“Especially when you have a young guy like him. He’s a guy you can rally around for the next 10, 12 years.”
Washington has made strides since Shanahan arrived. The organization has drafted wisely and made shrewd decisions in free agency. To be sure, there are reasons for optimism about Shanahan’s direction.
Until the Redskins get it right at quarterback, however, they can only go so far. Their shortcomings there are too big for the rest of the roster to overcome.
The other pieces are much easier to attain. Shanahan has proven as much in erring badly on Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman, who was benched in the fifth game because he made the mistake of doing what he has done throughout his career: He committed too many turnovers.
Beck has the job now, in large part, because Grossman gave the football to opponents too often. Beck is much more athletic than Grossman, and the Redskins capitalized on his skills in play-calling, using play-action passing and rollouts against the Panthers.
In addition to trying to retain the top role this season, Beck also is auditioning to be a place-holder for the current college quarterback the Redskins are expected to draft.
“First time out, he’s always gonna have some growing pains, that’s the nature of the business when you start playing,” Shanahan said. “But you can see his athleticism, his quick release. He was poised in there throughout the game. [He did] different things that you’re looking for a guy to do.”
Then there was Newton, who “made some plays that most quarterbacks don’t make,” Shanahan continued. “He did a great job with his feet. He hung in the pocket. He made some throws that you don’t see very many pros make, especially a young player. That was one of the better days I’ve seen any rookie quarterback have.”
Obviously, Newton is extremely gifted. It could turn out that he’s a once-in-a-generation quarterback. Eventually, though, the Redskins must find one of their own for this generation.