Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan faced questions following Washington's 20-9 loss to Miami on Sunday — the first time Shanahan has lost five straight games in his career — about his decision to start Rex Grossman over John Beck at quarterback. The following is Shanahan's session with the media on that subject:
How did you make the decision to go back to Rex?
“We’re going to make decisions that we think give us the best chance to win. Before the game, we decided to go in that direction.”
You said after last week you would stick with Beck. What changed?
“That was my intention, to stick with John. I took a look at the situation relative to some guys that we had go down, that might not be able to play, and I thought Rex gave us the best chance to win.”
Related to practice?
“Yeah, I was going to take a look at them during the week and make a decision at the end of the week.”
How do you go forward now? Is it a week-to-week situation?
“Well we’re still going to do the same thing. We’re going to look at the scenario, what gives us the best chance to win, and make the decision based on that.”
Did they go 50/50 with the first team?
“Yes. Yes. And they did take some scout team [snaps].”
When did you tell them?
How did John take it?
“Took it well.”
You talked about supporting cast last week. Did you have a change of heart regarding the supporting cast and how it affected John’s play, or was it your assessment of his play?
“Well, I think going into the game, when Jammal went down, put John in a situation where we had a number of players go down, with his experience, I thought it was in our best interest to go with the guy that I thought would give us the best chance to win the game, and that was Rex.”
What did you think of Rex today?
“I think he’d like to have that one in that red zone back, but I thought the other throw that he had to Hankerson was a great throw, anticipation. Hankerson obviously went down. But it’s disappointing. Any time you get in the red zone three times, your defense does a pretty good job to get you down there twice, and we move the ball and make a mistake, you got to make those plays to win football games.”
If Rex gave you the best chance this week, why didn’t he last week?
“Like I said; We’re going to make decisions that are based on what goes on during the week, who we’re going against, practice, injuries, all those type things. Regardless, if it’s in the linebacker position, the wide receiver position, we’re going to make decisions based on what gives us the best chance to win.”
Still no touchdowns. How frustrating, and why does that happen?
“Well, I’m sure you were there. One time we had a holding call. Two times we were down there we had two holding calls, one obviously kept us from going in, the other one we had a chance. But you got to make those plays. I think we were 0 for 3 in the red zone, and that’s why we didn’t score a touchdown.”
Have you been in this situation before, where it’s been week to week with your quarterback?
“I don’t know if I’ve been in a situation where I’ve been in this situation before, where we have a number of people go down, and you’re playing with an inexperienced quarterback and you just don’t want to throw him to the wolves. You go with more of an experienced guy that has dealt with these situations. I didn’t want to put John in a situation where we had a number of guys down, and with his experience, especially over the last two weeks, I didn’t think that was the right thing to do.”
Did veterans come to you during the week and say they wanted Rex to play?
Are you saying because Jammal Brown went down last week against San Francisco led you to change the quarterback?
“No. The play that we’ve had the last two weeks on offense, plus you get a guy like Jammal going down, a guy like Niles Paul going down, you take a look at what gives you the best chance to win, and that’s why we went in that direction. It’s just not one guy or two guys. You evaluate it through the week, and you go with what you think gives you the best chance to win, just like we did at the linebacker position.”