On the Redskins’ second possession, Beck made plays while helping Washington extend its lead to 10-0. Needing eight yards on third down from the Colts’ 42-yard line, Beck completed a nine-yard pass to wide receiver Anthony Armstrong.
In the first quarter of his first start, Beck completed 7 of 9 passes for 73 yards. He had a 100.5 passer rating. More importantly, the offense kept moving. The Redskins have to improve their offensive efficiency this season, and positive reinforcement always helps.
If the Shanahans pick Grossman as the starter to open the season, they’re taking the safe route, and sometimes that’s the best course. Grossman has started 34 games, including three for Washington last season. His résumé includes a Super Bowl appearance. He’s beginning his ninth NFL season.
Presumably, Grossman’s experience could provide a sense of stability – at the game’s most important position – for a franchise learning a lot about itself while undergoing major roster turnover. There’s nothing wrong with that.
The Redskins, however, don’t have the luxury of playing it safe. Not now.
Not with the heavy workload Shanahan still faces to restore belief in a franchise that hasn’t consistently provided reason for optimism in a long time. Not with a fan base that continues to support the organization despite only three playoff appearances in the past 12 seasons. And not with Shanahan needing to jump-start his restoration program after the Donovan McNabb setback in Year One.
Shanahan came to Ashburn with a three-year plan, Redskins people tell you. He quickly determined what needed to be done and set out to do it, but now he’s playing catch-up because of the McNabb mistake.
If everything you hear about Beck is correct, he could provide a needed spark. If Mike and Kyle are right about his supposed high ceiling, Beck could help them get back on track. The Shanahans will need some good fortune to get the Redskins turned around, and perhaps Beck will play a big part in providing a bridge to better times.
On Friday, Beck may have taken another step in doing just that. The Shanahans will ultimately determine if he’s given a chance to get there.