoff race, that would be the time to find out what we have in Beck.
I have a question for disappointed fans unhappy with the choice of Beck or Grossman. This question is so important that I'm going to put it in bold.
Who would you rather the Redskins to have picked in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft: Blaine Gabbert, or Ryan Kerrigan?
If you know anything about football, you said Kerrigan. We can compete with Grossman, for now, and address the "franchise QB" question next year.
Grossman is almost unique in that he is a virtually bipolar performer. He is not an average QB, he almost always does something really well or really badly. There are plenty of players who have been hot one week and poor the next but Grossman can manage to flip-flop All-Pro and catastrophic from one play to the next.
I'd have preferred Beck to start for several reasons but primarily because he would present far less risk of me suffering a brain haemorrhage. Who can honestly say they were comfortable when had 17-point lead against the Rams. You're constantly waiting for the moment when Bad Rex appears.
Rex looks like a good leader, he knows the system and he actually responds well to pressure but he is very limited physically. He has got small hands, so he is more likely to fumble and throw the occasional wounded duck. He has got a seriously weak arm. He can compensates for it with really good touch, but he just cannot force the ball through coverage. Defenders have an age to close on the ball and jump routes. Worse still, it makes sideline routes problematic, so that his overly reliant on the middle of the field. Unfortunately, because he is really short, his listed height seems massively optimistic, he struggles to see the middle of field. I think this is why we keep seeing these apparently dumb throws into the arms of linebackers. He just cannot keep them in sight.
If defenses start doing what the Jets did to Brady in the playoffs, jam the middle or the park, force him to use the sidelines or go really deep then Grossman will struggle.
The pre-season suggested that Beck would make as many mental errors as Grossman, but Beck has a much stronger arm. He also has significantly better mobility, which would make roll-outs more effective. Still, Beck doesn't have Rex's touch and Grossman has been receiving all the starter's reps in practice for the last 4-weeks. It seems more like that Beck will have regressed, rather then progressed, since the pre-season. Regardless of who starts, Beck or Grossman, QB is going to be a major limiting factor this year. It is just not as bad as many of "experts" were predicting before the start of the season.
The reason for that is simple, they seems to base it entirely on Grossman's low-light reel rather than remembering he actually had a pretty good win:loss ratio as a starter in Chicago. Like Vince Young, Grossman has his limitations but somehow they tend to end up on the winning side. Perhaps, Napolean had it right, ability only goes so far, a field general's most important asset is their luck.
Campbell is on his way to a pro bowl appearance and he doesn't have one decent WR on his team and a mediocre, at best, OL.
"...he almost always does something really well or really badly."
So, what you are saying is that Rex has a lot in common than Tony Romo. That's funny!
The Shanahans were pulling for Beck to win on the field. He did not, so they went with Grossman. I respect them for their consistency. In face, I like all Mike Shanahan's decisions this year, unlike last season when he seemed to follow the Dan Snyder script--starting with quarterback.
@freetouse I think Campbell is doing exactly what he did for us, whenever we had a strong running game. He can be good game manager. He's got a decent arm. However, I still haven't seen him take over a game or win the game through the air if the running game falters.
I think he would be better for us than Grossman. I think it was a mistake to let him go, especially for so little. But, I don't think he is playing at a Pro-Bowl level.
@freetouse Would love to see the expression on The Danny's face if that happens.
It feels wrong to say this but, I wouldn't be unhappy with Romo as the Redskins starting QB (if he ever became available as free agent). He is nowhere near as variable as Grossman. In fact, most of the time Romo plays at a high level. It's part of the reason that it is so easy for Redskins fans to enjoy his stumbles. Romo has got good mobility, a strong arm and decent accuracy. He is very talented, it is just that the Cowboys seem blessedly intent on wasting it.
Sure Romo makes a few mistakes, but a good offensive co-ordinator, or at least one that uses their running game would help him avoid a lot of them. I think the playoff losses are overblown, apart from the botched hold, the losses were the responsiblity by poor play by the whole lot of Cowboys. Also how many starting QBs since Joey T. have doubled up as holder. Romo botched a hold in tough conditions and almost managed to save the day with his legs. It took a fine, finger tip tackle to bring him down.
Even in the loss against the lions, that second interception return came of a really execellent play by the corner and weak, weak route from the receiver. From various reports it seems like the guy is a decent bloke, if he played for anyone but the Cowboys, I'd be a fan.
Jason is in a better place. He has a coach who wants him. He is in his second season with Al Saunders and he has a hellfire running back.
He also has an owner who might at any time insist his team start Terrell Pryor. Some things never change.
Owners, can't live with them; can't kick them off the team.