The most popular man in town got on the field as Washington Redskins quarterback when head coach Mike Shanahan benched Rex Grossman after four drive-killing interceptions and replace him with back-up quarterback John Beck.
If Shanahan keeps Beck in the starter role, Grossman technically becomes the most popular man in town as back-up quarterback. I doubt that fans will chant, "We want Grossman" any time this year. Fans do not think like coaches. Shanahan will go through game video and grade the players on each play to assess when fault lies. Then he will select his starter without telling you until Friday or Saturday. At that, he will feed you more of that "confidence in each of his quarterbacks to get the job done."
We will spend all week talking about this game and its meaning. I went to this game and left with these impressions.
This game was supposed to show if the Redskins were contenders or pretenders. Well, it was Pretension Sunday at FedEx Field. For a team that made all the offseason change that Philadelphia did with the mistakes to show for it, the Eagles looked surprisingly crisp against the Redskins. Not all of their issues are resolved. If they were, the Eagles would have scored something, anything at all, in the second half.
They were good enough today to beat the Redskins for the 11th time in 13 tries and to keep Vick's unbeaten string against Washington going.
Everybody will talk about Grossman, because too many football fans and TV heads oversimplify winning to the quarterback. There is little to say about Grossman's performance, but the defense was every bit as culpable. Lets start with the 11-play, 82-yard drive that ended with the Eagles first touchdown. Or lets talk about the occasions when the defense flushed Vick from the pocket for big gains that extended drives and kill clock.
The Eagles controlled the ball for over 38 minutes.
The Eagles entered the game as prone to turnovers. Where were they today?
How long will it be before Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin jump off the Grossman bandwagon? They only jumped on it during the Bye.
The Eagles showed a greater sense of urgency than the Redskins did. I was surprised to see it. Do not blame it on character. I think the players work hard. But, they were not game ready today. The season is not lost...unless they play like this again.
Why the team came out so flat after a Bye is a question the coaches have to answer. Ask those questions of the men in the mirror.
Left tackle Trent Williams suffered a high ankle sprain and could not finish the game. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger suffered a right knee injury. There are rumors he will miss significant time. Chris Cooley fractured a finger during the game. He is scheduled for surgery.
Beck or Grossman?
When the choice is between Rex Grossman and John Beck, you hardly have a quarterback controversy. We've argued that the Redskins could play competitive ball with either under center. We are going to report Shanahan's decision, but not be too caught up in it. You should not either.
Photo by Anthony Brown