Beck looks to show everyone just what kind of qb he is.
The Redskins head south this weekend and will square off against rookie phenom, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Don’t be fooled by the Panthers 1-5 record as they have been in the game late in almost everyone of their games this year. The Panthers field a team that has lost 6 out of 22 starters on the team since the beginning of the season and just recently lost starting right tackle Jeff Otah for the season.
The Panthers have a set of decent ends on defense in Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, Johnson has 5 sacks on the season thus far. They are susceptible to the run as they rank 31st in the NFL in run defense giving up over 140 yards per game.
The Redskins need to return to the basics that got them to 3-1, and that is just plain running the ball and playing hard nosed defense. The fact that two Redskin offensive lineman are out this week (Trent Williams, high ankle sprain-Lichenstager-Torn MCL/ACL) could lead to newly appointed starting qb John Beck having to make quicker decisions and will possibly have to escape the pocket often. John Beck is a lot more mobile than Rex Grossman so I feel a little more comfortable knowing that and I also believe that Beck cannot do any worse than Rex did against the Eagles.
Nobody can be completely sure with Mike Shanahan when it comes to who he will go with a running back, but I would be willing to say that Ryan Torain will more than likely get the majority of the carries on Sunday, but Tim Hightower and Roy Helu are likely to get some carries as well. Much of that depends on how well Sean Locklear and Erik Cook do as they both make their first starts as Redskins this week on the offensive line. Will Montgomery will be starting at left guard and Cook will slide into the starting center position, the shift didn’t look all that bad last weekend against a better defensive unit.
Last but most certainly not least, the offensive play calling needs to maintain the goal of establishing the running game and using the passing game to create the run. Throwing the ball on 3 and 1 may be unorthodox and harder to defend, but it sure is easier to get a first down running the ball forward and not taking chances.
The Panthers offense can be high-octane and is guided by rookie sensation Cam Newton. Newton is a dual threat qb much like Mike Vick and has the ability to tear defenses apart. The Redskins have to get pressure on him early and often and try to contain him and make him make mistakes(which he leads the NFL in interceptions as of this week). The Panthers have a good set of running backs as well as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart make up one of the best running back tandems in the league, and also have a high skilled playmaker in Steve Smith lining up at wideout who has the ability to change games by himself.
This is going to be a game that has to be won in the trenches…
News swept through Redskins Nation today that Mike Shanahan was going to name Rex Grossman as the starting quarterback like a California wildfire. The news was confirmed by Shanahan this afternoon when he said Rex had beat out John Beck in a close competition between the two.
The stats the two quarterbacks put up in preseason show Rex having an advantage.
Grossman’s numbers : 34 for 53 for 407 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and two sacks…his quarterback rating was 92.3.
Beck’s numbers : 30 for 48 for 356 yards, a touchdown and two interception and four sacks….his quarterback rating was 74.7.
Going into his third year in the system, Grossman looked really comfortable this preseason and does have 3 starts to his credit from last year as well. Beck had an uphill battle to fight in this process as he was dealing with a shortened evaluation time frame in which he basically only had 6 weeks to show what he had. It should also be said that Beck played more with the second string in preseason, an obvious disadvantage as well.
I have openly supported the idea of John Beck being the starter this year based on the thought process that we all know what Grossman brings to the table, which is the exact opposite of what we can say for John Beck as he has not seen live game action since 2007. On the other hand, Grossman has a history of being a game managing quarterback who did guide a strong defensive team to a Superbowl appearance a few years ago with the Chicago Bears in a system that relied heavily on the running game and a special teams unit who put points on the scoreboard.
I expect the Redskins to have a top ten defense this upcoming season and the offensive line looks like they are a better unit for the zone blocking scheme that will open up holes for the running back trio of Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Ryan Torain. The true key to this season will be if the Redskins can win the battle in the trenches and stay healthy in the process. That does not mean I believe the Redskins will go to the Superbowl this season, but I do believe they will win more games then they lose this year and will shock some teams in the process.
I doubt we have seen the last of John Beck, but for now the “Sexy Rexy” era has begun in DC, only time will tell if it’s the right decision or how long it will last.
We are coming down the stretch run now in the preseason as the Redskins are slated to face the Tampa Bay Bucs on Thursday night in what will be the final preseason game.
Some may think the coaches already pretty much know who is going to make the team, some may think that a lot of the positions are still up for grabs. The truth will not be known for a few more days but when the smoke clears, Washington will be poised to prove some doubters wrong this season. That being said, everyone should still be focused on the offensive line play in these games as it cannot be anymore true that as they go this season, the Redskins will follow. The game against Tampa Bay will be the first time Ryan Torain will see action this preseason as he is coming back to find himself caught in the middle of an all of a sudden, deep backfield. Tim Hightower has been looking like a natural fit in Mike Shanahans system this preseason and rookie running backs Evan Royster and Roy Helu have been showing sparks as well.
Brandon Banks will be seeing playing time for the first time since the first preseason game. The only thing in my eyes that may hold Banks back from making the team this year is his nagging knee injury and the fact that he isn’t a guy who can play wide receiver like some of the guys he is in competition with.
Some question marks that I have include, just how hurt is Laron Landry? Will he be ready for week 1? If Laron can’t go week 1 against the Giants then Reed Doughty looks to be the guy who will have to step in at strong safety.
This game will probably be a game we see a lot of John Beck in, I for one want to see as much out of him as we possibly can. The thing about the Beck vs Grossman qb battle is that we all know what Rex brings to the table as most of us have seen him try to force the issue in close games and turn the ball over, but little is known about just how John Beck will react to those same situations. It has appeared that the offense looks energized when he is on the field this preseason and he appears to know the system rather well, Rex has also looked rather impressive for the most part this year and has played like a solid veteran, which is going to make the decision on who starts this year a very difficult call.
The strength of the Redskins this year will most certainly come from the defensive side of the ball and this last preseason game may prove to be a make or break moment for some of the rookies who are trying to make the roster. Should be interesting who steps into Jarvis Jenkins role now that he is out for the season with a torn ACL.
One thing is for certain, it’s time for a some guys to step up in this last preseason game if they want to make the 53 man roster this year.