As he enters the final game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman said that his confidence is “at an all-time high.”
Grossman has thrown 15 touchdown passes and 2,895 yards – both the second-highest totals for his career -- and has completed 58.8 of his passes (a career best). But he also has 19 interceptions – he has thrown at least one in 11 consecutive games -- and five fumbles while the Redskins went 5-7 in the 12 games he has started.
But Grossman -- who started the first five games of the season, was benched for three, then reclaimed his starting job for the last seven and will start the finale against Philadelphia -- said he feels good about the Redskins’ offense. He draws encouragement from the way his unit has moved the ball and from his own play, particularly in the second half of the season. And, he believes that next season he and the Redskins – if they choose to re-sign him as a free agent in the offseason – can make real progress.
“My confidence level is at an all-time high. I just need to eliminate a couple of bad plays here and there that deter a great performance,” Grossman said. “I’ve done a lot of good things this year. We’ve done a lot of great things this year. Just the consistency level, the percentage of bad plays need to do down. I think you’ve seen that for the most part, as far as production for the last six weeks or so, we’ve been putting up a decent amount of points, moving the ball at a consistent pace.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan obviously remains confident in Grossman.
When asked if there was any way that John Beck – who replaced Grossman as starter for three games -- would play at quarterback on Sunday, Shanahan said, only “if Rex gets hurt. We play to win. We’re going to play the best players.”
For the season, the Redskins rank 14th in the NFL in passing offense with 3,526 yards a game. Washington is 26th in the league in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per outing. But in their last six games, Grossman & Co. have put up 22.6 points a game.
Grossman has thrown at least two touchdown passes in four of those six games. But during the same stretch, he has tossed eight picks.
“It’s just the negative plays,” Grossman said. “Eliminate that, get everybody healthy, the whole offseason for a third-time, everybody going through everything, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this offense is going to have a great year next year, just for the fact that we’re getting everybody healthy and everybody fully understanding what’s going on. It’s just sometimes, offenses take a while.”
The Redskins’ lengthy list of injured starters includes tight end Chris Cooley, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, receiver Leonard Hankerson and running back Tim Hightower, all of whom were lost for the season at various points during the year.
Grossman said he doesn’t worry about his status as a free agent, or the strong likelihood that Washington will try to draft a quarterback this spring.
“When I go out and play on Sunday, I’m not worried about any of that,” the nine-year veteran said. “I go out and try to play for my teammates, coaches and this organization to go out there and win. When I look at my situation, I’m trying to make the best of it at every possible scenario.”
Grossman would like to return to the Redskins, but if he has to test the free agenct market, he feels good about his body of work this season.
“I feel like I’ve put a lot of good tape out there,” the quarterback said. “Obviously, I’ve had some turnovers. Some I could control, some I couldn’t. There’s a lot of good tape out there also, so we’ll see.”