Grossman gets benched in Redskins’ loss to Eagles

Washington Redskins QB Rex Grossman (8) is slow to get up after a sack for a loss of eight yards by the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. (Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)Washington Redskins QB Rex Grossman (8) is slow to get up after a sack for a loss of eight yards by the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. (Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)
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John Beck personified hope for the Washington Redskins at the beginning of the summer. He was an unknown quantity, an intriguing prospect on an overhauled roster.

His arm strength and athleticism drew praise from coach Mike Shanahan, assistant coaches and teammates. Throw in his willingness to make time for anyone with a camera or microphone, and there was so much to like.

Rex Grossman? Pfft. Everyone knew his reputation for turning the ball over. Beck had to be better than that alternative, right? Right?! But without a start since 2007, he remained a mystery.

Seven weeks into the season, we might finally learn the answer. Shanahan this week will decide whether to start Beck after Grossman threw four interceptions and was benched in the fourth quarter of the Redskins‘ 20-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday at FedEx Field.

“We needed a spark,” Shanahan said. “John has been practicing very well the last couple weeks, and with four turnovers there, we thought it was time to make a change and give John an opportunity to show what he could do.”

A pass intended for Washington Redskins TE Fred Davis (83) is intercepted by Philadelphia Eagles S Kurt Coleman (42) and run back 24 yards during the third quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. (Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)

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A pass intended for Washington Redskins TE Fred Davis (83) is intercepted ... more >

Shanahan wouldn’t immediately commit to a starter following his team’s second straight loss to an NFC East opponent. “Make a decision Wednesday,” he said.

Instead of burying the consensus preseason favorite, Philadelphia (2-4) resuscitated its season at Washington’s expense.

The stats portray a Redskins team with a significant chasm between it and true playoff contenders. They were outgained by 135 yards. They converted only 1 of 10 third downs. They committed nine penalties for 75 yards.

The Redskins (3-2) averaged 3.0 yards on 14 rushes against a defense that entered the game giving up 5.0 yards per carry. Philadelphia held the ball for 16 minutes longer than Washington did.

Instead of defending home turf against a reeling rival and establishing some clout in first place, the Redskins finished the day in second after New York won.

“It’s very tough, very disappointing,” defensive end Adam Carriker said.

All the positive vibes from the Redskins‘ hot start vanished in a sobering reality check. Their good luck regarding injuries turned. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger was lost for the season with ligament tears in his right knee. Left tackle Trent Williams left the game with a high right ankle sprain. And tight end Chris Cooley suffered a left hand fracture that will require surgery.

Adding insult to those injuries is a fresh round of uncertainty at quarterback.

Beck’s uneven play in the preseason cost him the competition against Grossman for the starting job. Over Labor Day weekend, he went from being a central focus to an anonymous backup. Grossman, however, brought the cycle full-circle with four interceptions.

“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were given to us as an offense,” Grossman said. “We didn’t execute. I didn’t execute.”

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