Kyle Shanahan versus Donovan McNabb is sooooo 2010. Shanahan’s smile said it all Friday morning at the Redskins’ first full training camp practice. With McNabb on his way to Minnesota in a trade, Shanahan was eager to begin the quarterback competition between John Beck and Rex Grossman.
“I think it will be a great battle,” Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, said after practice. “I think that they’re both capable of it. Rex showed that he’s capable last year. John has shown that he’s capable in practice and what he’s done in his college tape and the few opportunities he has had in the NFL. I’m excited for them to finally get a shot together.”
Beck begins with a major advantage because, well, he’s actually at Redskins Park practicing with the team. Grossman, meanwhile, is still a free agent. And even if Grossman re-signs—which Shanahan said he expects—new league rules prohibit him from practicing with the team on the field until Thursday, Aug. 4.
For now, Shanahan will focus on evaluating Beck. The Redskins traded for him last August, leaving him little time to learn the playbook. He then spent the season as the No. 3 quarterback and exclusively ran scout team plays in practice in all but the final two weeks of the regular season.
That was enough, though, for Shanahan to gain confidence in him.
“As far as his attention to detail and everything he does, John’s the type of guy I’ve got to tell him to leave me alone,” Shanahan said. “He can’t do any more. He does as much as he possibly can and he’s on it. It’s his first day out there, and I don’t have to correct him on anything.
“He proved everything that we saw when we evaluated him coming out of college,” Shanahan continued. “When he came out of college, I thought he has as good a chance to be as good as anyone coming out of that draft. He put it all on tape, he was very consistent and he was a winner.
“He played in about three games [with the Miami Dolphins as a rookie in 2007], and you evaluate those games and there’s nothing that he shows in those three games that says he cant’ do it. He plays like a rookie in those three games sometimes, but he also does some good things. The jury is still out. He’s a second-round pick and a guy that should get a chance.”
Expect the Redskins to take all the time they can before naming their starter. Losing the offseason program to the lockout means that coaches are behind in their evaluations.
As for McNabb, Shanahan said he was glad for all parties that the situation is resolved. They clashed behind closed doors early into McNabb’s one-year tenure with the Redskins, and their feud ultimately became very public and very ugly after McNabb was benched December.
“When it drags out through the lockout, and anytime anyone doesn’t know what’s going to go on, him and myself, you want to know what’s going to happen so you can get ready,” he said. “Now he knows, we know, and I think we’re all happy about it.”