Stop with the talk about Mike Shanahan being run out of town if John Beck doesn't turn out to be a home run at quarterback. I know Shanahan said something about staking his reputation on his two QBs this year but do you really think that he'll quit or be fired if his rep takes a hit?
Mike Shanahan has five years to build a winner and he'll get all of them if he wants them despite what Jason Reid implied at the end of his column in the Post today. He has five years to win something whether Beck, Grossman, or Jurgenson is forced to play quarterback. And don't think that this season is being viewed as some sort of "rebuliding" campaign. He wants to win and win now. Intending to win now and building something at the same time are not mutually exclusive.
Shanahan has been building since he got here. He's building a new culture, a new roster, and a new way of doing business. And it's all good. The Redskins have gone from practice when you want to practice the way he wants. For the first time in forever, they are utilizing the draft and not overpaying free agents. Add to that, the product on the field is well-coached. Sure the roster still has limitations and the biggest limitation is at the most important position but remember this. Shanahan inherited a house with dead fish in the basement. it's going to take a while to rid the smell. He's trying every deodorizer he can to get rid of the stink but some of it is still lingering. It'll be totally gone soon enough. In the meantime, don't rush him. Remember, it was impatience that killed those fish in the first place.
With the season opener just days away, it is time for the season debut of a feature I began last year. Notable (facts or potential statistical achievements); Quotable (direct quotes from Redskins players and coaches, along with an occasional word from the opponent); Reasonable (predictions, analysis, fairly safe thoughts).
Maybe it's not the most snazzy of titles, but hey, at least it sounds good and the creative effort was there.
The Washington Redskins host the New York Giants this Sunday September 11 at Fed Ex Field at 4:15. The game can be heard as always on ESPN 980 AM, 94.3 and 92.7 FM, www.espn980.com and SIRIUSXM Radio, via the Washington Redskins Radio Network.
Week 1 is never a MUST WIN - but I believe this game for the Redskins is as-close to a must win game as you will ever see in the first week of a long season.
Why? Simple. That's where the 'notable' section of the Week 1 edition begins.
**The Redskins won last-year's season opener against the Cowboys, on an emotionally charged Sunday night national television game, to open the Mike Shanahan era. The previous two years, the Giants beat Washington in the season opener. In 2009, the Redskins lost 23-17 in their final game at the old Meadowlands. In 2008, the Giants opened up defense of their Super Bowl title with a 16-7 win.
**Winning an opening week game means very little for the overall picture, but it is a division home game against a team that has basically owned you for several years. In other words, it is a statement game. The Giants have won six-in-a-row and nine-out-of-the-last-ten against the Redskins. They are badly beat up, however. New York has lost starting CB Terrell Thomas and starting MLB Jonathan Goff for the year, and will also be missing first round pick, CB Prince Amukamara. In addition, star DE Osi Umenyiora will very likely miss the game, an opponent which he has feasted on. It is a must win game, because the Giants are never going to be more vulnerable, and if you can't beat them in this scenario -- good luck trying to win in the frigid cold of mid-December for the rematch.
**London Fletcher is expected to play in his 209th consecutive game on Sunday against the Giants. Ronde Barber is expected to do the same in Tampa's opener. With Peyton Manning officially ruled out by the Indianapolis Colts, Fletcher and Barber will both become the current NFL ironmen. Barber has started 183 straight games, to Fletcher's 167. Fletcher missed the last three games of the preseason with a hamstring injury, but is practicing and should be fine.
**A win over the Giants would give Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan his 161st overall victory, which would tie him for 15th all-time in NFL history, with Bill Cowher. Speaking of Cowher, he might be the next coach of the Giants, if Tom Coughlin doesn't get his team back to postseason this year.
QUOTABLE (Courtesy of Redskins Public Relations)
Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan on practicing Wednesday at a off-site facility, after initially trying to practice outside before heavy rain/lightning.
“You would wish we had [the indoor practice facility] up so we could practice inside, but I thought we got a lot done. We had a chance to kind of review all of our assignments and guys are running right now. I was just a little afraid to practice out there because it was a little slick. I’ve done it a couple of times when it was slick like that and a couple of guys have pulled groins in the past. We had a little bit too much rain and I thought it was in our best interest to go inside. We got a lot done and had no setbacks.”
Redskins QB Rex Grossman will start on Sunday, and won a QB duel, that many had John Beck penciled in for.
“Any time you’re in a situation like this, there have been times in the past where you can’t quite trust what they’re saying, but I have a pretty good relationship with [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan]. [Head Coach] Mike [Shanahan] is a stand up guy so I took them at their word and I trusted it.”
On why he fits better in Washington, as opposed to the Bears system where he was last a starter from the outset.
“They are not all equal. If you look across the league, I’m not knocking Chicago, the team was set up differently for success. I fit well in this offense. I played well in Chicago – not everyone makes it to a Super Bowl.”
Redskins QB John Beck who lost the battle for the starting Quarterback job, but is obviously one play or game away from being # 1. Are u frustrated?
“Yes, anytime you put a lot of work into something you want it to play out the way you’ve worked for. Unfortunately, this situation didn’t.”
Did the lack of organized team activities and mini-camps, plus the groin injury just catch up to you?
“Well I can’t put an exact number on that or make an exact statement because I don’t know what it would have been like had I got those. There’s no way to really know. Drew always wore this shirt when we were working out that said ‘DWI,’ it said ‘Deal With It.’ It was in reference to the offseason and there being a lock-out because every team was going to have to face it. All the rookies that came in were going to have a tough time, all the people that were coming to a new team were going to have a tough time—it’s just part of it. I knew that was going to be a part of it, and I tried to do everything that I could on my own. Did I? I did everything I could. That I’m not worried about. Now it’s just about what can I do now to prepare myself because I have to be ready, and I’m going to be ready for if something happens. I also need to be ready at practice so I can help our defense. I feel like I can go out there and improve my skills and in doing that it will help our defense, because I can give them the best look I can to prepare for Sundays.”
**It is reasonable to expect the Redskins to still struggle in pass-protection, even with the Giants missing stud DE Osi Umenyiora and possibly DE Justin Tuck. Tuck appeared to have a setback on Thursday, as he did not practice. He was limited on Wednesday. Here's the problem, 2nd-year DE Jason Pierre-Paul had 4.5 sacks last year, with 2 forced fumbles. Two of those sacks came against Donovan McNabb in New Jersey on December 5th, a game that I thought was a more atrocious performance from top-to-bottom by the Redskins, even over the Philadelphia Monday Night Debacle.
**It is reasonable to expect the Redskins to have only 5 defensive lineman active, out of the six they have on the 53-man roster active. Jim Haslett mentioned that Chris Neild would be active on Sunday, as the only backup nose-tackle. It would seem that Darrion Scott, would be the likely odd-man out -- with Kedric Golston taking over the reserve DE spot, along with Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker. Starting NT Barry Cofield, in a pinch, could shift to DE.
**It is reasonable to expect the Redskins to activate 5 of the 7 wide receivers they have (excluding Brandon Banks) on Sunday. Kyle Shanahan basically said that was the number (subject to change, as everything is in Redskins-land). I would expect Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong, Jabar Gaffney, Terrence Austin will all be up. The last spot, comes down to Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul or Donte' Stallworth. Stallworth has been limited in practice, with a shoulder injury. He has been working some special teams -- but my reasonable guess is Niles Paul will get the nod.
**Eli Manning threw for 31 touchdowns, but had an extremely alarming 25 interception in 2010. Simply put, that can't happen again. In last years season finale at Fed Ex, Manning threw a 92-yard TD pass-and-run to Mario Manningham, beating DeAngelo Hall in coverage. Hakeem Nicks did not play for the Giants in either of their two games against Washington last year, so that is a very dangerous weapon the Skins will have to deal with. Nicks is so talented, that even with missing three games in 2010, he still hauled in 79 catches, 1052 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, in again just 13 games. DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson have their work cut out for them, with this tag-team duo coming to DC. It's reasonable to expect that if the Redskins allow Manning to set up and survey, he is going to burn them several times. Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Stephen Bowen and Kevin Barnes figure to be huge counter-weapons for Jim Haslett. The Redskins must put big-time pressure, without having to blitz all the time.
***It is reasonable to expect the Redskins to be able to have success in the pass game as well. Assuming they are able to set up the run, to sell play-action, Rex Grossman should be able to dial up a 275 + yard day against a Giants secondary that is missing starter, Terrell Thomas and first-round pick, Prince Amukamara. Even though the Giants will start younger veteran corners in Corey Webster and Aaron Ross -- it stands to reason that Washington should have a huge advantage if they spread out the Giants and attack their nickel and dime corners and packages. Brian Williams and Michael Coe are not going to be able to hold up consistently with the weapons that the Redskins can throw, most notably -- Moss from the slot, Austin and Armstrong.
Team Shanahan will never admit it but Rex Grossman has been their guy all along. Why? They trust him.
Initially, they simply trusted that he could mentor Donovan McNabb in the ways of Kyle and Mike while simultaneously providing insurance in the event McNabb didn’t make it through 16 games. Eventually, they came to trust his ability to run their system the way they wanted it run.
Their trust in Rex began last summer. It was clear that McNabb didn’t want to be mentored in anything new. He liked his way. Rex liked theirs. Every time McNabb balked at the Shanahan system, Grossman was there to believe in it.
Two moments in particular cemented Team Shanahan’s trust in Rex. The first came during last year's training camp. According to at least one person in the know, Kyle was already beginning to sour on McNabb’s resistance-to-change approach early in camp. It didn’t help that McNabb got hurt early in the preseason and missed time. It was during that time specifically that Kyle began to view Rex as more than just a mentor and backup. He was easy to coach. The offense was humming in practice. With McNabb, it was like Shanahan Offense 101, real beginner stuff. Rex’s one year in the system and his willingness to be taught allowed for more advanced course work. Obviously, a healthy McNabb was going to start. But in the back of Kyle’s mind were the first thoughts that they might be better with Rex.
Moment two came in Rex's first start in Dallas in mid-December. After a rough start, Rex led an offensive explosion in the 2nd half rallying the Skins from a 20-point deficit into a 4th quarter tie. The offense moved up and down the field with Rex throwing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. This was the offense Mike and Kyle envisioned. They lit up watching it even though they lost the game. They became convinced on that day that if they could improve around Rex, they could win with Rex.
I'm convinced that this was Rex's job at the end of last year and it was his job coming into this year. I don't doubt that the Shanahans like John Beck. But they trust Rex Grossman. His loyalty, experience, and one half of spectacular play in Dallas made it his job to lose when the season ended last year.
One other thought. I think it's entirely possible that if not for Mike Shanahan's bungled press conference following the Detroit game last year that Grossman would have become the starter after that game. Remember the awful interception McNabb threw with 5 minutes left in Detroit? It led to a the go-ahead Lions' touchdown and it incensed the Shanahans. We all know that Rex came in two drives later to lead an ill-fated two minute offensive possession. But I believe that it's entirely possible that McNabb's pick at the end of the Detroit game coupled with his awful performance the week before in Chicago meant that Kyle was on the verge of getting what he wanted—a quarterback change during the bye week. He and his father had seen enough. McNabb just wasn't getting it and on top of that, he wasn't right physically. But Mike's clumsy handling of the McNabb end-of-game benching blew it. His postgame comments about terminology and conditioning were just too harsh. McNabb not only remained the starter, he got a contract extension. No doubt the Shanahans wish they never put Rex into that game. Nobody would have objected to a bye week quarterback change with a McNabb injury as the explanation.
The Redskins starting QB competition is over... for now at least. Rex Grossman has been chosen to start in the season opener versus the Giants.
The Redskins QB competition between John Beck and Rex Grossman was not only competitive, but also surprisingly interesting. Public opinion on who the Redskins starting QB would be seemed to sway with each breeze - in the form of a player or coach interview, preseason game, or declarations from the media on local and national networks. In the end it seemed that Beck had won the popular vote, but the NFL is no democracy and Shanahan made his choice.
“I got a chance to talk to the quarterbacks over the weekend. It was a very good battle. I have a lot of faith in both of them and it’s been very competitive all the way through, but I wanted to announce it today and the starting quarterback will be Rex,” said Head Coach Mike Shanahan.
According to Coach Shanahan, "Rex won it by an edge."
Perhaps that edge was sharpened when Grossman led an 80-yard drive in the final 3 minutes of the 1st half against the Baltimore Ravens' 1's during the third preseason game?
Now begins Rex Grossman's redemption story, and last chance.
It's been four years since Grossman started a season opener. He will never have an opportunity as ripe as this again. Grossman knows the system, has a coach that believes in him, and will lead an offense that Grossman himself said was better than Chicago's group during their Super Bowl run in the 2006-2007 season.
Will we see Beck this season? Once again, popular opinion including the media say 'yes, we will'. However, Coach Shanahan's master plan isn't counting on it.
“You make decisions that are based for the season. When you pick a guy out, you’re not going to say, ‘I think he’s going to fail.’ You’re hoping he’s going to be very successful," said Coach Mike Shanahan.
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) It's Rex. By the proverbial nose of the football.
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan ended the suspense Monday and announced Rex Grossman as the starting quarterback, giving the nine-year veteran the nod over John Beck going into Sunday's season opener against the New York Giants.
"I've got a lot of faith in both of them. It was very competitive all the way through," Shanahan said. "I thought Rex won by an edge."
Grossman becomes the latest player to be given the chance to hold a position that has lacked stability essentially since the end of the glory days of the 1980s and early 1990s. The Redskins have used 20 starting quarterbacks over 18 seasons, with this year's competition a fallout from last year's Donovan McNabb debacle, when Shanahan traded two draft picks for a former Pro Bowl player who eventually got benched and then traded.
Shanahan decided to go with Beck vs. Grossman in 2011, even though Beck hasn't played in a regular- season game since 2007 and Grossman hasn't done much since losing his starting job with the Chicago Bears in 2007, the year after he led them to a Super Bowl. Grossman is a 40-40 player, but that's not a compliment: He's thrown 4o touchdowns and 40 interceptions in his NFL career.
Shanahan said he was staking his reputation on his belief both can play, and he maintained that confidence Monday.
"Any time you've got confidence in two quarterbacks, it's pretty good in the National Football League, and that's what I have right now," the coach said. "I'm very pleased with it."
One would assume that Grossman is pleased as well, but he'll wait to fully express it to the world. After initially saying both quarterbacks would be made available to reporters, the team recanted and said they would instead speak on Wednesday.
"He came in here like he wanted to fight for a job, like he expected to win a job, and he did just that," running back Tim Hightower said of Grossman. "But it's preseason. Now the real work begins, so we'll see what happens now."
The race was genuinely a close one. There was little separating the two at practice or through the first three preseason games. Grossman ran the offense more efficiently, while Beck was more mobile. But Beck failed to seize an opportunity in last week's game, when he got the start against Tampa Bay and played a so-so half against a second-string defense.
Grossman completed 64 percent of his passes during preseason with two touchdowns, one interception and a 92.3 rating. Beck completed 62 percent with one touchdown, two interceptions and a 74.7 rating.
"When you're evaluating everything on a day-to-day basis, you kind of get a gut (feeling)," Shanahan said. "And someone makes a little jump, you go in that direction."
Grossman also had the advantage of studying the Redskins' current offense for one season as a backup with Houston under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who now holds the same position in Washington. Grossman came to the Redskins last year and started the final three games after McNabb was benched.
"He's familiar with the system," Mike Shanahan said. "I thought he was pretty automatic with a lot of his reads, and hopefully he plays accordingly."
Shanahan said Grossman will be evaluated every week - as is every player - but the job is now Grossman's to lose.
"Obviously you make a decision based for the season," Shanahan said. "When you pick a guy out, you're not going to say, `Hey, you think that guy's going to fail.' Obviously you hoping he's going to be very successful."
Notes: TE Chris Cooley (knee) and S LaRon Landry (hamstring) took part in a portion of Monday's practice. Shanahan said the two were making progress, but he wouldn't guess as to either's chances of playing Sunday. ... The Redskins will have four captains to start the season: WR Santana Moss, LB London Fletcher, CB DeAngelo Hall and LB Lorenzo Alexander. ... The team signed DL Chris Baker, QB Jonathan Crompton, G Maurice Hurt, CB Nate Ness, G Eric Olsen, WR Aldrick Robinson, RB Evan Royster and DE Doug Worthington to the practice squad. Hurt, Robinson and Royster were the three draft picks that didn't make the 53-man roster. ... Former Secretary of State Colin Powell will serve as the Redskins' honorary captain for Sunday's game, which takes place on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
On a Labor Day Monday, that is the furthest thing from a holiday for the Washington Redskins - the news that we've been waiting for all off-season and training camp long, finally is reality.
Rex Grossman will start this Sunday September 11 for the Redskins, against the New York Giants, in what figures to be an emotional, somber celebration of Americana, ten years after the 9/11 tragedies in Washington and New York.
The news was first broken by Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, who of course covered the Redskins for the Washington Post for a number of years. The report was then confirmed by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who as everybody knows - is very close to Mike Shanahan.
Santana Moss first confirmed the news to ESPN-980, saying that Mike Shanahan made the announcement on the field to the entire team, while also revealing captains for the year. Moss, said "they picked the right guy."
In case you were wondering, Moss, London Fletcher, DeAngelo Hall and Lorenzo Alexander (Special Teams) were named captains. Ohh, that's not the news you really care about? Sorry.
Mike Shanahan later confirmed the news to reporters, "The starting quarterback will be, obviously, Rex. The rumors are right."
"I talked to both John and Rex. It's been very competitive all the way through," Shanahan said. As for the timing of the announcement, Shanahan said "I just thought it was the best thing. Wednesday, we can focus on the Giants."
So how long will Rex be the starter? One has to think the rope is not a very long one. Rex is only a bad game, a bad half or maybe a bad public announcement away from not being the starting quarterback anymore. "Obviously your making decisions based for the season. When you pick a guy out, your not going to say 'hey, you think the guy's going to fail.'
The reason I say for now (in the headline), is this. After being around Shanahan for a year-and-a-half -- never, ever rule out anything. Shanahan had prominent members of the national media all convinced that Beck was his guy, going forward after the "Donovan Disaster." Everyone of them, walked out of private meeting time with Shanahan (something not afforded to everyday beat reporters) thinking, saying and writing the same thing. John Beck was going to be the starting quarterback of the Redskins.
Could this be - a poorly conceived public stance to get everybody off the players and coaches backs, all the while, trying to fool the Giants? I doubt it. That would be extremely low-rent in my opinion, but I can't rule it out. Despite any public proclamations. That's the sadistic side of my mind at work -- but you have to allow yourselves that sliver of a possibility.
Beck probably did not handle the tough news well, and maybe because of that - the Redskins did not allow the media to talk to either signal caller. I asked Shanahan how he digested the decision, "I think the same way Rex would. He's one play away from being the starter. He's got a lot of confidence. I've got a lot of confidence in him."
Moss said the Redskins have no choice now, "That's the only two Quarterbacks we got, so you have to have confidence in them."
The preseason is over and the biggest preseason question still doesn't have an official answer. Beck or Grossman? My guess is Grossman but it's really confusing. Beck playing the whole first half against the Bucs with few starters on either side of the ball was for me a sign that they're still not sure about him yet. I don't think he did anything to hurt himself but it probably wasn't going to matter much either way. They must have had a strong lean one way or the other going in. It could be they just wanted Beck to get more playing time. Or it meant that they wanted Rex to stay healthy. Anything's possible with this one. I wouldn't bet on it but if forced to I'd bet Grossman gets the start on opening day.
The good, bad and other from tonight.
1. Brandon Banks--He's one of the premier returners in the league, let's just hope he can stay healthy.
2. Rob Jackson-- I love his speed.
3. Chris Neild-- the 7th rounder holds his ground nicely at nose. Just not sure if he's played adequate competition yet.
4. DJ Gomes-- he's always around the ball.
5. Donte Stallworth-- he's been a pro since he got here. There may not be room for him but he'll play somewhere this year for sure.
1. The Game- 4th preseason game is nearly unwatchable.
2. Banks' Near-Early Celebration-- what a dope play.
3. Tackling-- awful at times in the 2nd half.
1. Gano is 10 for 10 on field goals in the preseason.
2. Why did Banks play so much? Maybe they wanted to see him hold up for an entire game.
3. The Redskins still need more overall speed on the team. They've improved in that area but they could use more.
4. It's really hard to analyze anything in a game where most of your starters sit.