Ever since Mark Rypien won Super Bowl XXVI MVP honors to cap the 1991 season, the Washington Redskins have been looking for a quarterback to take them back to the promised land.
Since Rypien, 20 quarterbacks have started for the Redskins and all 20 have fallen short.
This week, Rex Grossman proclaimed himself capable of leading the Redskins to the NFC East crown, and that came after John Beck in the last couple of weeks said that he is the man to take over for Donovan McNabb, who appears to be on his way out of town.
Rypien has observed the saga from a distance, and before teeing off at the Mickey Steele Celebrity Golf Tournament in Queenstown, Md., the former passer offered his take on his old team’s quarterback position.
“For all intents and purposes, I thought Donovan was the perfect guy for the job here,” Rypien said. “When you can’t protect your guy, you’re only as good as the guys up front. I don’t care how talented you are. Donovan’s one of the most talented that has ever played the game. The understanding is that’s where it all starts.”
McNabb was benched for the final three games of last season, and Grossman made all three starts. He is a free agent but said he wants to return to the Redskins. Beck was acquired from the Ravens via trade last August but hasn’t taken a regular season snap since 2007. But Rypien said that if the offensive line performs, either quarterback will succeed for the Redskins.
“Grossman and Beck are proclaiming themselves the heir apparent to the throne, and that’s good,” Rypien said. “Competition is very healthy. … Rex has shown he has done some good things, and the young kid is pretty inexperienced but willing to battle for the job, so that’s great. I know when you bring it all out into the open, it looks like two guys can’t stand each other, but really, we’re just competitors, and ever since we grew up, type-A personalities. The uniqueness of that position is you have a whole group of type-A personalities, so some one’s got to rally that group.”
General manager Bruce Allen and other former Redskins took part in the golf tournament, which is named after a friend of Rypien’s, who in 2004 died of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). The tournament raises money for charities that work to improve the lives of children.
Allen said that he has no problem with both Grossman and Beck publicly campaigning for the starting job. But he made sure not to exclude McNabb from the discussion.
“All professional athletes have to have that in their confidence,” Allen said. “They need to have that, and especially at that position, to lead a football team. And there’s no doubt that Donovan McNabb has demonstrated that throughout his career. I think that’s a natural. I think if you talk to any backup quarterback in the league, they’re going to say, ‘I’m ready to start,’ as would last week.”
Allen declined to discuss the specifics of the Redskins’ plan, but like Rypien, he added that other positions must be upgraded to help any of the options at quarterback succeed.
“I think it’s been talked about it enough …. Obviously, Coach feels strongly about John Beck, as he stated to you,” Allen said. “We feel we have some good competition at that position. And it’s not just that position. We have to fill our roster and make sure whoever’s playing quarterback for us can win.”