- Jason Reid
Redskins’ John Beck begins to validate Shanahans’ belief in him
But this much was revealed: Beck seems capable of running Coach Mike Shanahan’s offense. He knows what offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan expects of him. The Shanahans’ confidence in Beck, privately questioned even among employees at Redskins Park, may not be crazy after all.
In an efficient preseason debut Friday night, Beck didn’t do anything to embarrass himself or his supportive mentors during a 16-3 victory against Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I thought he did a good job,” Mike Shanahan said of Beck. “It’s nice to give him some playing time . . . and finally get a chance to go live.”
Held out of Washington’s preseason opener against Pittsburgh because of a groin injury, Beck watched Rex Grossman, also competing for the starting job, play well statistically in a victory. Beck got his turn against the Colts and he provided more for the Shanahans to consider as he played the entire first half.
He connected on 14 of 17 pass attempts. Beck had 140 yards, no turnovers and finished with a strong 101.0 passer rating.
His best work occurred in producing points.
Behind Beck, the Redskins took a 16-0 halftime lead. They scored on their first four possessions — including the first two against the Colts’ first-team defense — during the opening two quarters, getting a short touchdown run from top back Tim Hightower and three short Graham Gano field goals.
There were no big-yardage plays from the quarterback position. Beck’s longest gain was a 23-yarder to wide receiver Donte Stallworth. He took what was there and completed check-down passes instead of taking risks downfield.
“I’m antsy to see the tape to see things I can improve on,” Beck said. “I know there’s gonna be a lot of things I can take from this and say, ‘All right, we can tweak this.’ But it felt good to just get out and play again.”
Beck would have preferred to end the scoring drives with touchdowns instead of field goals. Beck didn’t deliver a signature moment.
Thing is, that’s not what Friday was about for Beck.
After waiting so long for a real chance to lead a team, after wondering whether his shot would ever come, Beck did enough to maintain solid footing in his ongoing competition with Grossman, who entered after halftime and completed 7 of 12 passes for 88 yards and an interception before giving way to third-stringer Kellen Clemens. Instead of taking a desperate approach, trying for home runs when the defense dictated going for singles, Beck simply directed the offense as the Shanahans expected him to do.
His steadiness won’t be lost on the Shanahans, who know what they want.
Smartly, they helped Beck with their play-calling, enabling him to ease into his big preseason moment.
Hightower rushed on Washington’s first two plays from scrimmage. On the third play, Beck completed a 19-yard pass through the middle to wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who was tackled at the 1-yard line. Three plays later, Hightower scored to help Washington take a 7-0 lead.