Well, here it is. John Beck was officially named the starting Quarterback of the Washington Redskins. I wasn't sure if I should do this or not because its been so heavily talked about, but at the end of the day, it's the big thing at the moment, so lets have a look. For those who missed it, my first post on this forum was actually a breakdown of Beck's pre-season performance against the Colts, which you can go back and see here.
I'm going to have a look at some of the positives and negatives he brings to the table and what better place to start than his first play of the game.
What we have here is a play-action bootleg. Fred Davis is going to cut back across the Oline, and chip the Eagles DE (circled in red) that otherwise gets a free-run. Davis will then run out into the flat and become the check-down target for Beck.
As you (and the Eagles DE) can see here, Beck doesn't get the ball within a yard and a half at best of Ryan Torain on the fake. It's a little thing he does that annoys me, and I've commented on it multiple times before. This isn't going to see it to anyone, certainly not the DE that has a clear view of it. Luckily for Beck, Davis is coming back across the line to chip him.
You can see that Davis delays the rush of the DE enough to stop Beck getting blown up as he comes out of the bootleg. What I like here is that Beck keeps his poise and attempts to make a play, but safely rather than what we've seen from Rex when he throws it into a crowd of defenders.
Beck back-pedals, points to Davis that a play is still on despite the DE in his face.
Beck manages to wait until the very last possible moment to allow Davis time to recover before releasing the ball. He makes the throw at a very awkward angle, back-peddling, front on and different arm angle to avoid the DE's block attempt. It's not what you want to see when a QB is in the pocket, but when he's trying to extend a play and make something out of nothing, he does a great job of getting the ball out to Davis and allow him to go make a play. This is something we've very rarely seen from Grossman.
The very next play is another play-action bootleg. This one isn't so good for Beck.
Once again, not within a yard and a half of the RB on the fake hand-off.
Notice how Torain is completely uncovered as he sprints up the sideline. Beck scans the field for his primary targets before sweeping across to the near side of the picture.
This is a throw Beck absolutely HAS to make. Look at the space Torain would have had to run into! It looks to me like Beck was indecisive as to throw to Davis or Torain, and therefore it landed in the middle of them. If Torain gets that ball in stride, Davis blocks the one defender, that's probably a TD.
Next up, lets have a look at his 12 yard run.
Torain actually motioned out of the backfield to WR (on the nearest side). Beck has a 5 step drop. We have a lot of 'in' routes, Jabar Gaffney at the top of the screen runs a 'go' route and Davis runs an 'out' (if you're not sure on WR route patterns, check my twitter, I did a quick whiteboard draw up on the WR route tree).
Beck gets to the top of his drop, his primary target would appear to be Davis on the 'out' route. He is forced to wait because he see's that Moss is in contact with the defender, blocking Davis's route. Also, quick note, Oline does a nice job on protection here.
Beck decides to make a move. He breaks the pocket and starts to scramble, when in actual fact, the Oline had a fairly decent protection. I guess the fact that the timing was put off by Davis's route being temporarily blocked off made Beck's instincts kick in. But I cannot work out why he didn't just throw the ball to Davis here. Davis has plenty of room to run into, and Beck had enough time to re-set or re-plant his feet to allow him to get as much accuracy as possible. But for whatever reason, he doesn't, and he takes off.
Beck shows off some pretty nice elusiveness for a QB here and manages to dodge the diving DB's tackle.
The other complaint I have on this play is protecting the ball. You can see here he's still gripping it like he's ready to throw it. He's nearly 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, so obviously he can't throw the ball. He needs to tuck it, because hanging it out like that is BEGGING for a defender to strip it loose.
Moving on now to the incomplete pass to Gaffney on a deep crossing pattern.
It's yet another play-action pass, when we've yet to see Beck actually hand the ball off in this game. I've highlighted Gaffney's route as a deep crossing pattern.
Now here's what I really like about this play. Beck senses the pressure from the oncoming Dlineman at the top of his drop.
He does an excellent job stepping up into the pocket, keeping his eyes down-field the whole time allowing his blockers to recover. He gets the ball out quickly before the pass-rusher has any chance to adjust.
Unfortunately, he sells Gaffney short. While the ball is catchable, its a very tough diving catch that is going back on himself to get to the ball. Beck needed to hit Gaffney in stride (in the black circle) to allow him to make an easier catch and then break up-field or get out of bounds.
Here's another example of a missed throw.
Davis is going to run a quick out. The Eagles are sending a big blitz. Everyone lined up on the line (in the red circle) is coming, its not a bluff.
Beck does an excellent job getting the ball out quickly before any pressure can get to him, and knows exactly the hot read he has to go to.
But he puts it in the dirt again, leaving the Redskins a difficult 3rd and 15. Beck can't allow this kind of thing to happen as often as we saw it in this game.
So, having missed that throw, we're left 3rd and 15 needing a big play to stay in the game.
Moss is going to run what looks like a deep in route, before cutting back outside.
Beck gets to the top of his drop, feels the pressure from both DE's, and pushes off his back foot up into the pocket.
Having avoided the pressure, he steps nicely into his throw.
And he hits Santana Moss at the first down marker with a nice bit of zip on the ball. Very good play by Beck and something we need to see more consistently from him. If I'm being picky, he could have hit Moss in stride as he cut back outside and let him run freely after the catch, but he got us a 1st down on 3rd and 15, so I can't complain.
And Finally! The last play I'll look at quickly is the 33 yard pass to Terrence Austin.
On this play, we have Beck in the gun. Roy Helu is the check-down target on a quick crossing pattern. Davis is going to run a deep comeback, and the two WR's at the top of the screen are running go routes. Austin is circled.
Beck takes a hitch, and steps into his throw. He does a really nice job of reading the coverage and recognising quickly that he has two go routes against one deep covering DB, so he gets the ball out quickly.
He throws a very accurate deep pass that hits Austin perfectly in stride (the ball was a touch wobbly, but we can let him off this time) for the big gain, and puts us in scoring position on the 2.
So all in all, it's a pretty mixed bag. I think overall he can big successful in this offence, and I really like the bootleg's that he should bring to this offence. However, it's clear to me that he is going to need to work on his consistency if he's going to keep the starting position.