John Beck to start as Redskins QB
John Beck and Rex Grossman took turns at the burgundy podium expressing excitement and frustration, just as they did six weeks ago.
Only, this time, the roles were reversed. Beck was pumped, anxious to start an NFL game for the first time in four years, while Grossman was the one with the uncomfortable pauses in his answers.
''Things change,'' Beck said, ''in the blink of an eye.''
Beck was anointed as the new Washington Redskins No. 1 quarterback Wednesday, chosen by coach Mike Shanahan to start Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. The 30-year-old former second-round pick gets the nod for the first time since 2007, when he was a rookie for a Miami Dolphins team that went 1-15.
''Definitely excited. There's been a lot of hard work that's gone into this,'' Beck said. ''You never know when your opportunity's going to come, and you've always got to stay ready. I've tried to do that.''
Grossman gets the demotion after throwing four interceptions in a 20-13 loss to Philadelphia. He was benched after three quarters; Beck came in and led the Redskins' only touchdown drive of the game.
Shanahan called the quarterbacks into his office Tuesday to inform them of the switch.
''I was frustrated,'' Grossman said. ''Not completely surprised, but I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to come back off that game.''
Although the Redskins (3-2) have a winning record, Grossman hasn't been able to shake reputation as a turnover machine. His nine interceptions tie him for the NFL lead with Carolina's Cam Newton, who has 42 more attempts.
Grossman has 11 total turnovers - including two fumbles - through five games this season, and 18 in eight Redskins starts dating to last season. He has 46 touchdown passes and 49 interceptions in a career that reached its peak when he led Chicago to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season.
Grossman's 66.5 quarterback rating ranks 32nd of 33 quarterbacks in the league. He's ahead of Indianapolis' Kerry Collins, who hasn't played since Week 3.
Yet Grossman on Wednesday repeatedly defended his body of work leading up to the Philadelphia game.
''I thought I played well in the first four games,'' he said. ''But you can't have games like that against the Eagles. The frustrating part about it is I do think that they were good performances. The frustrating part is they should have been great.
''I had an opportunity to make it clear as day, and it wasn't,'' he said. ''For the first four games, I played well. And I could show you to prove it, but it doesn't matter.''
Grossman admitted that he gave an ''unacceptable performance'' against Philadelphia and that he perhaps need to change his mind-set when it comes to turnovers.
''The only thing I could do that could maybe encompass all turnovers - just have a little more conservative approach to the fact that, hey, turnovers are bad, but they're emotional mistakes that create emotion in the stands, create an odd emotion everywhere,'' Grossman said.
''Ultimately,'' he said, ''I'm responsible for the ball.''
Beck becomes the 21st quarterback to start a game for Redskins in 19 seasons, reflective of the franchise's overall lack of stability. He will be the third starter in 22 games under Shanahan, who whiffed last year with Donovan McNabb and said at the beginning of the season that he would stake his reputation on both Grossman and Beck.
''I don't ever want to convince somebody from a microphone,'' Beck said. ''I just want to go out on the field and play the way I can play.''
Shanahan was expected to discuss his decision after Wednesday's practice.
Grossman beat out Beck for the starting job in a competition that lasted throughout training camp and the entire preseason. Beck said he's improved since then, having learned more about the offense as the No. 2, making up for study time lost during the NFL lockout. He completed 8 of 15 passes for 117 yards in relief against the Eagles and scored on a 2-yard run.
That gave him a modest QB rating of 79.0 - much better than in any of his five games with the Dolphins. He went 0-4 as a starter in 2007 and made one relief appearance for a bad team.
He's been waiting for another chance ever since.
''The situation I stepped into as a rookie was a very difficult one because we were winless, the organization had been through a lot of struggles that year,'' Beck said. ''We were already 0-9. This is still the beginning part (of this season), and this team has a good feel about it.''