Gridiron Preseason Preview: Redskins at Colts

Rex Grossman made his case to be the Redskins starting quarterback in the team’s first outing of the 2011 preseason. Now John Beck gets his chance to stake his claim to the open job when the Burgundy and Gold visits Lucas Oil Stadium Friday to take on the Colts.

The two signal-callers have been engaged in a spirited camp competition to replace the departed Donovan McNabb as the Redskins’ main man under center. Though Beck entered the summer as the presumed favorite for the role, Grossman helped his own cause by putting together a solid performance in last week’s preseason opener against Pittsburgh.

The former Chicago Bear played the first half of last Friday’s contest and completed a sharp 19-of-26 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown to help the Redskins post a 16-7 win.

Beck, who’s started only four times over his four-year NFL career and none since his rookie campaign of 2007, sat out the Pittsburgh game with a groin injury but has since returned to a full practice. Head coach Mike Shanahan announced on Tuesday that the 29-year-old would get the starting nod against the Colts, and it’s believed he’ll lead the offense for most or all of the first half.

Another position battle may have already been decided in last week’s victory over the Steelers, with running back Tim Hightower rushing for 44 yards on 10 carries to distance himself from returning starter Ryan Torain, who sat out the game with a broken hand and isn’t likely to suit up for this one as well.

Tight end Chris Cooley (knee) also remains sidelined for Washington, while starting safeties LaRon Landry (Achilles) and Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring) are also expected to miss a second straight week.

The Colts are obviously set at the quarterback position with Peyton Manning on the roster, though the situation behind the four-time league MVP is less settled heading into this tilt.

With Manning still recovering from offseason neck surgery, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky received the majority of snaps in Indianapolis’ season-opening clash at St. Louis. Neither was able to effectively move the offense, however, as the defending AFC South champions were dealt a 33-10 defeat.

Painter directed the first two drives and was just 3-of-6 for 55 yards and an interception. Orlovsky threw for 111 yards and a touchdown in relief, but was picked off twice and hit on only 4-of-10 throws.

Manning still hasn’t been cleared to practice, meaning Painter will draw a second consecutive start on Friday.

These teams last squared off during Week 6 of the 2010 regular season, with the Colts earning a 27-24 win in Washington behind 307 passing yards from Manning and a 128-yard effort on the ground from running back Joseph Addai. The Redskins have bested Indianapolis four straight times in the preseason, however, including a 30-16 triumph in the 2008 Hall of Fame Game held in Canton, Ohio.

The Colts own a 14-11-1 advantage over Washington in the overall preseason series.

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