In the end, even Rex Grossman didn't seem all that surprised.
The former starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins was benched in the fourth quarter Sunday after throwing four interceptions in a 20-13 loss to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Coach Mike Shanahan called Grossman into his office Tuesday and informed him John Beck would be the team's new starter.
"I'm frustrated," Grossman said Wednesday. "I'm not completely surprised. I'm really disappointed I wasn't able to come back [into the game].
"The only thing I could do that would maybe encompass all the turnovers would be to have a little more conservative approach to the fact that turnovers are bad, but they're emotional mistakes. They create emotion in the stands, and creates an odd emotion everywhere. They have an odd way of feeling worse for your momentum."
Ultimately, Grossman's turnovers led Shanahan to make a decision that seemed almost inevitable.
"To keep that position, as a quarterback in the National Football League, you have to eliminate those mistakes," Shanahan said. "There's always going to be mistakes, but you can't constantly turn the football over. If you do, you're going to lose your opportunity to lead the football team.
"What you have to do at a high level to play quarterback in the NFL is you have to eliminate those mistakes. If you keep on making those mistakes, you lose your job, either second team, third team or out of the league."
Turnovers have plagued Grossman throughout his career, spanning six years with Chicago and one with Houston before signing with the Redskins in 2010. He entered this season having thrown 40 career interceptions and lost 14 fumbles in 41 games, an average of more than one turnover per game.
Still, Shanahan called it a difficult decision.
"I just told [Grossman] I believe in him, but I felt right now that I'm going to give John [Beck] a chance to see what he can do," Shanahan said. "I believe in both guys. Rex is one play away from being the starter again."
Grossman's contract with Redskins is up at the end of the year, and with this demotion, he faces a much more uncertain future than he did a week ago.
"I thought I played well in the first four games. But you can't have games like that," Grossman said of his performance against the Eagles. "Anytime you watch tape, it's funny how things aren't always as bad as they seem, but it was definitely an unacceptable performance. The frustrating part about it is I do think they were good performances, [but they] should have been great."
Through the first five games, Grossman has completed 92 of 165 passes (55.8 percent). He's thrown for six touchdowns, been intercepted nine times and has a quarterback rating of 66.5.
"You go out there to try to win, not put up numbers. It's very obvious when you do have a great rating and put up a lot of points, there's no doubt you played great," Grossman said. "Any time you don't produce enough points, it leaves room for judgment. I had an opportunity to make it clear as day. For the first four games, I played well. I could show you, prove it, but it doesn't matter. I wasn't proud of the Cowboys game as a whole, [but] the other ones, I played well."
Grossman said he felt secure in his job, despite Shanahan's high praise for Beck early on, fueling speculation that Beck would win the job to start the season. But Grossman also seemed to believe he might see the field again this season. If so, he says he's ready.
"If I do get back in there, I'm going to feel real good about it. I feel real good where I'm at, and I'm just going to try to build on the things I did well," Grossman said. "Having success and winning games will help my confidence if I do get back in there. Obviously there are some things I have to clean up, but for the most part, I'll be in a good frame of mind."
Beck said he and Grossman have already had a conversation about their new roles.
"I tried to be as supportive as I could for Rex when he was the guy," Beck said. "Rex is a really good guy. He wants this team to win just like I wanted the team to win when I was a backup."
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