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By Sticking With Rex Grossman, Mike Shanahan Shows He Could Be Ready For A 2012 Rookie Starter

Matt Barkley, USC

Washington’s reliance on Rex Grossman’s imperfect game against the New York Giants signals something good about Mike and Kyle Shanahan. They have learned to live with imperfection and win with it.

Yesterday’s Giants win, with Grossman at quarterback, was the first sign of growth by the coaches since the Shanahan’s came to Washington. It was also the first sign that the Shanahan’s might know how to be successful with a rookie, First-Round quarterback.

Washington stuck with their game plan Sunday even after Grossman threw two interceptions. Grossman was not benched. Rhythm was not interrupted. A bad outcome in the Jersey meadowlands was avoided.

Bad things happened to Washington when Shanahan benches quarterbacks. So was no comfort to think that Shanny could be successful drafting and starting a rookie in 2013.

Shanahan’s notoriously benched Donovan McNabb in the 2010 Detroit Lions game. The immediate result was a turnover by Grossman. It deprived the Redskins of their best big-play quarterback when a big play was the only shot to win the game.  The shock, because nobody was certain of anything afterwards, sent the ‘Skins into a 2-7 tailspin for the rest of the season . They might have been on a gentle 4-5 slope with McNabb.

This season Shanahan benched Grossman after his four-interception day against Philadelphia. Kyle Shanahan’s  game plan properly targeted Eagles safety Kurt Coleman. But Coleman played big that day to snag three of the four interceptions he would make all season. Shanahan benched Grossman at halftime. The ‘Skins lost that game and the next five while averaging eight points-per game until the Dolphins game (week 10).

Grossman said the offense turned a corner in the week 11 Cowboys game. He may be on to something. Washington scored no less than 19 points in the five games since then.

Not cooperating with the quarterback plan

Grossman got the memo that Robert Griffin III will replace him in 2012. He refuses to cooperate. If Grossman leads Washington to wins in one or both of their next two games, a real possibility, it screws up the front office’s plans to pick one of the premier quarterbacks up for grabs in the 2012 NFL Draft. Shanahan should speak to Grossman about what he’s doing to the team. (Statement not to be taken seriously.)

We sing Robert Griffin 3rd‘s praises here, but Baylor’ promo video portray RG3 as a downfield runner with a windmill throwing motion. That’s not Shanahan’s idea of a good fit. Shanahan’s QB management since his arrival in Washington gave no indication that Washington would be a good fit for Griffin, until yesterday.

Living with imperfection makes Shanahan a better coach for the 21st-Century quarterbacks coming out of the BCS, like Griffin III or USC’s Matt Barkley (pictured with this story), who are quite different than QBs who entered the league in the late 1990s.

Point after

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