The Washington Redskins are licking their wounds today after a 20-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that featured the benching of Rex Grossman, the loss of three offensive starters to injury and a defense that had its worst outing of the year.
The Redskin, at 3-2, certainly have time to redeem themselves, but they missed a great opportunity to kick an Eagles team that was down and remain in control of the NFC East.
Here are five observations from Washington’s Week 6 defeat:
1.) Beck’s time should be now
Mike Shanahan said he won’t make his decision on next week’s starter until Wednesday, but the Redskins should go with John Beck at quarterback. Rex Grossman’s performance shouldn’t come as a surprise, and he didn’t gradually get worse. This is who he is: a quarterback capable of managing games here and there, who also has a tendency to slip into some bad habits and cost his team games. He very well could bounce back with a decent performance next week if given the opportunity. But the roller-coaster will continue, because Grossman struggles to take care of the ball. He has flirted with disaster each week this season, and finally paid for it Sunday. That’s not to say Beck will magically change the Redskins’ struggling offense. But with the team’s offensive line banged up, his athleticism and mobility will give Washington a better chance. He definitely provided a spark, though his timing was off, which is understandable considering he’s been running the scout team the last five weeks. It’s worth putting Beck in to see what he can do.
2.) Why Rex may not be done
Having said that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Grossman hang onto his job for a little longer. If Mike Shanahan does stick with Rex, it’s because he believes that at 3-2, the Redskins’ season isn’t lost, and a win next week against one of the most explosive one-win teams out there would put them back on track. From talking to people around the league, there’s a school of thought that it’s too early to make a change. One ugly week this early shouldn’t cause Shanahan to hit the panic button, these folks believe. Remember, Beck did have every opportunity to win the starting job during the preseason, but fell short even though Mike and Kyle Shanahan knew Grossman would have games like these. And they know he has the mental makeup to remain aggressive – even if it is too aggressive at times – and could count on him to rebound this week. But even if Shanahan does go with Beck, don’t be so sure it’s for good. If Beck struggles, can Shanahan go back to Rex? Absolutely. He’s not a fragile guy. He has the mentality to come out gunning as if the benching had never occurred. Another quarterback would be rattled by such an incident.
3.) Penalties – not just interceptions – hurt
The Redskins committed nine penalties for 75 yards, and the first three for a combined 40 yards were the most damaging. Washington picked up a first down, and then a four-yard gain on its second offensive play, but Trent Williams’ holding penalty backed them up almost to the original starting point of the opening drive. Following Grossman’s first interception, the Eagles should have been pinned at their own 3-yard line, but Williams’ unnecessary roughness call gave Philly more breathing room when the ball was placed at the 18. Three plays later, linebacker Brian Orakpo was flagged for roughing the passer – a questionable call, but looking back, it may have been a helmet-to-helmet hit. That all happened in the first four minutes of the game and each incident made the going tougher for the Redskins.
4.) Jammal Brown an option at left tackle?
Look for some moves to shore up the guard position, but it might not be a bad idea to do some shuffling at left tackle either. If Trent Williams is going to miss an extended period of time with that high ankle sprain, it might be a good move to switch Jammal Brown from right tackle to left and to put Sean Locklear at right tackle, where he started 78 of 98 games for the Seattle Seahawks during the first seven seasons of his career. Brown has had some struggles at right tackle and is more comfortable at left tackle, where he made the Pro Bowl twice as a member of the New Orlean Saints. Also, Brown says he is more mobile when moving to his left rather than his right (the same side as his surgically repaired hip).
5.) No rest for the weary
What ever happened to the Redskins having one of the easiest schedules in the league? Washington has to quickly regroup because up ahead are the Carolina Panthers – who may own a 1-5 record, but have hung with the likes of Arizona, Green Bay, New Orleans and Chicago. Then come the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers, who both rank among this season’s surprise teams.