For a franchise that has a storied history of quarterback competitions, the Rex Grossman vs. John Beck match-up is not about to make anyone forget about the Jurgenson/Kilmer controversies. Fortunately, it is slightly better than Shane Matthews and Danny Wuerffel. But only slightly. They say the numbers are down at Ashburn, but can you blame the fans? Would you want to go out and see this? At least they are not showing up chanting for Kyle Orton.
In this edition of Chain Reactions, we cover all things about the Redskins' training camp and try to provide some reasons for people to remember that it is still baseball season in DC.
Rex Grossman In: Let's Get Ready to Rumble
A week of having the offense to himself is about to end for Beck, the journeyman signal caller that Mike Shanahan is sticking his neck out for this season. Rex Grossman has signed and will soon join the competiion, along with Kellen Clemens. So, let the competition begin. That is, unless they are they just playing for second place, which is what former Redskins starting quarterback Joe Theisman thinks.
"I don't think he'll compete," Theismann said. "I think it's John Beck's job to lose. I think Rex would come in as a backup, just in case the situation is needed."
Grossman certainly is not ready to conceded after finishing last season as the starter. Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan is also aware that Grossman will be ready to compete.
Grossman threw for 884 yards, seven touchdowns, four interceptions and four fumbles, with a passer rating of 81.2 last season. When Shanahan Jr. says he's "showed what he's capable of," is he referring to the eight touchdowns or the eight turnovers? You never know with those Shanahans.
Regardless of who wins the quarterback "competition," it will come down to running the football and stopping teams on defense. Clearly, the Redskins cannot afford be a team relying on their quarterback to be a hero.
Where is the 12th Man?
There are plenty of arms in camp, but there aren't many fans. Why? Is the franchise's lack of success in the Dan Snyder era finally hitting them where it hurts most? Tight End Chris Cooley was among those surprised by the lack of fans in attendance on day one.
"It is probably a fifth of what I've seen on a normal day," said tight end Chris Cooley, who's starting his eighth season with the team.
I'm not usually the guy to make excuses for the Redskins, but let's give it a shot. First of all, the uncertainty with the labor situation could have had some impact, because fans couldn't make plans to get out of work until the last minute. Maybe there was invitation confusion. Maybe vacation prices were cheaper, and fans were taking advantage of it. Maybe gas is too expensive. Maybe they are locked out. Maybe it's just horribly hot this summer. Maybe it is still baseball season. Could I work in Redskins PR?
Youth Will be Served
Could the lack of key new faces be keeping Redskins fans away? There has been no big-name free-agent signings, at least not to the level of the Eagles. I thought this is what fans had been asking for: a younger roster built through the draft and a smartly-shopped free-agent market.
When the season kicks off, the roster will look much different than a year ago. The Washington Examiner's John Keim points out that this is a younger group of Redskins than before. Mike Shanahan continues to turn over the roster he inherited when he took the job.
When the season opened in 2010, they had 10 starters 30 years or older. This season, they might have only six such players, including two on defense. There's a good chance they'll have only nine or 10 players 30 or over on the roster and possibly less; for most of last season they had at least 13. Of the 22 projected starters, 16 are different from when Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010, and there could be nine new starters this season.
I cannot blame Shanahan for turning this roster over, but with the lack of OTAs, it could mean a ugly start to the season for a team as everyone gets on the same page.
"A lot of those young legs don't know what the hell they're doing," Redskins safeties coach Steve Jackson said. "They're in the wrong spot, but they look fast and good doing it. You see a lot of that."
Redskins fans might be on to something when they decide to spend their time in the AC.
Carlos Rogers Catches On
Carlos Rogers is headed west to the San Francisco 49ers on a one-year deal. Rogers was always solid in coverage but highly frustrating when it came to making plays. Perhaps the time difference and lack of humidity will help his hand issues.
Meanwhile Phillip Buchanon is back, kind of. He will miss the first four games for a substance abuse violation.
"I'm excited to return to the Washington Redskins and continue to be part of this great organization. I look forward to putting the suspension behind me, returning to the field and helping my team."
Until he returns to the field, some young legs will need to step up in a big way.
Merry Strasmas Is Almost Here
Break up the Nationals. They're suddenly in their longest winning streak since Davey Johnson took over, taking it to the Braves on back to back nights. If the news couldn't get any better. "Strasmas" could be celebrated soon again in Natstown.
"I've heard tentative dates," Johnson said. "But I mean, you know, those things could vary. The weather could vary. Of course, he could still throw under a shed down there. But I think they're wanting mostly his outings, they want him throwing to hitters. But if everything goes according to schedule he may be able to go start a game and get two or three innings around the 7th or the 10th [of the month]."