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Posted at 4:48 PM ET, 12/17/2010

Rex Grossman hopes to make most of unexpected opportunity

By Jason Reid

Interrupted during his regular post-practice weight-lifting session Thursday night at Redskins Park, backup quarterback Rex Grossman was summoned to Coach Mike Shanahan's office at the complex.

And after leaving the brief meeting, Grossman was an NFL starter again.

Shanahan informed the eight-year veteran he planned to bench six-time Pro Bowler Donovan McNabb in Sunday's game against Dallas, elevating Grossman to first string for the final three games of the regular season. Although Grossman had received hints that the major move could occur, he didn't know for sure until Shanahan, who runs Washington's football operation, made it official.

Shanahan revealed he informed McNabb, who signed a contract extension on Nov. 15, that he may not return next season. So in the final three games, Grossman could be playing for much more than a spot on the 53-man roster in 2011.

After Grossman was run out of Chicago and relegated to second string the past two seasons, Shanahan has given him a chance to revive his career. He plans to make the most of the unexpected opportunity.

"It's a big opportunity for me to go out and go play well and lead this team to a victory," Grossman said. "I think it's pretty obvious what's at stake. I'm very excited about it.

"It's an unbelievable opportunity to go down to Dallas in this rivalry game and show what I can do with this offense and this team. I'm very excited about it. I'm confident we can go win."

In Week 8 against Detroit, Coach Mike Shanahan benched McNabb in favor of Grossman in the final 1 minute 50 seconds of a 37-25 loss. Last season, Grossman worked in a very similar version of Shanahan's system with Houston under then-Texans offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who now runs the Redskins' offense.

After benching McNabb at Ford Field, Shanahan cited Grossman's familiarity with the two-minute offense as the primary motive for the move. On his first play against Detroit, Grossman was sacked, fumbled and the ball was returned for a touchdown.

The Chicago Bears selected Grossman in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2003 draft. In 2006, the only season in which he played a full 16-game schedule with the Bears, Grossman helped them reach the Super Bowl.

But he was run out of Chicago after the 2008 season and has not started a game since Nov. 9, 2008. Grossman has a career passer rating of 69.6

"I definitely have had some time to reflect ... on my time in Chicago and what I would do differently and how I would, if given the opportunity to be a starter again, how I would go about it," Grossman said. "So I definitely have a game plan. Not only for Dallas but for myself as well."

Grossman said he and McNabb spoke about Shanahan's decision Thursday and acknowledged that the situation is awkward.

"I respect everything he's done," Grossman said of McNabb. "He's been great to all of the teammates; he's been great to me. I've learned a lot from him. This is a tough situation, but it is what it is and I'm excited about."

Statistics aside, McNabb has played poorly, according to several people who have reviewed film of his performance. In making the switch to Grossman, the coaching staff hopes to better gauge the rest of the offense without McNabb as the controls.

But even if Grossman, who has a base salary of $755,000 this season, performs well down the stretch in the No. 1 role, the Redskins are still expected to select a quarterback high in the draft. At this point, it appears highly doubtful McNabb will be part of the Redskins' future.

"Every quarterback's different," Grossman said. "I can't really speak on what he does, but this is my second year in this system. I haven't had a lot of game experience.

"I feel like it does what I do well: chances to go deep, and then intermediate patterns and then down to the check downs. It gives you an opportunity to make big plays without trying to create your own big plays. I just want to run the offense and not try to do anything special."

By Jason Reid  | December 17, 2010; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  Rex Grossman  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Donovan McNabb: 'I respect Mike's decision as a head coach, but I strongly disagree with it.'
Next: Redskins-Cowboys injury report: Kedric Golston out


Kyle or Haslett into a similar position at this point.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Um, newsflash genius, Kyle Shanahan was a very well respected offensive coordinator with Houston for a couple of years before coming to DC. He was widely regarded as a top young offensive mind. He would have no problem getting another coordinator job.

Why do you play sports writer? You are really not very good at it.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty

Ummm, news flash. Has his value gone up since he left Houston? Kinda doubt it, don't you? I doubt people will be beating down the door for the boy wonder who couldn't get on the same page with the 6-time Pro Bowl QB.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Follow the leader to the new post. Follow


Posted by: beep-beep | December 17, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for all of the fans who bought DM5 jerseys. What a stupid move, two draft picks for 13 games. AH92 must be laughing his a$$ off. Now AH92 can say it is not me it is the idiot coaches in washington. This Sunday will be fun, we will be the idiot talk of the town. I can only think that they are playing to get hight draft picks, now they are at roughly #10 in the draft. If we loose out proabably #6.

Posted by: m_p_holmes | December 17, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Rex Grossman. If he were the real deal, we wouldn't have him as a player.

The Shanny era of the Redskins - either he has caught Redskinitis and is now displaying Zorn-like stupidity, or we just added an idiot to our roster.

The final three games of this season are going to be painful to watch.

Half of this team needs to go.

Posted by: laserwizard | December 17, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow... I bet college QB's can't WAIT to play for this franchise!!!

Posted by: Redskinrex | December 17, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Merry Xmas to the Dallas secondary, it came early for you.

Posted by: clark202 | December 17, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't the joke be that Grossman goes out and performs at a high level and then leaves as an unrestricted free agent?

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | December 17, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I love the move, one of the few shanahan gets right. Cut Mcnabb let him sign with another team, Arizona comes to mind I think he will be great there. But this is the first sign and am praying that we try to rebuild if u like it or not this team needs younger players. Young QB in draft please.

Posted by: Jmel1 | December 17, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to see what was going on with McNabbs contract. No guaranteed money. they wanted to lock the guy up so they could recoup what they lost trading for him.

Arizona or Minnesota will give up a pick to get him. That's what we need, draft picks..... and at least two seasons of them to rebuild.

Posted by: skins91r | December 17, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I hope this is a sign of rebuilding. I think it will be best for all. I have seen enough of Rex Grossman. I know what he is about. We should let the young guy take a swing at it. We should also look at trading the players who talk trash. Laron Landry, Deangelo Hall

Posted by: skinsfanfrmbirth | December 17, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Sally Jenkins article was spot on. As for where she lives, when did that have to do with being a real fan. I live 500 miles from the stadium and am more of a fan than what I see on this blog.

Is Rex the future, prob. not. But Mcnabb has just not made good decisions in winable games. Jason Reid seemed more concerned about MC Nabb than the skins.


A REAL fan.
Go to Balitmore sell outs, or for that matter go to Dallas.

Posted by: rodskin | December 17, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

rodskin ,well said .

Posted by: FOURWATTS | December 17, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I was crying last January. I am now smiling so is my husband! I went from a size 28 to a size 4 petite with "Hypersonic Weight Loss"

Posted by: jaspermax | December 18, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Come on Rex. One time. We have to sweep Dallas to save something from this season.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | December 18, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey Rodskin, I agree with you. Here is some of Jenkin's post: "We've had 13 games to gather data on McNabb's performance; we have all of his statistics, and he has done nothing to solidify his hold on the position. He has been visibly slow to master the new offense, and made routine plays look hard with his plaguing habit of skipping the ball off the turf. He can be shockingly casual and unfocused. He has made baffling mistakes for a veteran, such as running out of bounds when he needed to keep the clock running, or fumbling the ball on a routine slide. There is something frustratingly sleepy about him, even when he plays well. "

She is right. About time MS make sthe move. Rex is not the answer but if he plays betee than Mc5 then we will have answers. If he does not, we still have some answers. Good move.

Posted by: mustang_johnny1 | December 18, 2010 4:44 AM | Report abuse

Like I said earlier, NOBODY CRIED when the punter was let go. He was 30th in punting and then made the mistake on Sunday. Why are people crying over Mc5?? He has sucked. He keeps missin open receivers and when he finds them he is not that accurate. That overturned catch at end of game to Santana? That was all Mc5 throwing so badly behind. Hopped it to Cooley. Yeah they scored but why is it unimaginable that he has not grasped the offense and finally the two Shanny's are saying, enough? Why else would MK make the move if not to better the team? He brought Mc5 in so he believedin him.. He has let him down. He let ALL OF US DOWN.

STOP CRYING people. We need winners.

Posted by: mustang_johnny1 | December 18, 2010 4:49 AM | Report abuse

This move will change this team going forward one way or the other. This move is all about Kyle Shanahan. He has been wanting to do this all year. If Sexy Rexy somehow plays decent Kyle will have more of a say going forward. McNabb (by not playing well) and the whole team (for sucking so bad to be 5-8) have let this happen. I would not worry too much about Sexy Rexy being our QB of the future. If anything he may be a mentor to whomever we pick in the draft if he shows good enough in these next few games. If not Shanny will get another vet free agent to mentor whomever he picks and whenever Kyle comes up with another bright idea Shanny will just say one word...Rex. This move is about the future not about the QB. Shanny is doing this to evaulate his son.

Posted by: B2WIN | December 18, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

This is about not showing respect to Kyle! He is thin skinned like his Dad. But he has no achievement list, so he has to use this Dad to give credibility to this action.

Only problem, his Dad turned a top 10 defense into last place defense in the league. Dad Shanny is loosing his credibility too.

Posted by: SeedofChange | December 18, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Those things that happened in Chicago really happened it is not your imagination. Wait until Sunday. I want Mike Shanahan to answer questions on Sunday when they get blown out by the cowboys. No excuses this time. Rex Grossman cannot play. He is nobodys future. He was not a pro bowl quarterback. He is going to get killed by the Cowboys. I want the post to send a real reporter to the post game press conference and to the Monday Press Conference and have mike shanahan explain why he does not know that Rex Grossman is not a good quarterback. How the Dallas Cowboys crushed the Redskins. Please do not cower in your seat. Be a reporter and ask the tough questions. The Redskins have never been held accountable for their behavior. Here is your chance. This is going to be ugly.

Posted by: HelloNewman53 | December 18, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"Shockingly casual and unfocused" just about says it all. There hasn't been a lot of fire in McNabb's play. It should be obvious the Iggles knew what they were doing.

Posted by: rsgwynn1 | December 18, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

To do the benching during Dallas Week is totally unacceptable. Again, winning our next game takes a back seat. If Rex gets hurt during our first offensive series, how hard is DM5 going to play for this HC and OC? He'll want to prevent being injured for the sake of his new team, probably in AZ. There's too much back room drama going on with this current management team in place.

Posted by: DeployedFan | December 18, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

WOW...focus people. Big picture. 1. Shanny got snookered on the McNabb deal. Last season EARLY, McNabb was still McNabb, but as the season went on, he looked old-slow-out of shape (see Philly v. Dallas at the end os season). This BTW, was probably AFTER Shanny had made his trips to teams looking at training camps and and practices. SIDEBAR...for all you thinking that the game passed shanny by, he spent most of last season looking at pro and college programs to see what they were doing that he wasn't. Like all good coaches, he was looking to ALWAYS IMPROVE. The one and only thing he asks of his your best to try to learn and improve.

2. As this season has gone on, McNabb has not only NOT improved, he has regressed in some areas. This is even as the line has ACTUALLY improved slightly since mid season. He has only hit a handful of receivers in stride all season, he has taken on Campbellitis - fumbling when hit and checking down when open receivers run freein the secondary. THAT may be the one thing that got him benched.

3. Bounce Passing...has his arm gotten that weak and old???

4. How many times has his terrible footwork casued him to trip over his own players feet...and how many other QBs has that happend to on multiple occasions this year???

5. The casual and unfocused could have also been used last year during the Dallas/Philly finale when he was air guitaring it while running through the tunnel going onto Jerry World. Big game - win and you are division champs, lose and you have to come back the next week for consecutive road games against the same opponent. He's not focused, thinking of the game, he's listening to Journey or Wham!

plain and simple...we got taken to the cleaners. Why else would a team trade a starting QB to someone in his own division. At least Shanny has acknowledged his mistake and is trying to move on. At the time maybe Shanny thought we had more talent on the roster and we were one player away. Now he (Shanny) knows we are REBUILDING. No PLayoffs this year, or the next.

So...all you "fans". For the rest of this year and next...wins are not the issue. PROGRESS and BUILDING a solid roster are. I don't care if we go 3-13/5-11. If we are getting better and hungrier, its progress. Super Bowl XLVII here we come.

Posted by: sanantonioredskin | December 18, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"I just want to run the offense and not try to do anything special."

No, don't do anything "special". We are a mediocre team (or less) and will continue to be so with that kind of attitude!

Posted by: eedchic | December 18, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Benching McNabb is not that big of a deal, and it might help him and the whole team in the long run. Here's why . . .

The season is over. These last games are only for evaluation of current roster. Shanahan is looking forward. Bitter fans and media are looking back.

McNabb is signed to a contract. He will play for us next year, or be traded. It often helps a QB who is learning a new system to watch from the sidelines for a few games. McNabb has been taking the worst physical beating that he has experienced since he was a rookie. This is the best path to put an improved, healthy McNabb on the field next season.

If Grossman really looks good, then we have more options.

1. We could trade McNabb, draft a QB and bring the rookie along behind Grossman.
2. Trade Grossman, improve draft position, and bring rookie along behind McNabb.

If Grossman stinks it up, then we have lost nothing and learned that Grossman is not an option to start, and may not even be a legit back-up.

Everyone knows that neither Grossman nor McNabb are a long term solution. Shanahan knows it too.

Furthermore, lets look at the other option. If we continue to play McNabb, we risk an injury to a player we will be looking to trade, or start next season. And we continue to mire our offensive system with a player that is not executing the offensive system. I don't blame McNabb. It took him 4-5 years to settle in to the offense in Philly. He has been with this system for less than a season. All things considered, I think he has done OK and tried hard to win.

This is the kind of move more coaches should make at the end of a losing season. They don't because they think they need to win some of those last games to save their job. This is a sign that Shanahan is the dominant presence in the front office, and is aboard for the long haul.

Go Redskins! Beat those Cowpunks!!

- blobdog

Posted by: blobdog | December 18, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Was the benching a business decision or a football decision? Was it about preventing DM5 from achieving certain season goals (number of games started, yards gained, passes completed, etc) so as to deprive Philly of a higher pick? Is this possible? The benching event suggests that a win against Dallas tomorrow is less important than a good business decision. As a fan, all I'm concerned with is a W and a sweep against Dallas this season. Football isn't a game; it's a business. Too bad. Sigh!

Posted by: DeployedFan | December 18, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Redskins' fans. Someone like me should have told you this much sooner:


Just ask me or Raiders' owner Al Davis -- sometimes I feel like he and I are the only two people on the planet earth who know this as a fact.

When you look back at Shanny's career as a head coach in the NFL, the only success he's ever had was during the two years his Broncos' teams won Super Bowls. That's it! In his 20 games he coached in Oakland, he was 8-12. His first two years in Denver he was 8-8, then 13-3. The '96 team got a first round playoff bye then lost its first playoff game to wild-card Jacksonville.

Since 1999, Shannahan teams have only reached the playoffs four times, and hold a record of 1-4.

Al Davis knew it, Broncos' owner Pat Bolwen finally figured him out. Now, you Redskins' fans are stuck with him.

Advice: Get rid of him.

Posted by: Spaboy | December 19, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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