By T.F. Patton, special commentary for Sportsyackontap
This question will of course dominate sports talk and water cooler conversations all week in D.C. After listening to post-game analysis from the pundits and watching twitter remarks, from geniuses like Chad Dukes, it appears a foregone conclusion that Beck will start at Carolina next week.
However, does anyone feel a tinge of desperation in the air if they start Beck?
Yes, Grossman had a horrible day, and following Rex's fourth pick, Shanahan had no choice but to go to the pen, and try to at least allow Beck to give the team a spark. But if they give up on Grossman now, they cannot go back.
For starters, whatever confidence Grossman has left, will be all but gone if benched for next week. Secondly, and most important, all coaches are egomaniacs to some extent, and stories of Shanahan’s hubris are legendary. So if Shanny pulls the trigger on a QB change now, barring injury, he will stick with his boy wonder for the rest of the season at all cost.
Conversely, Shanahan and his son chose Grossman to start the season and they aren’t going to let four quarters of bad play (going back to the St. Louis game) and mobs of fan(atic)s on sports talk radio change their minds so easily. Now if Grossman plays like this next week against Carolina, all bets are off. Thus, it’s much easier to make a QB change at 3-3 than at 3-2, especially if Grossman plays next week like he played today.
The only viable reason to resort to Beck right now, is because of the offensive line injuries the Skins suffered today. A major part of the Skins success leading up to today, had to do with their lack of significant injuries, and today they possibly lost two offensive lineman, and Chris Cooley (who has mostly been irrelevant this season), but he is seemingly an integral part of the Skins’ two tight end set. Beck gives the Skins much more mobility at QB, and this might be reason enough.
Aside from Grossman’s performance, the Redskins weren't horrible today. The defense was outstanding in the second half, and the special teams was good all day. And people, they're still 3-2, essentially (because of a game in hand, and having beat the Giants) tied for first in their division. If they choose to bench their starter from game one, this sends a message to the entire team. It tells them that the recipe that brought them to 3-2 was not good enough, and they need to go in a new direction.
Most importantly, and the reason I think the Shanahans will not pull the trigger, is it shows EVERYONE that they made a mistake with regard to Grossman in the first place. Shanahan is probably not going to admit defeat with the benching of Grossman, when he has a winning record through 5 games.
In any case, I don’t think it’s rational to ditch Rex at this point. The Redskins are still in a good spot, in a division that appears nobody is going to run away with, and at the end of the day, Sunday was simply a loss to a desperate divisional opponent. Redskins’ fans rooting for the change should be careful for what you wish for. Pulling the trigger this week might be one week too early, a clear sign of desperation, and there would be no going beck, excuse me, back.
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