Mike Shanahan praises John Beck’s performance

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan came away from his film study of Washington’s 33-20 loss to the Carolina with a sense of pride in how quarterback John Beck played in his first start for the team.

Beck – who hadn’t started a game since 2007, when he was a rookie with Miami – completed 22 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and an interception on 37 attempts, rushed for a touchdown and had one fumble during a blindside sack.

Beck spread the ball around to eight different receivers and for much of the game was without two of the team’s top targets (tight end Chris Cooley, who missed the game with a broken finger, and receiver Santana Moss, who broke his hand in the game). Shanahan was pleased with how Beck handled the adversity he faced.

“John’s a smart guy. John knows he has to go out there and concentrate on his job, make plays, and I thought he did a great job doing that,” the coach said. “Really proud of the way he played. That’s what he’s got to do. He made some plays with his feet, threw on the run, thought he handled himself well in the drop-back situation. Our goal now is to get a supporting cast around him that can play at a very high level. The better they play, the better he’ll play.”

Beck’s interception came when he and rookie receiver Leonard Hankerson miscommunicated on the pass route that Hankerson was supposed to run. Hankerson never looked back for the pass that Chris Gamble picked off, but Beck took blame for the throw Monday.

Shanahan said the miscue was understandable considering it was the first play of Hankerson’s professional career.

“Hankerson has been making some unbelievable plays in practice, so we put him out there to give him an opportunity,” Shanahan said. “What John did was, he threw the same ball to Hankerson that he did to [Jabar] Gaffney at the end of the first half, and under-threw him for a reason because the corner was playing over the top. Obviously, Leonard thought a little differently. But that’s the nature of this game, it’s going to happen and you just go on. He’ll learn from it, John will learn from it, especially going against a pretty experienced defensive back. That’s the growing pains that goes on with a young player coming in.”

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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