Rex Grossman was not the answer at Quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He never was, and now he certainly never will be, either.
Let’s be honest: we knew he wasn’t the answer at quarterback last December, when he was promoted over Donovan McNabb. We knew he wasn’t the answer when Mike Shanahan turned the preseason into a quarterback competition between he and John Beck. We knew he wasn’t the answer even after he was named the starting quarterback of this team, and five games into the season, we once again know that Grossman is not the answer to the search for even a stable, long-term quarterback that this team has lacked for nearly two decades.
To think that Rex’ demotion was some knee-jerk reaction to a tough loss against a divisional opponent would be foolish and short-sighted. We’ve seen what Rex had to offer, and now it’s time to evaluate our other options.
Yes, Grossman started the season with his best performance as a member of the Redskins – putting up 305 yards passing, completing close to 62% of this passes, and throwing a couple of touchdowns – but since then? Just take a look at his quarterback ratings for each subsequent game this season: 74.9, 77.5, 48.5, 23.7; his completion percentages since the opening game? 58.1, 59.5, 51.7, and 40.9 percent. Or, if you just want to make it simple on yourself: he’s 2-2 since that win, has thrown four touchdown passes versus nine interceptions, is tied for the league lead for most interceptions thrown by a quarterback in 2011, and is outside the bottom 20 quarterbacks in the NFL in virtually every major passing statistic, including completion percentage (28th), total passing yards (24th), yards per attempt (23rd), touchdowns thrown (22nd), and overall quarterback rating (32nd).
And yes, Grossman has led this team to a 3-2 record in spite of those awful stats, but he’s essentially played maybe six good quarters of football over a five game span. You could make the argument that the defense won the game against the Rams, and even put the offense in position to mount a comeback against the Eagles (more on that in a second) – all in spite of Grossman.
It was Grossman’s pitiful performance against the Eagles basically allowed the coaching staff to make a major (and perhaps the correct) decision at quarterback, without any real backlash or controversy. And even with a quick look his stat line for the game – 9/22 for 143 yards and four INT’s – who could blame them? Just think about that: in last Sunday’s game, he threw almost 50% as many completions to the other team as he did to receivers on his own team. He lead the offense to a laughable 23 total yards in the first quarter; the Eagles nearly tripled that on their second drive alone. Until there were less than two minutes left to go in the first half, Grossman hadn’t completed a single pass to a wide receiver last Sunday. Hell, the Eagles running backs had almost as many yards rushing in the game as Grossman did passing. Through three quarters, Grossman led the offense to exactly zero third down conversions.
The sad part is, those stats don’t really do sufficient justice to in explaining how frustrating Rex’ performance was overall. Consider the circumstances around each Grossman turnover: his first interception lead to the Eagles first touchdown of the day. His second interception immediately halted a critical Redskins drive right after they went down 17-0, and had a chance to either respond, or at least keep their weary defense off the field for just a couple of minutes. His third interception came on the very next play after DeAngelo Hall picked off Eagles’ backup quarterback Vince Young, which had given the Redskins fantastic field position and a chance to really cut the Eagles lead. His fourth interception came right after the Redskins got the ball back after stopping the Eagles on fourth down, wasting yet another potentially momentum-shifting effort from the defense. And that’s not even including his near-interception on the Redskins last drive of the first half, which could’ve cost the Redskins even more points (they went on to kick a field goal before the first half expired)
The Eagles came into this game with one plan: do everything humanly possible to shut down the Redskins rushing attack, and force Rex Grossman to beat them through the air. They knew that if guys like Ryan Torain or Roy Helu (or Tim Hightower until we realized he wasn’t playing) got untracked, the game would be competitive. Instead, they dared Rex to “do his worst,” and Grossman responded in kind by overthrowing passes, underthrowing passes, and throwing a handful of passes to guys wearing a different color jersey then he does.
Listen, we know that John Beck isn’t exactly another hidden Tom Brady on the bench, ready to change the destiny of this franchise for the next decade. He’s a 30 year-old quarterback who hasn’t started a regular season game since 2007, and lost a preaseason quarterback battle to Grossman.
But until we give him the full chance to succeed or fail – remember, last Sunday was Grossman’s eighth start as the Redskins quarterback – we wont know, for sure, exactly what’s the commodity we have in Beck. With Grossman, however, we know what we’re getting: a quarterback who’s 6-10 over his last 16 starts, has thrown 19 touchdowns and 23 interceptions over that span, and completes around 55% of his passes over his entire career.
Is that really the best we can do? Time will tell us for sure, as Beck now gets his shot to see what he can do with this offense. But now we know that Rex Grossman is the latest came-and-left quarterback in the yet-to-have-ended revovling door at quarterback for the Redskins.
And Good Riddance.