Earlier this week, both Jabar Gaffney and Santana Moss offered fairly strong endorsements for Rex Grossman to keep his starting job. After those comments, I told Brian Mitchell I thought it was interesting that teammates would stick their necks out for Grossman, and he disagreed, saying teammates will always say generically nice things about fellow starters.
But I thought these comments went beyond the generically nice, and represented an actual preference for the known quantity (Grossman) over the unknown mystery (Beck). And I think so even more after listening to Brian Orakpo’s thoughts on the subject.
Now, Orakpo was talking on Tuesday’s John Thompson Show, before Coach Mike Shanahan named his starter. But I was occupied all day Wednesday, and am just hearing these comments now, and they’re pretty definite. Orakpo, asked about the quarterback situation, could have punted. Instead, he threw the ball downfield.
“Obviously any team, regardless of offense/defense, you obviously want a quarterback that’s gonna facilitate the game properly, and is gonna make the plays necessary and know how to manage the game,” Orakpo said. “That’s what any quarterback, in all teams around the league, are managed and supposed to do.
“So in the situation with Grossman, obviously he had a bad day. He had a bad day. But that’s no reason to go ahead and make changes and all this other stuff that goes along with it, because everybody has a bad day. And that’s my honest opinion. We’re not a team that’s rebuilding. We’re a playoff-caliber team. We’re a team that’s trying to win games to get to that pinnacle and reach that Super Bowl, and we’re not a team that’s gonna throw somebody in and just hope for the best. Right now we’re in a great position.”
Thompson then chimed in, pointing out that Orakpo seemed to be advocating for Rex to keep his job.
“Yeah, my opinion, I just feel like quarterbacks are gonna have a bad day,” Orakpo agreed. “He had a bad day. And obviously he wishes he could take it back. And we’ve just got to move forward and move past it and get ready for Carolina. All this other stuff that goes along with who should be starting or not, I just feel like we should just keep the same guys and let’s just keep rolling. We’ll be fine.”
Obviously the decision-makers disagreed. But when one of the team’s most important players, on the other side of the ball, would publicly choose sides in the quarterback debate, you have to wonder how Shanahan’s decision was received in private.