- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2014


The regime change at Redskins Park has had a “homecoming” theme to it, which we all know was something Bruce Allen excelled at when he was the make-believe Redskins general manager.

This team was 27-40 over four seasons, and it turns out that it was a case of talent held hostage. Allen is back, large and in charge now. Jim Haslett, whose defenses were offensive to watch, appears to be staying as defensive coordinator. Raheem Morris is back as the defensive backs coach, as is Sean McVay, promoted from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator. They’re bringing back Ike Hilliard as receivers coach after a year’s absence in Buffalo.

Morocco Brown and Scott Campbell, the team’s pro and college scouting personnel directors – Brown for his seventh season in the building, Campbell for his 14th year – are unshackled at last from being held back by departed villains Vinny Cerrato and Mike Shanahan.

So since we’re in a welcome back mode, I’d like to see someone else return next season for the new Jay Gruden era – Rex Grossman. I’ve grown accustomed to his place.

You might argue that Grossman is a player and doesn’t really fall under the same category as the others. I would argue that prove to me that he is a player by showing me the number of plays he has taken part in during a regular season game in the past two years.

During that period, the position Rex Grossman has played has been “inactive.”

I’m not here to bury Grossman, though. There was a time when his mere appearance in a Redskins uniform might have been insulting, even offensive to the eyes, when Shanahan installed him as the starting quarterback and he would throw 24 interceptions to go along with his 23 touchdowns.

But the less I saw of Grossman, the fonder I became. His teammates have always had nothing but respect for him. He has handled his fate with class, yet has never lost the bravado that is endearing – convinced of his ability, in spite of his performance.

“We’re fine being the sleepers right now,” Grossman said in a 2011 preseason interview with Comcast SportsNet. “You know, we’re just waiting in the wings, ready to take over the NFC East.

“Nobody’s talking about us. That’s right where we want to be. You look at us from top to bottom out here, there’s a bunch of great players. And we don’t need people saying we’re the best right now, but when it’s all said and done, I really feel like this team’s gonna win the East.”

Washington went 6-10 that year. Seems like the glory days compared to this past season.

Grossman was in Washington because of the Shanahans, particularly Kyle. He was rumored to be on his way out of the league in 2009, heading for the United Football League, when Kyle brought him to Houston as a backup. Grossman grew close to Kyle and became a student of his offensive system.

This was Grossman’s value – he knew the system, perhaps better than anyone.

Now that system is gone, along with Kyle, and while Gruden may find Grossman as affable as we do, that doesn’t mean he’ll have a place on the roster this coming season.

Grossman, who will be 34 in August, may find another backup job. After all, we saw some pretty bad backup quarterbacking in the NFL this past season.

But his value seemed to be as the best student in the Shanahan class.

Maybe it’s time for the student to become the teacher.

Bring back Rex Grossman – as the Redskins quarterback coach.

He has served the role of a mentor for the past two years with Robert “SuperBob” Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. According to various sources, he has a good relationship with “SuperBob” and has been a counsel to the young quarterback at times. SuperBob apparently trusts him, because, after all, unlike Cousins, Grossman has not been a threat to his starting job.

The Redskins quarterbacks coaching job remains vacant. Maybe, with Gruden as a quarterbacks guru, he might not see the need for one.

But Grossman may help Gruden build up his own relationship with SuperBob.

Take the clipboard out of Grossman’s hands and replace it with a whistle – Rex Grossman, quarterbacks coach, Washington Redskins.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,”noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com

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