Competition is good for football players, and it's good for football teams. It's good for business and it's good for the consumer. It's good for everyone but Microsoft.
So why isn't there more competition for starting jobs on the Washington Redskins' roster?
The quarterback competition has been great so far for the Redskins. John Beck seems to have pulled into a slight lead after completing 14 of his 17 passes on Friday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Beck didn't score any touchdowns and suffered three sacks, but he was efficient and effective. Rex Grossman has stepped up his game as well, looking much improved from last season. Grossman has one interception to go with his one touchdown, but has completed over 68 percent of his passes for 295 yards. The competition seems to have helped both quarterbacks. With both of them playing perhaps better than anyone expected, Grossman and Beck are making Mike Shanahan's decision very tough.
There are other competitions on the Redskins roster, as there are every preseason, but none as exciting or as wide open as the quarterback position. The kicker competition has already been settled with the incumbent Graham Gano decidedly defeating Shayne Graham without having to turn in much more than just a mediocre performance.
There's also an ongoing competition at the wide receiver position, but not for the starting spots. Santana Moss, Anthony Armstong, and Jabar Gaffney are assured of the top three receiver spots. The only competition is for the spots behind them.
Other positions could benefit from additional competition. The whole team could benefit. We went into this season thinking that Perry Riley would get a shot to replace Rocky McIntosh as the second starting middle linebacker, but that opportunity hasn't materialized for Riley. McIntosh was a surprise re-signing and has immediately stepped back into his starting job. So rather than seeing Riley battle with fellow linebackers Lorenzo Alexander and H.B. Blades for the honor of lining up next to London Fletcher, we're left with the same old consistent, yet underwhelming McIntosh. Riley deserves a chance to play against the first team offense of the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. Why not give it to him?
The Redskins also could have added even more competition to the inside linebacker position by adding seven-year pro and three-time Pro Bowler Lofa Tatupu, but he remains a free agent after leaving his visit to Redskins Park without a contract. I guess we’ve just got to trust Shanahan on this one.
The corner back position is another that should have a bit more competition than has been on display lately at Redskins Park. Josh Wilson has been handed a starting job opposite DeAngelo Hall without ever really earning it. What does Kevin Barnes have to do to earn a start? Barnes has done everything that's been asked of him since arriving in D.C. three years ago. He's leading the team in tackles this preseason, and yet he remains nothing more than a nickel in the eyes of the Shanahans, so far as we can tell.
Perhaps the most surprisingly competition-free area of the team though is the offensive line. Even last year saw a competition between incumbent left guard Derrick Dockery and his eventual replacement Kory Lichtensteiger. Not this year. Former backup Will Montgomery seems to have stumbled his way into the starting center position simply by rating highly on the attributes of Communication and Not Stepping On The Quarterback Like Casey Rabach Always Did.
The Redskins have taken a youthful approach to this offseason. They’ve cut loose a lot of veteran players that some might call dead weight. They’ve made strides in their attempts to eliminate the Culture Of Losing in Ashburn. This organization could still benefit though from some additional competition in the locker room. McIntosh isn’t Microsoft, and Montgomery isn’t Pepco. Let’s make them earn their starting jobs. Make them fight. The results will show on the field.