After Grossman completed his third pass to Eagles safety Kurt Coleman late in the third quarter, Shanahan turned to backup John Beck to begin the fourth, and Beck provided something of a spark with his passing and running. Now, Shanahan is faced with a situation he had hoped to avoid, having yanked Grossman in favor of Beck early in the season and needing to decide whom to start next week. And again, it seems Shanahan has no choice but to give Beck a longer look.
Sticking with Grossman for the entire season was the right move, as long as he didn’t hurt the team, I wrote when Shanahan chose him over Beck. I advocated that Beck start, believing his athleticism could help Washington, and we had seen enough of Grossman last season and during his time with Chicago to have serious doubts about the Redskins succeeding with him.
Changing quarterbacks during a season, though, is among the quickest ways to derail a team. With the game’s most important position, it’s best for coaches to make a decision and go with it. Don’t look back — unless a quarterback’s play demoralizes the team.
“Everybody knows that if you have four picks in a game,” Shanahan said, “good things aren’t going to happen.”
Although Grossman sank to a new low — at least during his brief Redskins tenure — in this showcase NFC East matchup, he also was, well, Rex Grossmantoo often in Washington’s first four games.
He floated many passes that could have resulted in interceptions. He committed some of the same inexplicable turnovers that have marked his career. Bottom line, the Redskins won three of their first four, and that’s what matters most. But when the potential for disaster actually happens during a game in which Washington could have made another strong statement in the division, then something significant needs to be done. Benching Grossman for the final quarter was a move in the right direction — but it was only a start.
Reality is, Grossman needs a perfect environment, or nearly perfect, to function as a serviceable quarterback in this league. Because of injuries, Washington’s offensive line could be in shambles for a long stretch, and Grossman isn’t physically talented enough to overcome that major problem.
Not that Beck is definitely some Redskins savior either. Remember, he lost to Grossman in the preseason quarterback competition. He wasn’t good enough to finish first in a two-man race against a failed starter. Beck, though, is much more athletic than Grossman, which he displayed while working in relief against the Eagles. If Beck protects the ball better than Grossman, regardless of whatever else he does, the Redskins would be better off.