Kyle Shanahan: Redskins quarterback evaluation about more than stats

August 23, 2011

Quarterback John Beck talks with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Grossman and Beck both looked sharp in their initial outings, and Grossman was a little less effective while playing with the second unit in his second preseason game.

In the first game of the preseason, Grossman completed 19 of 26 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions. Beck was injured for that game, but started the next, at Indianapolis, and passed for 140 yards while completing 14 of 17 attempts and although he didn’t throw for a touchdown, he also didn’t turn the ball over. Grossman entered that game in the third quarter and while leading the second team against Indianapolis’s reserves, he completed seven of 12 attempts for 88 yards and threw an interception.

Shanahan says although the quarterbacks are playing in different situations and with different receivers and offensive lines, it’s not hard to judge the passers’ performances.

“It’s tougher for them. We as coaches understand that,” Shanahan said. “We’re not really watching to see what his stats are and how many plays he makes. We’re watching to see each situation he’s in and how he handles it. Sometimes it’s harder when you get some other guys, and they want to make plays, they want to do stuff. But you can’t always. You’ve got to do what the defense allows you to do and do what the offense allows you to do. So, if somebody misses a protection, or a receiver doesn’t get open or something, we understand that. It’s just that you can’t make a bad play, trying to win a job. You have to do your job.”

Grossman’s main negative play was the interception against Indianapolis. He said it could have been avoided easily.

“It was a basic, high school, first-play-of-high-school-football-play that you learn,” Grossman said, shaking his head. “The tight end’s No. 1 over the ball and then the curl flat reads. I just went to go to the tight end and my vision was blocked to that linebacker and he read the play and made a nice jump on it. But I can’t have that. It was just not a very good play. But other than that, it was pretty good. That one was one where you rarely make that mistake.”

Despite the play, Shanahan said, “I thought Rex did a good job.” He pointed out that although Beck didn’t throw an interception, he did miss out on the chance for a big play down the field.

“He only had three incompletions, but there was one where he had a pretty open guy and the ball got tipped,” the offensive coordinator said of Beck. “I think he probably would’ve liked to have it back and get more air under it. But it was a good first step for him.”

The ultimate decision of who wins the starting job will be made by Mike Shanahan, but Kyle Shanahan said he doesn’t have an inkling of which quarterback will win.

“I think both of them in their time playing have done a good job, and they’re making it pretty hard on us.” Kyle Shanahan said. “I’m confident with either one of them to go. Both give us a good chance to win games. I’m hoping one of them separates themselves from the other to make it a little easier on us.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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