Like 99% of Redskins fans nation-wide, I was
pissed off disgusted critical of Mike Shanahan's decision to start Rex Grossman. It wasn't so much because Grossman sucks, but more in the fact it's an admission that the Redskins completely whiffed in their evaluation of McNabb. I'm not talking about a swinging foul-tip strike, I'm talking about swinging at a pitch so wide and high left it drills the mascot. Look, it's great that we finally had a good locker room presence this summer. A QB that could instill a winning vibe this off-season did wonders for morale, but a whiff this bad has to make the team wonder if the Coach really knows what he is doing. Either way, it was a colossal mistake and all we can do is move on and deal with it.
As fans, do we really want McNabb out there just to validate the two picks? No. We need to accept that the trade was a bad one and find out if Grossman can be a hold-over starter for next year. As for McNabb, things are starting to come out about his practices:
"He wasn't performing, and at practice, he'd never practice hard, and I think that had some bearing on it also," [Sonny] Jurgensen said. "Because Shanahan's a stickler for practice, working hard in practice so that you carry that over into the game. And he never could get him to go 100 percent in practice, and that's what he wanted. You talk to people in Philadelphia, and they say why didn't you see this coming, why are you surprised. Because the Eagles had seen it, and they traded him within the division. And so why are the people in Washington surprised?"
That's great, but I don't need practice to tell me that. This year #5 has missed open reads, bounced passes, and thrown into horrible coverages. Rex has been practicing well, hence the change. Sure, Grossman has had a horrible career turning the ball over, but Shanahan has a strong defense for that:
"People have no idea what I look at every day," Shanahan spat. "These experts are not at practice. They evaluate off of what they've seen in the past. When I had Jake Plummer, he had a winning percentage of 36 percent. Everybody said we were crazy. He had 90 touchdown passes and 114 interceptions. ‘How can you bring a guy to the Denver Broncos that had won 36 percent of his games?' And four years later, he'd won 72 percent of his games, which was the best in four years. Everybody looks at the playoffs when we were 1-3 with the Denver Broncos. You've gotta take a look at all the great things that Jake did. John Elway when I first came back was 71 percent. We were 7-1 in the playoffs, won two Super Bowls. Everybody knows you have to win the big game, and we understand that, but there's a process that goes along with it, and we evaluate everybody in practices and how they prepare. It's one game."
Exactly, it's one game. The Cowboys are giving up the 2nd most points in the NFL per game, a lot of Grossman's yards came on dink and dunks and prevent defense, and the Cowboys' starting Strong Safety (Sensabaugh) and LB (Lee) got knocked out of the game early. On that deep pass to Armstrong, Anthony had to come back four yards because it was underthrown. It irked me a bit that Shanahan was smiling in his private, post-game interview with ESPN980 just after the DAL game. It was if he won the media battle and was saying, "Suck it critics." He definitely deserves that right. I'd be doing the same if Grossman had more of those pee-wee football type turnovers. If Grossman gets killed vs the Jags and Giants, then what can his defense possibly be then?
Rex certainly does get credit though. Three of the 5 sacks against were due to untouched rushers, and that beautiful pass he threw to Santana should have been a 70-yard game winner (the next two plays were sacks). These next two weeks are really critical since we're facing solid teams that are still playoff hungry. They have tape on Grossman now, so we'll see if the offense can maintain the steady, up-tempo play we saw versus Dallas. The Redskins rank 31st in rushing attempts (307 - 21.9 per game), which is another problem. Perhaps it's because the Redskins are always losing, and the OLine stinks, but regardless, Rex does not have good pocket awareness and the only thing that can help that is a quality Guard (it sounds like Rabach will be here next year).
I hope to sit down with Bruce Allen shortly to get some transparency on their "plan." Is it written on bar napkins? Are their dollar signs on any part of it? Is it signed in lip-stick? Ideally, the plan is laid out where there is a core DL and OL in place within three years. With that realization, the Redskins should trade veterans this winter that will no longer be in their prime in that time. We all know who they are - bring in the draft picks.