The last time Rex Grossman was a starting quarterback in the NFL was 2007, when he was benched after the first three games in Chicago. Now, he has endured stints as a backup with the Bears, the Texans and the Redskins–and a preseason competition with John Beck. Grossman addressed reporters Wednesday for the first time since Coach Mike Shanahan named him the Redskins’ starter for Sunday’s opener against the New York Giants and, Shanahan said, for the 2011 season.
“Throughout this whole thing I wanted to play well and have no regrets about my play,” Grossman said. “My confidence maybe would waver a little bit every once in a while just not sure what they’re going to do. But I wanted to play well and I felt real good about how well I played in the preseason games and in practice.”
Grossman said Shanahan and his son Kyle, the offensive coordinator, made him feel comfortable in their meeting over the weekend.
“They told me in a very confident way that they feel good about me,” Grossman said. “I’m not going to get into the details of exactly what they said, but it definitely gave me a boost of confidence that they had my back.”
In three preseason appearances, Grossman completed 34 of 53 passes (64.2 percent) for 407 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, good for a 92.3 rating. His highest rating in any one regular season came in 2010, when he started the Redskins’ last three games and posted a mark of 81.2.
All that could speak to Grossman’s comfort with the Shanahans’ system, a version of which he ran as the backup in Houston in 2009, when Kyle Shanahan ran the Texans’ offense.
“Learning a new offense is kind of like learning a new language,” Grossman said. “Not only do you have to speak it well, but your body has to go through the progressions, and you can’t think about what you’re doing. Everything happens so fast out there that you have to already know it subconsciously, almost, to go through your progressions. You can’t think: 1, 2, 3. You have to just do it. The longer you’re in an offense, the easier that is. And that’s how I feel right now. …
“From a player’s perspective, it’s all about understanding their philosophy of the offense and understanding how they call plays and what they’re seeing on the field and how they read defenses, and that’s what I’m talking about with the understanding of what your coordinator expects out of you as a quarterback. Having the same coordinator, same system, the more you’re around them and listen to them talk football and how to do things, the better the quarterback will play.”
Grossman seemed grateful for the opportunity, his first true chance as a starter in four years.
“To be the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins is a huge thing,” he said. “I fully understand it, and it’s my goal to take it and run with it. It’s a very exciting time for me, and I feel great about it.”