The Washington Redskins will play in their third game of the preseason Thursday, a contest that generally provides the most insight into what can be expected for the regular season.
But John Beck and Rex Grossman still don’t know where they stand in the team’s quarterback competition. They remain unsure even about who will start the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
Starters usually play for three quarters in the third preseason game before backups take over. Grossman and Beck both would like their share of opportunities to further prove themselves to coaches, but say they can’t allow themselves to worry about how Mike Shanahan will divide snaps.
“I’m sure coach has a plan, but he hasn’t announced it to us, yet,” Beck said. “But I can’t necessarily worry about that because I have no control over that decision. All I have control over is the way that I play, and I’m looking forward to doing my best.”
Said Grossman: “I’m not sure. I just work here,” he offered with an awkward chuckle. “I don’t know. … It is what it is. I’m not worried about it too much right now. I’m just trying to get ready to play Baltimore and having a good game. I’m not focused on that ‘John and Rex’ stuff right now. I’m just trying to have fun.”
Grossman looked sharp in the preseason opener, connecting on 19 of 26 pass attempts for 207 yards and a touchdown with the first unit. Friday against the Colts, he played the third quarter and part of the fourth, going 7-for-12 for 88 yards and an interception. Shanahan said he was pleased with Grossman’s play, attributing some of the dropoff to Grossman playing with young receivers, who weren’t as knowledgeable about their roles in the offense.
Obviously, Grossman would have preferred to be evaluated under the same circumstances as Beck, who, while working with the first unit, completed 14 of 17 passes for 140 yards. But Grossman said he can’t worry about which unit he is told to run as he continues to battle for the job.
“You approach everything as you’re grading yourself,” he said. “That’s all I’m worried about, and that’s doing my job. Everything else should take care of itself after that.”
Shanahan has said that he likely won’t announce the decision on who wins the Redskins’ starting job until just before the first game of the season, although there are rumblings that the coach already has his mind made up.
As with Thursday’s starting decision, the coach hasn’t tipped his hand to the quarterbacks regarding the timeline for settling on the regular season starter.
“I don’t really have any clue what the timeframe is, but I’ll be ready to go,” said Grossman. “I’m just trying to get ready for Baltimore and I just do what I’m told and stay ready either way.”
Beck basically has the same mindset.
“Really, coach probably knows what he has planned, but we as quarterbacks, in our meetings, just talk about making the most of our opportunities,” Beck said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen but I just want to do my best when I do get that chance.”