ASHBURN, Va. - Standing at his locker Wednesday morning, Washington Redskins starter-turned-backup quarterback John Beck spoke calmly when explaining his recent demotion prior to the team's game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday.
The fifth-year quarterback was given a chance to revive his career in Washington, starting three games after original starter Rex Grossman was benched after throwing four interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6.
But Beck was unable to capitalize, as the offense regressed with him under center, forcing head coach Mike Shanahan to make the change back to Grossman.
"This isn't the first rodeo that I've been through in my life of going through adversity," Beck said. "You just continue to grind. I do truly believe in the phrase ‘Tough times don't last, tough people do'."
Beck threw two touchdowns to four interceptions in his three starts, as the Redskins offense was never able to get into any sort of rhythm. Last week, Shanahan decided to split practice reps between Beck and Grossman, signalling to Beck that his job as a starter was in serious jeopardy.
"I knew there'd be a situation [when our practice reps were split]," Beck acknowledged.
Shanahan has proven in his first year and a half as Redskins head coach that those types of moves in practice aren't made unless change is afoot. Not surprisingly, the head coach made the decision official, as he informed his team the night before the Dolphins game that Grossman would return as the starter.
"The way I take it is the same as when the season started," Beck said of his status as the backup. "Rex is going to be the guy that's going to be taking the snaps on Sunday, and I gotta be the guy that's ready to go if something happens."
The move was seen as a huge indictment on Beck's ability, as Shanahan stated before the season that he would stake his reputation on the fact that Beck would be able to play at a high level. But after three starts, it seems the head coach's actions have spoken far louder than his words.
And though Beck's benching might be viewed as a slight from the coaching staff, he says his mindset hasn't changed one bit.
"My belief in me stays the exact same as it was before," said a defiant Beck. "I'm grateful for the opportunity that I did get to go out and play in some games [and] to be back out in live bullets because that's where the ultimate learning experiences come. So I was able to gain a little bit more experience and whatever happens next happens next."
"I just keep working, keep getting better. I do believe that I can get better, and that I will. I don't feel like where I'm at right now is where I'm going to be stuck at. I definitely know that I can improve and that's my goal."