I hope you had a chance to check out the story in Tuesday’s paper about how quarterbacks John Beck and Rex Grossman have quieted some of the skepticism about whether they can succeed in coach Mike Shanahan’s offense.
It was impossible to check in with every single media member, analyst and talk show host who has publicly doubted Shanahan’s faith in his two passers, but I was able to chat with ESPN’s Ron Jaworski about the subject. Jaws, a Pro Bowl quarterback in his day, watched film of the Redskins’ first two preseason games before calling last week’s game against Baltimore for ESPN.
Jaworski admitted that Beck and Grossman have been better than anticipated, at least in his opinion.
He wouldn’t say who he believes should start, but he did say:
“They know what they have in Rex. With Beck, you can clearly see there’s some upside.”
Only a few of Jaws’ quotes made Tuesday’s story, so I’m posting more of his thoughts below. I found them interesting, and I hope you do, too:
“Any concerns should be quieted. I think the regular season will determine if they could be silenced. I think if you put the body of work of both quarterbacks together, you get a very efficient job. I think that’s what Mike Shanahan is looking for. You’re not going to throw for 400 yards, but manage the game well, understand what we’re trying to do. If the big play presents itself, go ahead and take advantage of it.
“I was very impressed with the first three — again they are preseason games, so you always preface it that way — but I like what I saw. Rex, I saw him late last year. I thought there were times when he looked tremendous and there were times where there were the headscratchers again.
“That’s been kind of the history of Rex. He can make plays that are mind-boggling, wow. And then the next series he’ll just make a mistake. …He said he’s just got to eliminate the ‘Bad Rex.’ It’s so true. The guy can make a number of great plays. There’s always just that one head-scratcher. But I think he has a very good grasp of the offense. He ran that 2-minute drill the other night to perfection. You could see he just knows what he’s doing.
“In regards to Beck, I will admit I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t seen John in a couple years in a game — in fact no one has — but I was down on the field pre-game and was watching the guys warm up. I like to see the ball spin. I like to see it come out of their hand. I look at tape and I get an idea. You watch a game on TV and you get an idea. But I just like to see the release, the ball come out of their hand, the mechanics, all those things.
“I thought John had really improved his arm strength. I knew he had spent a lot of time with Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. When Rodgers came out, he did not have the arm strength he has now. …You could see the epiphany over a few years. I’m not going to put Beck in that same category, but I’m seeing the similarities. When Beck got in the game they started attacking down the field. They were more aggressive with the playcalling to take advantage of what has become a pretty darn strong arm.
“I was disappointed that he never really flourished [early in his career with the Miami Dolphins]. Again, you have to be in the right system, the right talent, and people that believe in you. All those things come into play. But I was very impressed by how he threw the football and the accuracty and the velocity. Some of those throws over the middle were into tight windows. He threw with great accuracy with a lot of zip on the ball. Clearly, I am very impressed with the quarterbacking of the Redskins right now.
“I think people around the league will be skeptical. This is a show-me league. Beck is going to have to come on the field in the regular season and do what he did in the preseason. Again, you could see his movement as well.
“This is going to be a run-oriented offense. I’ve watched Mike’s offenses for 20 years. They’re going to run that stretch run. There will be a little bit of a counter, and there will be the play-action and the bootleg. He’ll generate those big, explosive plays. Mike, early in ballgames, is as good as anybody at putting points on the board. He will break down a defense. They will get explosive plays out of the play-action passing game.
“With [Tim] Hightower, which by the way just seems like the steal of the offseason, we all kind of knew that he’s a pretty good receiver, a pretty good blocker, but he never really got a chance to tote the ball as much as we’ve seen in the preseason, and he’s been a perfect fit. That one-cut, downhill, go-type of runner. And that’s what they’ll do. I think Beck’s mobility helps. He moves outside the pocket well. It looks like they’ve got the pieces to their puzzle. Now it’s a matter of experience and working together and understanding what everyone’s supposed to do. It’s a very impressive offense, and they were not playing against a bad [Ravens] defense, by the way.”
…You’ve heard from Jaws, now I’m eager to hear from you. Have Beck or Grossman changed your mind about whether they can play? Leave a comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me on Twitter @Rich_Campbell.