Home > Sports > Quarterback Roulette: The Case for Instability

Quarterback Roulette: The Case for Instability


I’m in favor of a lack of stability at the Quarterback position. That’s right. Especially if you root for a very average football team that has no proven QB- forget this business about establishing consistency at the position. I say shuffle ‘em in and out like a revolving door.

Everybody in Redskin nation is waiting for Wednesday to see if Washington Head Coach, Mike Shanahan, will appoint John Beck to succeed Rex Grossman, who, regrettably, is one of those people who thinks he’s much better than he really is.

After throwing four largely inexplicable interceptions against the Eagles Sunday, in his post-game comments, Grossman blamed his receivers for two of them. And then he said he has faith in himself even if the fans don’t- even if the coaches don’t. See, I would argue the fans and the coaches are key constituencies. Take them out of the equation and all you have left, really, are your wife and your dog. Lose the fans and the coaches and I would consider it a big red flag.

Rex has taken much criticism over the years because he has a tendency to give the ball to the other team, which goes against the basic principle that you try to score more points than your opponent. He pretty much averages two turnovers in every single game he’s ever played. If he’s not throwing passes directly into the hands of surprised but grateful defensive players, he’s coughing the ball up like my cats pass hairballs. Actually, statistically, Grossman is even worse this year than his pedestrian career average.

Here’s another analogy. In college football, coaches change quarterbacks like my girlfriend changes outfits prior to a night out on the town. A lot. The NFL should be no different, especially if, like the Redskins, you only have mediocre quarterback talent to choose from in the first place. And if truth be told, my girlfriend has better outfits than the Redskins have good quarterbacks.

So if your quarterback throws an interception that’s not his fault, a defensive player has made a great play or your receiver accidently tips the ball to the defender- he should get a mulligan. But the first time he appears to have mistaken the colors of the uniforms and hands the bad guys a gift- like Grossman did repeatedly Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles- take him out. In with the next guy. If he sucks, pull him out too and go to the third guy. If he sucks, and you don’t have a 4th guy, go back to the 1st guy. One of them is bound to get hot sometime.

I would not favor this strategy if we had a real quarterback. I do understand the virtues of stability. If you’re John Elway, you get to throw a few bone-headed interceptions- but only because you’ve thrown twice as many touchdowns. But Rex Grossman? John Beck? Jonathan Crompton? Completely replaceable and interchangeable. Hockey does it with goalies. Baseball does it with pitchers. And the Redskins ought to do it with their quarterbacks. Especially these quarterbacks.

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