Tuesday September 6th, 2011

Rex Grossman last began the season as a starter in 2006 with the Bears. (Khris Hale/Icon SMI)

After a quarterback battle that lasted the entire preseason and then some, the Redskins' plan for the present is to start Rex Grossman over John Beck.

What's the plan for the future? Your guess is as good as mine.

After passing on any number of quarterbacks in April's draft, the Redskins hyped Beck's potential, trying to convince either us or themselves that a 30-year-old with four career NFL starts could be a piece to build around. And apparently, Washington didn't even buy into the hype -- head coach Mike Shanahan left the QB competition between Grossman and Beck open all preseason.

Grossman earned the right to start, too, given that situation. He was better than Beck, by the narrowest of margins. In three preseason appearances, Grossman finished 34-of-53 for 407 yards, two touchdowns and an interception; Beck, with the same number of outings, went 30-for-48 for 356 yards, one TD and two interceptions.

The reality is that Shanahan will almost certainly use both quarterbacks over the course of the season. Therein, though, lies the problem.

Washington is doing whatever it can with its quarterbacks to try and compete this season, because none of the available options look like viable choices in the long term. The window may have already closed on Beck ever taking the next step, and Grossman, 31, has proven time and again that he's no more than a middle-of-the-road NFL quarterback.

Case in point: Over the past four seasons, Grossman has thrown 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. For his career, those stats are 40 and 40. Grossman always has that 2006 Super Bowl run with the Bears in his back pocket, but even that season, he tossed 20 picks and had a QB rating of 73.9 -- a mark topped in 2010 by the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith and Chad Henne.

At this point in his career, we all pretty much know what Grossman is: an OK quarterback with the occasional flash of brilliance. Beck isn't trending much better, given that he was 26 when he broke into the league and hasn't even had a regular season snap since 2007.

Behind Grossman and Beck is third-stringer Kellen Clemens, who, if life imitated "Tecmo Super Bowl," would be Steve Grogan.

This is a hold-the-fort situation for Washington, only it's unclear who's coming as reinforcement. Andrew Luck? Matt Barkley? Landry Jones? Those are just three of the options Washington could look at in the 2012 draft. The biggest name in the potential 2012 free agent class -- assuming New Orleans doesn't forget to offer Drew Brees a contract -- is Kyle Orton, followed by Jason Campbell, a guy who has already been run out of Washington.

Remember Washington's last "QB of the future?" Aside from Campbell, it was Colt Brennan, the 2008 sixth-round pick that became an inexplicable fan favorite despite never doing anything on the field. At last check, Brennan had been unable to find a home in the UFL.

The one that got away for the Redskins might wind up being Chase Daniel. Washington signed Daniel as an undrafted free agent in 2009, but he never made it onto the active roster and was cut just before the '09 regular season. New Orleans picked him and he's now Brees' backup in the bayou.

All the missteps and flops -- we haven't even discussed Donovan McNabb's 2010 D.C. face-plant -- have left Washington without much direction. You don't wind up with a Grossman-vs.-Beck QB controversy if everything has gone according to plan. So, Washington will try to duct tape the offense together with, for now, Rex Grossman. It's an imperfect solution to a miserable situation, one that doesn't seem set to get better any time soon.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.