Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is keeping the favorite in his team’s quarterback battle close to his vest, despite widespread questions of who will be D.C.’s next signal-caller.
Until an hour before game time in Washington's preseason game against Baltimore on Aug. 25, neither the media nor the team knew exactly who was going to start under center for the Redskins: Jon Beck or Rex Grossman. Shanahan made his announcement public when he informed the media shortly before the 8 p.m. kickoff that Grossman would get the start, with the two quarterbacks alternating every two possessions.
Although Washington lost the game 34-31, both quarterbacks had their moments in what many refer to as the most important game of the preseason. Against a normally stingy Ravens defense, Grossman finished with 112 yards passing, one touchdown and a 99.9 quarterback passer rating. Beck made his own case for the regular season nod with 108 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception and a 90.8 passer rating. Statistically speaking, neither quarterback gained much ground, but Grossman still appears to have a leg up on Beck.
Standing in the face of a fierce Ravens pass rush, Grossman displayed arm strength and confidence in his time as a starter. But Beck’s 37-yard loft to Anthony Armstrong in the second quarter helped spark the team’s first offensive touchdown, before running back Tim Hightower found the end zone from 37 yards out a short time later.
However, it was Grossman who routinely flashed his trademark arm strength and ability to hit receivers on quick throws across the middle. After two games with both signal callers available, Shanahan said he had made no decisions about who the starting quarterback will be heading into the season.
“I thought we made some strides,” Shanahan told The Washington Post after the game. “We had some penalties that held us back at times, but I thought both quarterbacks looked good.”
Washington’s last game of the preseason is Sept. 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It appears that the fight to be the club’s next starting QB will probably go down to the final hour in next weekend’s game.