Despite my pessimism, I really really really really really really hope John Beck is the potential playmaker that some make him out to be. At minimum, I hope he is a true game manager. I lean towards the latter, but in responding to a comment elsewhere, I came to a realization as to what I would consider to be "acceptable" for John Beck in my own eyes.
I had to go back to the disgust-and-hope-ridden season of 2001 to find my answer, and dig into "Martyball" a little bit.
Remember 2001? Marty Schottenheimer took over from the disaster that was Norv Turner's last year as head coach of the Redskins? We had the first in a long line of Daniel Snyder "flashy free agents" in Jeff George, and a journeyman backup in Tony Banks at QB. After basically pissing off everyone in the DC metro area with poor play and poor attitude in the first 2 weeks of the season, George was kicked to the curb by Marty, and Banks was given the starting nod. Though the team struggled to an 0-5 start, the team turned it on in the last 11 games of the season, going 8-3 and finishing with a .500 record. If it weren't for Daniel Snyder's stubborn attempts to play fantasy football with the Redskins in reality, this would've been a real contender of a team in the years that would've followed.
Anyway, one of the things that marked the season was that Tony Banks was the ultimate game manager for Marty's run-based team. He did perform well in those last 11 games, and was at the worst "serviceable" as a quarterback. In those last 11 games, Tony Banks's stats looked as follows...
157-280, 56.1% comp., 1,934 yards, 8 tds, 7 ints. 76.7 rating.
38 car., 129 yards, 2 td.
8 wins, 3 losses
This year's Redskins could mirror this team pretty well. They had a potent backfield with Stephen Davis starting and Ki-Jana Carter working as a change-of-pace back. The defense, after a rough start, was very formidable. LaVar Arrington and Champ Bailey had Pro Bowl Seasons, and the defense did a good job forcing turnovers and were the 10th ranked defense in the league that year, even though they were blown out the water in their first 4 games. In fact, after the first 4 games of the season, the 2001 defense only allowed 168 points (a stingy 14 ppg allowed). 2011 sees the Redskins with a potentially potent running attack and a strong defense, but this team has started the season 3-2, as opposed to the 2001 team's 0-5 start. This year's defense is only allowing 16.6 ppg, and does a much better job of pressuring the quarterback than the 2001 team ever could dream of.
Now, one may say "John Beck should average more than 176 yards a game if we are to win". Maybe you are right. However, only 7 interceptions in 11 games would be a vast improvement in turnover management by Beck over his predecessor. Plus, if we run the ball, we won't have to ask much from Beck except "don't give the ball up". This kind of managed performance would be wonderful to see from Beck, and conducive to our success this year. If we can go 8-3 in the process, that would have us finish the season at 11-5, and that would definitely put us in the playoffs. I'm not predicting that we will have that kind of a record, but I'm optimistic that this kind of performance would give us a better chance to have that kind of success.
So if Beck can at least get a performance comparable to what Tony Banks did in the last 11 games of the 2001 season, I would be happy with his performance. If he can do better, that would more than fantastic, and should lead to even more success for our beloved braves on the warpath. All I can hope now is that this will happen. Am I crazy for having my expectations of Beck equal to the performance of someone like Tony Banks?
So, tossing aside kool-aid gulping and optimistic drunkenness...what is the minimum expectation YOU expect from John Beck as he takes the reigns of this team?