ASHBURN, Va. (AP)—Rex Grossman is getting his long-awaited next chance to lead an NFL team from the opening bell. John Beck has to turn his patience meter on once again.
Wednesday was debriefing day for the Washington Redskins quarterback competition, a gentlemanly affair decided in favor of the nine-year veteran who once took a team to the Super Bowl but never really got the glory or appreciation that comes along with it.
“Anytime something gets taken away from you and then you get it back, you have a different outlook, a different type of approach and respect to the position you’re in,” said Grossman, who will be at the helm for Sunday’s opener against the New York Giants. “To be the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins is a huge thing, and I fully understand it. And it’s my goal to take it and run with it.”
Each quarterback took his turn at the podium, giving his reaction to the decision announced Monday by coach Mike Shanahan. Both behaved impeccably throughout the duel that lasted through all of training camp and preseason, but Beck was also candid about his disappointment over the outcome.
“I knew a decision was going to have to be made,” Beck said. “And one of us was going to be the guy, and the other one was going to be pissed. So I was the guy that was pissed, but I’m not going to let that disturb me. I don’t want it to hold me back from anything. I just want to keep moving ahead.”
Grossman led the Chicago Bears to the NFL title game at the end of the 2006 season, but it’s usually said that the Bears led him. He actually had some outstanding games that year — seven times his rating was above the 100 mark — but he also had games with ratings of 10.2, 1.3 and a 0.0, demonstrating the type of erratic play that has come to epitomize his career. Amazingly, Chicago won two of those three stinkers.
Grossman lost the starting job midway through the following season and has essentially been a backup ever since. His ultimate hit-or-miss stat: 40 career touchdowns, 40 career interceptions.
“Chicago was a great experience for me,” Grossman said. “The reaction was kind of extreme, both ways. I think in 2006 I was offensive player of the month (in the NFC) and at times the rest of the season I did play like that, and at times it was inconsistent. We were so good on defense, and I was kind of the lightning rod. But I take a lot of experience from that. I feel like I’m a better quarterback than I was then, and I like my chances going into this season a lot better than I did then.”
After a few questions, Grossman said he didn’t want to talk about the Bears anymore, but he returned briefly to the topic himself when asked whether a scheme can make a difference for a quarterback.
“Yeah, they’re not all equal. I think you understand that,” he said. “You look across the league. I’m not knocking Chicago, it’s just the team was set up for different things for success. I fit in well in this offense. I played well in Chicago — not everybody makes it to a Super Bowl — but I do not want to talk about Chicago anymore.”
Grossman in his third year in the current Redskins offensive system — he learned it in Houston before coming to Washington last year — and the quick-flow, keep-it-moving tempo suits him. He also got to run it on the field in the final three games last season after Donovan McNabb was benched.
But, overall, Grossman said he’s better just from his years of experience, and that should cut down on the turnovers.
“The game’s slowed down a lot,” the 31-year-old quarterback said. “As a younger quarterback you kind of see everything. And as a veteran, you see what you need to see.”
Beck received effusive praise from Shanahan during the offseason despite having played his only regular games in 2007, when he had late-season mop-up starts as a rookie with the Miami Dolphins. He couldn’t have asked for a better chance to win a job, but he couldn’t separate himself from Grossman. The two were close statistically until Beck’s lackluster performance in the final preseason game, but Beck said he didn’t think his few missed throws in that half of football made the difference.
Beck said he’s putting together a game plan with Shanahan to come up with ways to improve during the season and be ready if called upon. Grossman will get nearly all of the first-team snaps during practices, while Beck will run the scout team and continue to come in on his days off for extra work.
“I’ve been trying to climb the mountain ever since I got into this league, and I know there’s going to be obstacles, there’s going to be times that you slip and fall,” Beck said. “But I never look at them as ‘I’m down and out.’ I look at them as, ‘That’s an obstacle. I’m getting over it.”’
One thing that kept Beck from expressing any bitterness: He and Grossman both felt the competition was fair.
“There’s been times in the past (with other teams) where you can’t quite trust what they’re actually saying,” Grossman said. “But I have a pretty good relationship with (offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan), and Mike’s a standup guy, so I took them at their word and I trusted it.”
Notes: S LaRon Landry (hamstring) did not practice and said he doesn’t expect to play Sunday. TE Chris Cooley (knee), KR Brandon Banks (knee), WR Donte’ Stallworth (shoulder) and RB Ryan Torain (hand) were limited. ... DE Jarvis Jenkins had surgery on the torn ACL in his right knee and will have 4-to-6 months of rehab. ... Players had to drive to a gym for practice because of heavy rains. The Redskins are building an indoor practice facility, but it’s not expected to be ready until November.