“I believe in both these quarterbacks,” Mike Shanahan said in November. “And I’ve got to give them the right supporting cast. That’s my job, and I’m going to give them the right supporting cast, but both guys will get the job done.”
Well, the job is now done, as it were, allowing us to total up some final 2011 statistics. Rex Grossman had 20 interceptions. John Beck had 4 interceptions. Grossman lost 5 fumbles. Beck lost 1 fumble. That’s a combined 30 turnovers for the two quarterbacks Mike Shanahan put his reputation on.
How does this compare to the musical chairs worth of quarterbacks the Redskins have trotted out for the past two decades?
Well, by my count, it’s the most turnovers from the quarterback position in Washington since 1994, when Heath Shuler, John Friesz and Gus Frerotte combined to turn the ball over 31 times. (Brian Mitchell also threw an interception that season, if you want to make it 32.) Washington was -17 in turnover differential that season, the last time they did worse than 2011’s -14 mark.
That means Grossman and Beck turned the ball over more than Frerotte and Jeff Hostetler, who combined for 26 turnovers in 1997.
It means Grossman and Beck turned the ball over more than Brad Johnson and Jeff George, who combined for 25 turnovers in 2000.
It means Grossman and Beck turned the ball over more than Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey and Danny Wuerffel, who combined for 26 turnovers in 2002.
It means Grossman and Beck turned the ball over more than Jason Campbell and Todd Collins did in the entire 2007 and 2008 seasons, combined, when the Redskins’ QBs had just 28 total turnovers.
As Barry Svrluga recently wrote, no Mike Shanahan coached team had ever turned the ball over more than 32 total times. The Redskins coughed it up 35 times this season.
(The above photo, by the way, came after a fourth-quarter fourth-down incompletion on Sunday, and not a turnover. But it still seemed apropos.)