News & Politics

There Are No Winners in the Redskins Quarterback Battle

Washingtonians return to the age-old game of debating who should take on the QB role.

Rex Grossman’s four interceptions led to John Beck’s first appearance of the season. Photo by Brian Murphy

Most of the talk coming off of the Redskins loss to the Eagles this weekend is about the renewed quarterback controversy in Washington. But don’t be confused, Rex Grossman versus John Beck is not Billy versus Sonny. Hell, it’s not even the ’90s debate over Heath Shuler versus Gus Frerotte. At least in those cases there was a legitimate sense of hope attached to a potential change.

In a town where the backup quarterback is often a popular figure waiting to be embraced as a savior, nobody seems all that excited about Beck. And it’s not just because his name doesn’t lend itself to clever puns (remember those “In Gus We Trust” T-shirts?), it’s because Beck is the same 29– 30 year-old journeyman who couldn’t beat out Grossman when he had the chance.

It’s not as if Grossman was an early-round draft pick or an expensive free agent with whom the franchise has a vested interest. He’s a mediocre veteran on a one-year contract that will pay him a pittance compared to his counterparts around the league. His upside is limited and his downside is a bottomless pit of suck from which there is no escape. And this is the guy who won out over the other guy for the job. Why would anyone have high hopes for the guy who got passed over?

The ovation that coincided Beck’s arrival in to yesterday’s game had far more to do with Grossman’s benching than any optimism for a potential Beck era. During the initial quarterback battle this summer one poster on the popular message board ExtremeSkins posted about the pro-Beck T-shirt he was trying to peddle. A follow-up post suggested a white towel meant to indicate surrender might be a more appropriate item.

That said, Beck has to be the guy going forward. Mike Shanahan staked his reputation on this pair working out, and he’s already 0-1. Seriously, that’s something he said, and by all accounts, he did so without a gun trained on his head or on the influence of mind-altering drugs. Shanahan, winner of back-to-back Super Bowls now has little choice but to leave his reputation in the hands of a guy who may or may not be moonlighting as a MacGruber lookalike.

I will continue to hope for the best, but I also won’t be surprised if things get worse before they get better.