The Washington Post

Shanahan praises Beck’s decision making

Immediately after the Washington Redskinspreseason victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Friday, Coach Mike Shanahan said quarterback John Beck “did a good job.” But for the most part, the coach remained tight-lipped on what he thought of Beck’s first live audition for the Redskins’ starting quarterback job.

Two days later, after reviewing film of Beck’s 14-for-17, 140-yard performance, Shanahan praised the quarterback for his execution and decision making.

“I was pleased with John’s play after looking at the film,” Shanahan said of Beck, who spread the ball around to 10 different pass-catchers while pacing the Redskins on drives of 80, 45, 74 and 84 yards.

Beck didn’t throw a touchdown pass, and only one of the drives led to a touchdown (a 1-yard run by Tim Hightower). The others resulted in Graham Gano field goals. Beck was sacked three times. But Shanahan said he didn’t find fault in Beck’s decision to hold onto the ball those three plays.

“You never know when a guy has a sack if the sack is the quarterback’s fault? Is it the offensive line? Could have made a play?” the coach said. “Good quarterback play is taking a sack when you have to take a sack – not trying to make something happen when you aren’t able to make something happen. I thought John made some good decisions.”

Many of Beck’s decisions involved connecting with receivers on short, quick passes rather than going downfield for possible big gains.

Beck’s longest pass attempt was a 19-yard completion to Jabar Gaffney. A couple of times, it appeared that Beck passed on the opportunity to take a shot down the field and instead scrambled or dumped the ball off to more open receivers.

“The thing that you don’t want to do, if you do go downfield is you don’t want to lose the football game. You’ve got to be patient. Sometimes when they do give you a big play, you’ve got to take advantage of it. But [the Colts] are the type of team that you’ve got to execute your way down the field. They’re a zone team and about 90 percent of the time, if you go to the big play you’re going to get intercepted or get sacked. Next team we play, they may give you big play opportunities because they take chances on the field with blitzes and things. But week in and week out, you have to take what the defense gives you and manage the game.”

Asked if Beck did all of the abovementioned things well, Shanahan replied, “Oh, very much so.”

Shanahan said he hadn’t decided whether Beck or Rex Grossman will start Thursday against Baltimore.

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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