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Roster Review: Quarterbacks

Posted Mar 1, 2012

With free agency and the NFL Draft fast approaching,'s Brian Tinsman breaks down the Redskins' roster position by position. Up next: quarterbacks.

With free agency and the NFL Draft fast approaching, breaks down the Redskins' roster position by position. Up next: quarterbacks.

In 2011, the Redskins hosted an open competition in training camp to determine the team’s starter at quarterback. Donovan McNabb had been traded to Minnesota, leaving Rex Grossman to compete with John Beck.

Both Grossman and Beck were given the opportunity to start two preseason games, and head coach Mike Shanahan ultimately awarded the job to Grossman after Beck struggled in the preseason finale.

Grossman started off well in the regular season, completing 58 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and five interceptions while leading the Redskins to a 3-1 start.

However, the wheels fell off against Philadelphia in Week 6 when Grossman threw four costly interceptions. He was replaced by Beck in the fourth quarter.

Beck led the offense to a late touchdown against the Eagles, earning himself three more starts. The Redskins went winless during that stretch, though, forcing Shanahan to reinstall Grossman as the starter in Week 10 at Miami.

Grossman finished out the season, posted a 2-6 record down the stretch. He finished with 13 starts, a completion percentage of 58 percent, 3,151 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He had a 72.4 quarterback rating.

Beck finished with a 60.6 completion percentage, 858 passing yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. His quarterback rating was 72.1.

Jonathan Crompton, a first-year quarterback, re-signed with the Redskins in early January.

He spent last year on the Redskins’ practice squad after he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in preseason.


The Redskins' quarterback position will be closely scrutinized this season. It seems to be a certainty that change is coming.

Will the Redskins sign a free agent? Or will they go for a top draft prospect? Clearly the Redskins have options.

The rumor mill has already included some high profile names such as pending free agents Matt Flynn and Kyle Orton. And Robert Griffin III's impressive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine left many Redskins fans dreaming of him playing in the burgundy and gold.

Meantime, Grossman enters the 2012 offseason as an unrestricted free agent. His penchant for turnovers could cost him his job in Washington, as it has his entire career.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that Grossman could return next season, but it would most likely be as a backup -- if he is willing to accept that role.

Beck is under contract for 2012. He will likely have to compete for a roster spot next training camp and preseason.

Crompton will get a chance to compete as well. Looking back through a 2010 draft guide, he was ranked as the second-best quarterback prospect, behind Sam Bradford and ahead of Jimmy Clausen, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy.

Perhaps the Redskins should give Crompton a closer look?

Three NFL Quarterbacks Eligible for Free Agency

As of March 1, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: For the second time in four years, Brees threw for 5,000 yards and last season he broke the single-season passing mark held for 27 years by Dan Marino. At age 33, Brees is an elite, Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Saints – he is widely expected to stay there.

-- Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers: Flynn represents an intriguing option for a quarterback-hungry team. He has started two games for the Packers in each of the last two seasons, including a start for the resting Aaron Rodgers in Week 17 last season. Against Detroit, Flynn completed 31-of-44 passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns, setting the Packers’ single game franchise passing mark.

-- Kyle Orton, Kansas City Chiefs: The well-traveled Orton, a 7-year NFL veteran, once took Rex Grossman’s starting job in Chicago. Orton started the first five games of last season for the Denver Broncos, but the team struggled to a 1-4 mark. He was cut and picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12, where he started three games, including a Week 17 win over his former Denver teammates.

Three Quarterbacks Available In NFL Draft

As of March 1, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- Robert Griffin III, Baylor: Last season, Griffin completed 72.4 percent of his passes for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions. The 6-2, 220-pounder played in a spread offense, so there’ll be an adjustment to the NFL game and especially NFL blitzes, but his arm strength, accuracy and mobility make him a potential franchise quarterback.

-- Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: Weeden was a 2002 draft pick by the New York Yankees but his baseball career ended due to injury. So he enrolled at Oklahoma State. Last year, Weeden completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards, 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He turns 29 next October and his age could work against him in the draft. At 6-4 and 218 pounds, he has decent mobility in the pocket.

-- Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M: Tannehill has played the quarterback position just two years at the college level. (He started at Texas A&M as a wide receiver.) Last season, Tannehill completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 3,744 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He may not be an immediate NFL starter due to his background, but scouts project him as an NFL starter.



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