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Posted at 01:57 PM ET, 05/18/2011

Rex Grossman weighs in on Quarterback Controversy Lite


Rex Grossman thinks he should be the starter. (Jonathan Newton / THE WASHINGTON POST)

Updated at 3:55 p.m.

Quarterback Controversy Lite rages on. Greg Cosell has analyzed John Beck’s game. Donovan McNabb, in an appearance today, called Wristbandgate “amazing” and said, “I want to stay in D.C. Maybe I’ll play for the Nationals.”

But where, in all this, is Rex Grossman, the starter the final three games of last season? On ESPN 980, of course. He told Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan (listen here) that, among other things:

He feels that he is the starting quarterback and hopes to re-sign with the Redskins;

McNabb doesn’t like wearing a wristband and neither does he;

He’d be very surprised if McNabb were back with the team;

He isn’t at all bothered by Beck’s confidence and reports about how much the Shanahans like Beck’s game;

He was “a little” surprised the team didn’t draft a quarterback;

He thinks the Redskins can be one of those surprise teams and win the NFC East. He said, “I really believe that and it isn’t just lip service.”

Now, the quick hits from the show:

Grossman was asked about McNabb’s reported refusal to wear a wristband containing plays. “I don’t really recall that. I personally don’t like wearing a wristband, but that’s just traditional. Some teams do it. Some people like it. Some quarterbacks like it. Obviously, Donovan didn’t like it., so he didn’t want to do that. I don’t think think it was a major issue, a big problem with the coaching staff. I’m not sure where that came from, actually.”

Grossman specified that he’d spoken to McNabb about the issue, but had no firsthand knowledge of any conflict.

“I just had conversations with him about wearing a wristband and I know that he told me that he doesn’t like to do that. That’s all I know. I don’t know their discussions or what they asked him to do. Obviously, if they asked him and really wanted him to do it and he outright refused, then it’s an issue, but I don’t know any of that firsthand.”

Grossman did not wear a wristband. “No, I didn’t. I’ve been around the offense a little while and had a full offseason last year and was able to know exactly what the playcalls were. It wasn’t an issue and they never asked me to wear one.”

Grossman is approaching the season, whenever it begins, as if he will be the starter — whether he’s right or wrong about that.

“If you’re asking me, I definitely feel like I’m the starter, but I’m not even signed yet so I’m assuming a lot of things here. I feel like I’m coming into the prime of my experience and I know exactly what I can do well, what my weaknesses are and what my strengths are and how it relates to this offense. I’ve been in a lot of situations, crucial games. I’ve played in a Super Bowl. I feel like I’m so much better than I was then that I’d love the opportunity to have a full season with this offense and have a whole season to really feel like this is my team. That’s my goal and that’s what I want to happen. I’m assuming a lot of things here, that I’m signed and they’re going to do all those things. At the same time, I don’t see why it doesn’t make great sense.”

Obviously, Beck feels the same way. Grossman doesn’t seem fazed by that — it’s a fact of life in the NFL and a personality trait among athletes. “He’s a great guy. He definitely works hard and is eager for his opportunity. I feel like every single player in the NFL, if you don’t feel like you’re a starter, you shouldn’t be in the business. He’s no different from anyone else around the league, trying to do whatever you can to put yourself on the starting lineup.”

Beck has been doing a lot of talking over the last couple of weeks.

“I think he’s leaving no stone unturned. He’s doing everything he can to put himself out there. You’re not going to be perceived as a starter unless you say it, I guess. If he doesn’t say it, no one else is going to say it. I know that the coaches appreciate his hard work and think he’s pretty talented and are not quite sure what he can do. This is the time of year that you prove or not prove that you can do those things. He’s not benefitting from this lockout at all.”

But Grossman, if he had to say who should be the starter, well ...

“Well, I mean, I’m not going to say John Beck. I’m going to say me if I’m going to pick somebody. I would like for this to be answered by the coaches and set up by competition. ... Nobody just picks somebody. The best player finds his way to the field. I truly believe that and it has a way of working itself out, so nobody has to just randomly pick somebody. It’ll work itself out and hopefully I’ll be the guy.

“I’ve got an NFL lockout to get set, and I’ve actually got to have a contract. I don’t even know if all that is going to happen. I still remain positive. I’m an optimistic guy. I feel like I’m the best guy and I’ll be excited when the season rolls around.”

McNabb, most likely, will not. Grossman was asked if he’d be surprised if McNabb were on the team. “[With a laugh] I don’t know. I actually texted Donovan today. We had a back and forth. I’d be a little surprised. I think that it goes both ways. I think he’s ready to move on and I think they are, too. I’m not sure if he’s going to be there. He might be. He’s definitely got a lot of credibility behind him.”

But ... he’d be surprised, no?

“I’d be surprised.”

Grossman did empathize with McNabb’s problems with the Redskins. “It was tough for being in one system for 11 years and having all that muscle memory for how you play and you went to Pro Bowls and a lot of different NFC Championship games and made it to a Super Bowl in one offense. It gears you to play a certain way and a certain style. I think maybe the transition was a little harder than he thought it was going to be.”

There were frustrations, Grossman said, between McNabb and the Shanahans.

“Near the end definitely [there was tension]. Any time you’re involved in an NFL season, there’s going to be hurdles and some tough times you have to get past. Near the end of the year it got a little bit strained, I guess, especially when they put me in. Some of the comments his agent made, that really didn’t sit well. For the most part he’s such a good person and so easy to talk to and such a good guy, that in the meeting rooms, everything was fine. It was more maybe some one-on-one meetings that they had that they disagreed upon some things. They kept everything behind closed doors between themselves. In the meeting rooms ... everything was fine.”

As for Grossman’s future with the team, re-signing with the Redskins is, he said, “a little bit complicated,” given the lockout. “I’m going about it assuming I’ll be a Redskin. That’s why I’m coming up next week to throw with the team. ... I’ll be a part of it.”

Before the lockout began, Grossman said his agent had spoken with the Redskins. “I’d talked to Kyle Shanahan and Matt LeFleur, the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, and we had good discussions. They definitely wanted me to stay throwing with the team and being involved and staying in shape and getting in with the playbook and everything. We had positive discussions. My agent had talked to Bruce Allen and things never evolved into a contract, but it was positive. I’m not quite sure what all that means, but I’m assuming it’s all good.”

THE FUTURE BECK-ONS:

From the Bog:

“I’m thinking I’m the starter

Already being a leader

Skin like an armadillo

From Mike Jones:

Beck’s chance may be near

From Jason Reid:

All in with Beck

By  |  01:57 PM ET, 05/18/2011

 
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