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4 Reasons the John Beck Quarterback Experiment Could Work

Here are some of our December, 17, 2010, Dallas week reactions when Rex Grossman was shockingly announced the Redskins starting Quarterback over Donovan McNabb (Vegas had to pull the line off):

  • I'm done...I wouldn't let Grossman start my F'ing car. Shanny just go the hell away.
  • why? why? why?...(crying like Nancy Kerrigan)
  • I never thought I'd say this...but I wish we still had Colt Brennan. I'd rather see him than Grossman.

In fairness, there were multiple comments that McNabb deserved the benching and we need to see what we have in Rex. I truly consider Hogs Haven the most intellectual Redskins e-Tailgates out there, but sometimes our football knowledge parallels that of Joe Theismann's punting skills. Obviously, our daily conclusions are based off media droppings, which probably make up 15% of the factual Redskins Park events, but alas, we know everything.

Let's fast forward four and half months to this week where Shanahan praised the former third-string QB:

"Let me say, when John Beck did come out [of college], I had him rated as the top quarterback coming out that year, and I didn't even think it was close....he has not disappointed me since he's been here...He can do some things with his legs that a lot of quarterbacks can't do. He's in that 4.675 [40-yard dash] range." 

The very second my brain interpreted Beck was possibly the Redskins 2011 starting basically mimicked JimmyK's reaction when McNabb was drafted. OH MY GOD. But after a few Scotch's and a heavy dose of John Beck research, I'm ready to take this cliff dive. The former 2007 2nd round pick's experiences at BYU and the Dolphins, which I'll detail after the jump, serve as a good résumé. When I couple that background with his Shanaplan 101 credits earned last season under McNabb and Grossman, I have 4 reasons to feel confident with John Dalton Beck as our starting 2011 signal caller:

1.)   Accuracy - At Brigham Young University, due to injuries, Beck was thrown into the starting role as a true freshman. His accuracy percentages his four seasons at BYU: 50.3%, 56.0%, 64.5%, 69.5%.

After his Sophomore season, Head Coach Gary Crowton was fired for his "questionable play-calling and never-ending playbook." With the new regime, came stability, winning, and lots of accuracy. I guess Crowton was the Jim Zorn of the Mountain West Conference.

2.)   Beck has played behind a Horrendous OLine before:

The Dolphins were a horrendous team in 2007 under head coach Cam Cameron, winning just one game. Perhaps the only thing worse than the Dolphins' record was the Miami offensive line. Playing behind that line, in 5 games, Beck ended up completing 56 percent of his passes, going 60-107 for 559 yards and one touchdown. (He threw three interceptions, fumbled five times and was sacked 10 times).

So, running for his life is nothing new to him. Beck has decent mobility in the pocket. My advice to Beck: start working out with Darrell Green.

3.)   Beck was a winner on the collegiate level.

  • Conducted a 31-17 clinic at 15th-ranked TCU,
  • A 38-8 shellacking of Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, their 1st Bowl win since 1996,
  • Tossed what would become known as the "answered prayer" in a 33-31 come-from-behind win at arch-rival Utah to secure a Mountain West Conference title. 
  • As a Junior, helped lead BYU to its first non-losing season and its first berth in a bowl in four years. (Redskins haven't had a winning record since 2007)

4.)   Gaudy Numbers and Accolades 

  • As a sophomore, passed for at least one 50+ yard completion in six of eleven games.
  • As a junior, Beck was ranked fifth nationally with a league-best 309.1 yards-per-game average, including a league-high 517 yards and 5 TDs in a loss to TCU on Sept. 24, and 41 completions vs Boston College on September 3rd.
  • As a Senior, Beck was ranked as the 2nd best quarterback in the country by ESPN as measured in quarterback efficiency ratings (173.27).
  • 2006 Davey O'Brien andJohnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards finalist
  • 59/21 TD-INT ratio his final two seasons at BYU (only 8 INTs his Senior year)

Beck certainly has all the attributes to be a NFL starter. He easily passes the Rule of 26-27-60 AND Bill Parcells' Principle for drafting QBs. As we saw in the 2011 draft, Shanahan likes smart, hard-working players.  Beck was a BYU team captain and won Academic All-Mountain West his Freshman and Junior years. Plus, he's an Eagle Scout and is fluent in Portuguese, which means he'd be the best wing man ever for Carnival.

In an interview during training camp last summer, Beck said:

"I need to get to the point where I'm playing football and not thinking.  Not walking up to the line and thinking through the play and that's where I'm at right now. I just want to get up [to the line] and play football." Beck went on to talk about late nights at the hotel cramming to learn the playbook. I'm actually starting to buy this might work."

Rex Grossman had that advantage, so we'll see during camp if Beck learned that too. As for his porous time at Miami, "The GM and entire organization was fired. You don't expect that to happen." Well, as Redskins fans, we do expect it and mercifully got it in the end of 2009. To the future!

Sources:  [Deep Shades of Blue, wiki, Pro-Football reference