Rex Grossman always had a bi-polar image. There was Good Rex and there was Bad Rex. There was Sexy Rexy and "Wrecks" Grossman. Forrest Gump, or somebody, said, "Rex Grossman is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you are going to get."
Two of Grossman's interceptions were particularly damaging. Kurt Coleman's interception of Grossman's third down pass attempt to Fred Davis at the Eagles' 3 on Washington's first possession set the tone for the game. Coleman intercepted Grossman for his second pick two plays after Washington's defense picked off an errant Vince Young pass in the red zone. Both turnovers were score-killers.
Grossman's fourth and final INT was late third quarter when Coleman picked him again. There's a theme here. Kyle Shanahan's game plan targeted Coleman, the Eagles' second year benchwarmer who often is picked on by opposing quarterbacks. Coleman said he could read Grossman to break on the ball to do something no Eagle has done in 46 years—make three interceptions in one game.
More evidence that FedEx Field is Franklin Financial South.
By now, Mike Shanahan already knows who will start against the Carolina Panthers Sunday. Greg Trippiedi predicted in September on Redskins Hog Heaven that John Beck would start for the 'Skins against the Panthers. (You can look it up here.)
The question that Shanahan has deciphered is whether or not John Beck would have done better against Coleman than Grossman. Shanny will not share that answer with us, but he knows. The coaches helped Beck by not challenging Coleman in the deep middle. Beck's pass that set up his touchdown run was a deep right completion to Terrance Austin defended by Asante Samuel.
When the choice is between Grossman and Beck, the question is a false dilemma. Grossman and Beck have different strengths, but about the same level of play. The Redskins can compete with either. That's not to say either will lead the Redskins to a title.
Quarterbacks do not complete passes. Receivers complete them. Coaches look at game video and weigh where responsibility lies for those interceptions. The coaches will also look at the effect of the early loss of LG Kory Lichtensteiger and LT Trent Williams on the entire offense. The strength of Washington's run game was to the left. Ryan Torain flopped for 22 yard on the day. How is he any less culpable for the loss than Grossman under that circumstance?
The Eagles won the old school way yesterday: run the ball; stop the run; force turnovers and control the clock. (Time of possession 38:08? Really, fellas?) Without excusing Grossman, the Redskins lost because their defense was better that our defense. Their defense was on the field less than our defense.
Bad game. Season not over. Move on to the Panthers, all you distraught people.
How did we get from Jason Campbell to John Beck?
I give Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen higher marks for building the roster this season than they earned last season. But, quarterback is a coach-induced drama.
All of the wish list players Snyderrato and Shanallenhan desired since 2009 are performing at about the same level as Jason Campbell. How did it come to this?
The Redskins have looked for the perfect quarterback for a very long time. Here's the QB list of the Snyder era.
Jeff George - Somebody (poorly) advised Dan Snyder that strong-armed George was perfect for the downfield offense. Snyder foisted George on Norv Turner and fired Turner for refusing to use George. It took Marty Schottenheimer one game the following season to bench George for good.
Tony Banks - Signed to be the back-up, starter by default when Marty benched George. Led the Redskins to eight wins in the last 11 games. Flushed out with Marty at the end of the season.
Shane Matthews/Danny Wuerffel - Former Florida Gaters QBs (hmm) of the Spurrier era. Matthews washed out in Chicago and Wuerffel was a bust in New Orleans, earning the nicknames like Danny Awful and Danny Woeful. Matthews was the better pro quarterback, but Spurrier's preference for Weurffel mystified everyone. Interesting parallel to Grossman - Beck. Grossman lands on the Redskins seven seasons after Spurrier leaves. Wuerffel disclosed that he is afflicted with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Patrick Ramsey - A fan favorite for his personal toughness, Ramsey always got up after being knocked down in the Fun-n-Gun offense, aka Pass-n-Gas. Spurrier's offense called for timely release of the ball. It never accounted for quicker, faster pass rushers in the pros. Whether Ramsey held the ball too long, or the receivers couldn't uncover soon enough, the Ramsey took too many hits for too small a return. Joe Gibbs reluctantly named Ramsey starting quarterback for 2005 only to bench him at halftime of the first game. Disappeared when traded to the New York Jets.
Mark Brunell - First player Joe Gibbs signed upon his return to football in 2004 when Brunell was washed up in Jacksonville after a fine career (now forgotten). Brunell teased Redskins fans with his stirring win over the Dallas Cowboys but Gibbs expected Brunell to run the error-free power offense that succeeded a decade before. Gibbs called safe game plans that only seemed to infuriate fans. Gibbs benched Brunell in favor of Jason Campbell when the Redskins were out of the 2006 playoff race. He won a Super Bowl ring as a back-up with the New Orleans Saints and is now the back-up to Mark Sanchez with the New York Jets.
Jason Campbell - This is what we know about Campbell after 52 starts in Washington: He is a consummate professional who worked hard to improve his skills on an unstable team. However, he is not the field general who can carry a struggling team, although Campbell gave it a valiant try in 2009. Campbell struggled in 2010 after the trade that sent him to Oakland. Things looked up for him this season. He had an owner who believed in him, a coach who wanted him, a second go with OC Al Saunders, Darren McFadden to hand off to and Kyle Bollar as his back-up. Broke his collar bone early in the Cleveland Browns game and could miss between six weeks to the full season. Tough break?
Todd Collins - After an eight-year stint as a benchwarmer in Kansas City, Collins followed Al Saunders to the Redskins in 2007 in hopes of competing for the starter slot. Not giving him any real shot might be Joe Gibbs biggest mistake. Fans and coaches got their first real look at how Saunders' offense was supposed to work when Campbel was lost for the season in the 11th game of 2007. Collins and Clinton Portis led the four-game run that snagged s playoff spot for Washington. Dan Snyder fired Al Saunders in 2008, negating Collins advantage--his deep knowledge of Saunders downfield offense system. Thereafter, Collins was below average. Appeared in two games with Chicago in 2010 and achieved a passer rating of 5.9.
Donovan McNabb - Could there have been a more Snyder-like move than to give up two Draft picks to trade for Donovan McNabb who was washed up in Philadelphia? McNabb gained yards in Shanahan's system, but not scores or wins. Worse, his level of play was not sufficiently better than Rex Grossman (or Jason Campbell) to justify his starter role. McNabb was as anxious to leave Washington as Mike Shanahan was to trade him. By now, each might secretly want to rethink that. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier benched McNabb when the Bears game got away--the second such occurrence to him in two seasons—and the third time in three years. Frazier is loyal to his players and will be loyal to McNabb until he understands that coaches are not loyal. They are ruthless when it comes to performance. As in Washington, McNabb's play isn't strong enough to start him over his back-up. Sad to see that look on McNabb's face, again, when he was benched.
Rex Grossman - We opened this post with Grossman's issues. No point in beating a dead horse.
John Beck - Beck intrigues the Shanahan's for his measurables and mobility, but he is untested as a starter with no real indication that he will perform better than Grossman or McNabb. His biggest advantage is that he is not Rex Grossman. Shanahan rolled the dice on keeping Beck and passing up Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL Draft in favor of Ryan Kerrigan. This was a good move. Gabbert would not have given the Redskins any more in 2011 than Beck will.
Photo by Anthony Brown