Is Grossman worth it?

The news broke today that Rex Grossman is going to start at quarterback for the Redskins in their Week 1 match-up versus the Giants.

Personally, I think Grossman is the better choice (over John Beck), considering his playing experience (especially within Mike Shanahan’s system).

However, that doesn’t mean the Redskins are in good shape. Even with an improved running game, they are still likely headed for a fourth place finish in the NFC East. The Eagles and Cowboys both improved their personnel, and the Giants (although banged up already) still have Super Bowl winning experience.

The Redskins brought in defensive linemen Barry Cofield (former Giants DL) & Ryan Kerrigan (16th overall pick in the 2011 draft) to help improve a defense that was ranked 31st in the league last year. Alongside veterans such as London Fletcher, DeAngelo Hall and LaRon Landry, their defense will certainly improve.

Still, what will they do on offense? Tim Hightower has been a nice story during this pre-season, but they will need Grossman to make plays on his own, and get them out of tough situations.

Can Grossman do that? I’m not so sure.

Donovan McNabb was that playmaker, but he was traded to Minnesota on July 27.

The only reason you should trade someone with McNabb’s resume’ is if you firmly believe in his back-up. Either that, or something went on behind the scenes that got to Shanahan so much, it caused him to jettison McNabb and give the reigns to a player who hasn’t proven his ability to carry an NFL team.

Why would Shanahan put his team in a position like that? There’s no way he can argue that Grossman or Beck has performed better than McNabb (I’ll address that argument shortly). It makes me believe his ego (and maybe McNabb’s, too) got in the way too often, causing them both to want nothing more than to part ways.

We may not know the answer to why Shanahan really got rid of McNabb for a long time, if ever. All we can do now is analyze the move, and see if the right choice was made.

First of all, the Redskins were compensated with two draft picks in exchange for trading McNabb (a late-round pick in 2012 and a 2013 pick, contingent upon McNabb’s performance this year).

In that aspect, the compensation isn’t bad.

But teams that trade for draft picks do so if they have depth at the position. In other words, if they feel they can afford a certain amount of residual in performance by the back-up, they will trade the starter for draft picks.

So, since the compensation the Redskins received for McNabb wasn’t that special, the Redskins front office must really believe in either Rex Grossman or John Beck.

Well, that is a strange theory, considering how it took them until six days before their season opener to name a starter. In other words, if you’re sold on someone, you don’t make them prove their worth and risk injury in a pre-season position battle.

Secondly, McNabb’s accomplishments are clearly greater than either Grossman’s or Beck’s (see chart below).

Games started Regular season record (winning pct.) Post season record (winning pct.) Completions/Attempts Completion pct. Yards TD INT Rush Yards Rush TD
McNabb 155 97-57-1 (62.5%) 9-7 (56.2%) 3,076/5,218 58.9% 36,250 230 115 3,400 28
Grossman 34 20-14 (58.8%) 2-2 (50%) 598/1,104 54.2% 7,081 40 40 95 3
Beck 4 0-4 (0%) N/A 60/107 56.1% 559 1 3 12 1

source: profootballreference.com

Still not convinced? Check out the comparison between McNabb’s and Grossman’s Super Bowl performances:

Completions/Attempts/Completion pct. Yards TD INT Run support Result
McNabb(SB XXXIX) 30/51 (58.8%) 357 3 3 Brian Westbrook (45 yards) L, 21-24 (Patriots)
Grossman (SB XLI) 20/28 (71.4%) 165 1 2 Thomas Jones (112 yards) L, 17-29 (Colts)

source: nfl.com

There you are. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, McNabb is a better quarterback than either Grossman or Beck. Yes, many of McNabb’s successes came in his earlier years. But when statistical evidence like that is so overwhelming in McNabb’s favor, you go with him.

Or, in Washington’s case, you’re giving “the keys to the car” to Grossman, who barely beat out an unproven, vastly inexperienced Beck (averaging one start per NFL season).

Then again, it makes sense for the Redskins to do this. After all, they signed Albert Haynesworth to a $100 contract, knowing how problematic he could be.

Week 16 in Washington is when McNabb and the Vikings are scheduled to go to Washington and face Grossman and the Redskins. With McNabb’s luck, he will probably be having a great season, then get injured or make a turnover late, costing the Vikings the game.

But in my opinion, however the 2011 season ends for the Redskins, it will cause them to regret trading Donovan McNabb.

Thanks for reading.

-Mike

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Filed under 2011 Regular Season

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