For some Redskins fans, even the thought of seeing another appearance of Rex Grossman, starting quarterback is about as appealing as watching a Cowboys-Ravens Super Bowl with Deion Sanders and Adam Archuleta while listening to Larry Michael read ads for Johnny Rockets into a broken PA system.
And yet, I’m just now listening to Kyle Shanahan’s appearance on ESPN 980’s Sports Fix last week, and he takes a more nuanced view of Grossman. The introductory question from Kevin Sheehan concerned whether the younger Shanahan is as confident in Grossman now as he was a year ago.
“Yeah, definitely,” the offensive coordinator said. “I feel pretty much the same way about Rex now as I did a year ago. I know Rex needs to get better. Everybody wants a franchise quarterback, but unfortunately there’s only about 10 of ‘em on the planet. So people make a lot of mistakes, trying to trade their draft away or pay a lot of money to people who really aren’t that.
“You’ve got to be able to evaluate, you’ve got to make sure you get the best guy possible. Everybody wants one of those 10 guys, but you don’t just go get one of those 10 guys when they’re not available.
“Rex, to me, he did do some good things here this year. He helped us move the ball. We lost seven starters out of 11 on offense, and despite that he was able to still move us up and down the field. Now, he had way too many turnovers. He kept both teams in the game. He gave us a chance to make plays, but he also gives them too many plays, too. And that’s a very tough combination to win with.
“When you look at our team, I think Rex CAN be better. I think that starts with getting him to be smarter with the ball. But the one thing I give Rex credit, is he gave us a chance to win games. We do need to get better at that position, he needs to play better, but until you can find a better guy, you’ve also got to get better guys around him, where you don’t have to feel like Rex needs to make all the plays to get us to win.”
Then Shanahan cited the oft-used statistic that he also mentioned to Mike Jones last week: that no Redskins receiver caught a Grossman pass in the field of play and ran it into the end zone until Week 16.
“We’ve got to get some guys that can make some plays on their own, and turn a little shallow up into a big play and score some points,” Shanahan said. “When we took Rex out those three games, we stopped moving the ball, we stopped making plays. So I know Rex has got to do a lot better, he cannot turn the ball over like that if he wants a chance to win, but to give Rex some credit, he was also the best playmaker that we had on the field.”