He’s like an egg, John Beck. Get out that three-minute timer and watch him cook. Who knew? Last week in Toronto, he also looked like an egg: Humpty Dumpty, to be precise, as he was sacked nine or 10 times, or maybe more. The Mounties are now reviewing the game film. It looked like it would take all of Shanny’s doctors and all of Shanny’s trainers to put him back together again, but it turns out he’s a tough egg.
He also seems to be a good egg. He doesn’t complain — about injuries, sacks, bad breaks — and he doesn’t blame anyone else for his mistakes and misfortunes. He knows this is his shot. He knows Rex Grossman is lurking on the sideline, waiting for his next shot. When it comes to lurking and waiting, Grossman’s a champion. He knows he’ll eventually get his shot again because he always has.
Beck knows that when this stint is over, he’s destined for the waiting game again. His highlight reel isn’t going to make some general manager Skype Bruce Allen, offering draft picks and Pro Bowlers.
Right now, his highlight reel consists of those three minutes in heaven. What was that, a radioactive spider bite? If so, where can the Redskins acquire more radioactive spiders? This is Washington; you know somewhere there’s a lab guy right now doublechecking his inventory, just in case.
Whatever it was, Beck suddenly looked calm, firm, decisive. He found open receivers — really, for the first time all afternoon. He threw closer to their numbers than to the ground, which was a nice change of pace. And he finally found the end zone.
But of course, Beck is still waiting for a win — as a Redskin and as a starting quarterback — and he’s clearly still learning the position as it’s played by a starter, not by the guy holding the clipboard and going to meetings. After the Buffalo game, he heard from everyone in two countries that he needed to release the ball quicker. He did that Sunday — he was sacked just once — but as a result often missed open receivers. As a result, his longest completion was 17 yards to Roy Helu, during his three-minute drill.
Helu was a bright spot Sunday, with a franchise-record 14 receptions. Graham Gano kicked a 59-yard field goal, also a franchise record — did anyone think that was going through? — and then didn’t know whether to celebrate or not, given his team’s current state, so he jumped a little, then stopped, then jumped a little.
But when you have to sift through the record books for bright spots, it’s a dark day. When your offense only clicks for three minutes of a 60-minute game, you’re in trouble. The Redskins have to find a way to get that Three-Minute Beck for about 30 minutes.
Whatever Kyle Shanahan said to him before that final drive, whatever plays he called, whatever spiders they set loose, they have to duplicate that. Because if Beck is their guy — and he appears to be — they have to find a way to make him better every week, and for more than three minutes at a time. You know what they say: When life gives you an egg, make egg salad.