Well then. That was another swing and miss in year two of the Mike Shanahan regime with the Washington Redskins when it comes to the most important position on the field: quarterback. First, he missed big with Donovan McNabb, and now -- shocker -- Rex Grossman turns it over too much to be trusted. His four interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday was just the icing on the cake. Now, the coach is handing the reins over to a guy that has not started a game since 2007 in John Beck.
Raise your hand if you are surprised it came to this before the midway point of the season. Rex put your hand down. I even mentioned last week in this column that I was shocked it did not happen yet.
Raise your hand if you thought in mid-October that Rex Grossman would still be the Redskins' starter and [Danny O'Brien] might be on the bench.
OK, sure, Deion Sanders must be stunned. Shockingly, there is at least one high profile person defending Rex besides Rex here in D.C. Former Redskins QB Joe Theismann went to the DC airwaves to defend Rex, as the D.C. Sports Bog points out.
"I just don't agree with the decision to start John Beck," Theismann told Mike Wise and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan. "I thought he did a good job making plays last week against Philadelphia, but when you sit down and study the interceptions that Rex threw - this sounds like a quarterback talking, I know - not all of them were his fault...andI just think that this is a little bit of a quick hook, to be perfectly honest with you."
By the way, Beck will be the 26th quarterback to start for the Redskins since Theismann's leg was shattered on Monday Night Football almost 25 years ago.
In this week's edition of Chain Reactions, we explain why the decision to bench Rex had to be made, how the Redskins' defense is dominating, why Redskins fans should not be cheering McNabb's latest setback and a transaction that makes you wonder if Vinny Cerrato is back in the NFL.
Time for Beck Bandwagon
The time is right for John Beck to become the starter. It is a moment that everyone predicted in the preseason. Remember the "John Grossman" and "Rex Beck," or "Beckman" talk in August? Don't forget: Beck is the guy most thought Mike Shanahan wanted to start in the offseason and Kyle Shanahan "stood on a chair for" in Houston. So let's find out about Beck before the offseason. Can it be worse than Grossman? Either way, the safe money is the Redskins' quarterback of the future is still playing on Saturdays right now.
The Redskins need a quarterback to make the most of each and every possession, not give the opponent a short field or give up a chance at points. They also probably need someone with mobility like Beck thanks to the offensive line injuries. This offense is not loaded with playmakers and will never be mistaken for the Packers, Patriots or Saints. The guy under center has to be real careful with the football, and that is not something Rex has ever excelled at in his career.
"There's always going to be mistakes made in the game, but you can't constantly turn the football over," Shanahan said. "And if you do, you're going to lose your opportunity to lead the football team."
Lets be clear: despite the Redskins' 3-2 record, Grossman was regressing from his week one opener against the Giants. You have to believe the Shanahans were concerned even before Sunday's 4 pick performance. Rex has been spinning "turnovers happen for a reason," and are not always just the quarterback. Fine, but whatever the reason, it seems to find him his entire career. He also ranked only in front of Kerry Collins in quarterback rating. Amazing the Redskins are a game above .500.
I expect Beck to do well Sunday at Carolina. The Panthers have the worst defense in the NFL. Look for him to tuck and run at the first time of trouble rather than throwing into coverage.
Defense is Doing their Job
Certainly, five games does not make a season -- remember the Redskins were 3-2 at this point last season. However, there is no denying the Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense has undergone an Extreme Makeover: NFL Defense Edition. I know coaches preach that you win and lose as a team. Sure, that's nice, but let's be real here: the defense had no hand in either losses.
They kept Dallas out of the end zone on their home field in the Monday Night Football loss. On Sunday, despite an offense that could not stay on the field, they kept the Eagles to 20 points and shut them out in the second half. The Skins defense currently ranks third in the most important statistic points allowed (16.6 points per game). Only the Ravens and 49ers are better.
The only criticism you can have of them is they can't cover botched shotgun snaps very well. If the Panthers did their homework, they will at least call for 4-5 bad snaps on Sunday. I know there must be a weakness in the numbers right? Well they are sixth overall in total defense, ninth against the pass, 11th against the run and second in stopping teams on third downs. Let's hope the injury bug avoids this unit.
McNabb's Benching is Redskins' Loss Too
I was a little miffed to see the celebration on twitter from many Redskin fans over Donovan McNabb's struggles in Minnesota. Many think it validates Mike Shanahan's decision to send him packing. I kind of understand, but Shanahan also gave up two picks to get the guy here from Philadelphia. Also, it should be pointed out that the guy he felt could replace him has been benched. Shanahan has a 0-2 count on him in finding his signal caller.
More importantly with the benching is that it seems highly unlikely the Redskins will get more out of the deal than a sixth-round pick in 2012. The 2013 pick was conditional sixth rounder and the guess here is the condition had nothing to do with him being benched in Week 7. For those scoring at home, it was a second rounder -- the 37th overall pick in 2010 (Nate Allen) -- and a fourth-rounder (104th overall) this past April that the Eagles traded to Tampa Bay and then took tight en Luke Stocker. So to make a long story short: they lost in that deal, and that is nothing to cheer about.
Evidence the New Boss is Not the Same as the Old Boss
The Carson Palmer trade to the Oakland Raiders was a steal by the Cincinnati Bengals, as they got a first-rounder and either be a first- or second-rounder in 2013. It is a deal that cannot be blamed on Al Davis. So there is only one conclusion: Vinny Cerrato is running the show in Oakland. OK, too easy I know.
However, let us not forget Vinny wanted to give up two first-round picks for Chad Ochocinco when he was still Chad Johnson. You could also argue that if Vinny was still running the show here, the Palmer trade was a move the Redskins would have made with their desperate quarterback situation.
Of course, you could argue the new regime of Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan had their Vinny moment last year in the McNabb deal. However, giving up a second and fourth is not like giving up the freight the Raiders just gave up for a guy that is not likely to make them Super. I'm glad it was not the Redskins that got burned by the Bengals of all teams.