Tag:Rex Grossman
Posted on: September 10, 2011 1:25 pm

Chris Cooley still questionable to play Sunday

CooleyPosted by Josh Katzowitz

All week long, Redskins TE Chris Cooley has been listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, and because of his balky left knee, he’s been limited in practice (after not playing in any of Washington’s preseason games). So, what’s the deal? The newest starting quarterback (that would be Rex Grossman) -- and the rest of us -- would like to know his status.

“I’m getting better every day,” Cooley said Friday, via the Washington Times.

Of course, that doesn’t tell us anything, which is just the way Redskins coach Mike Shanahan would prefer it.

But there is good news regarding Cooley and his knee injury. He’s lost about 20 pounds and is down to 234, and he could only do so because the injury allowed him to focus on eating right and exercising without having to worry about maintaining his energy for practice.

“It’s a huge benefit to me,” he said. “The responsibilities that the tight end has in the run blocking scheme are a little bit different because of the zone blocking. It’s more about quickness and being able to get your hands on guys and be able to stay with guys.

“I think I’ll be completely fine in the run game. I think I’ll feel better when I’m running routes. I’m assuming I’ll have more endurance taking 20 pounds of weight off.”

If Cooley doesn’t play, look for No. 2 tight end Fred Davis to take over those snaps vs. the Giants. After losing about 15 pounds this offseason, Davis had an impressive training camp, so the Redskins should feel good that the drop-off at the tight end spot shouldn’t be too drastic (of course, they would be going from a Pro Bowler in Cooley to more of an afterthought in Davis).

But since even Cooley admits the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East, the Redskins had better hope he’s on the field Sunday -- or shortly thereafter.

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 1:57 pm

Cooley: Eagles are 'team to beat' in NFC East

Skins TE Chris Cooley calls Eagles "the team to beat" in the NFC East. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Chris Cooley is a lot of things -- a Pro Bowler, an artist and perhaps, above all else, brutally honest.

The Redskins tight end joined 106.7 The Fan in DC to talk about the upcoming season, which is now just two days away (!). And when he was asked about the NFC East, Cooley didn't rattle off the usual "Everybody's 0-0, we're going to give 110 percent but only while taking it one day at a time" cliches. Instead he told the truth and, well, it was a refreshing change of pace.

“I think Philly’s the team to beat, looking at what they’ve done right now," Cooley said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "But when you look at the NFL and you look at the East, everyone can be very good. I wouldn’t be surprised, any way, to see New York and Dallas both being excellent football teams. It’s a tough division and it always will be, but when you look at what Philly did and when you look at the players they have and coming off the year they had last year, I think they’re a very good football team. Obviously we’re not the team to beat based on the way we played last year and what we’ve done over the past couple years.”

Couldn't agree more. But for some reason, it's taboo to say such things publicly, even if everybody's thinking it.

While no one disputes that the Eagles are the preseason front runners, they're not without issues. Michael Vick might insist that you can't design a defense to stop him, but we don't think he was taking his suspect offensive line into account when he made those comments.

We wrote last week that Philly drafted Danny Watkins in the first round and immediately installed him at right guard. Watkins, 26, was considered the most NFL-ready o-lineman in the 2011 draft, which is exactly why the Eagles selected him with the 23rd overall pick. But like most rookies, the transition hasn't been easy. "It's definitely overwhelming. That's for sure. Compared to what I was doing before this, I was just a regular working guy," said Watkins, a former firefighter in West Kelowana, British Columbia. "Now, I've got microphones stuffed in my face and everything. It's an adjustment, that's for sure, in every aspect."

Watkins was playing next to right tackle King Dunlap early in the preseason but that didn't last; left guard Todd Herremans replaced Dunlap at right tackle last week and Evan Mathis took over for Herremans at left guard. Oh, and Philly's starting a rookie center in Jason Kelce.

And that, along with new and improved* Rex Grossman now quarterbacking the Redskins, has Cooley thinking that, even if the Eagles are the team to beat, the NFC East is wide open.

“Yeah I have no question -- any team could win the division now. You could say any team would win it and I wouldn’t be surprised.”

* mileage may vary

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 1:53 pm

Rex Grossman named starter for Redskins opener

Posted by Will Brinson

Even though the Redskins quarterback battle was "wide open" as recently as the final preseason week, it was always kind of assumed that John Beck would get the job. That's just how Mike and Kyle Shanahan roll. Or not -- reports out of Washington today indicate that Rex Grossman will be named the Redskins starter.

Yes, that's right -- the man who earlier this offseason predicted that the Redskins would win the NFC East will get an actual chance to back up his prediction. According to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, Shanahan informed the two quarterbacks of his decision over the weekend and will be rolling the dice with Grossman against the Giants in Week 1.

LaCanfora notes that the situation will be "re-assessed throughout the year" and that's the least surprising thing about this whole situation. Beck will almost assuredly get some starts at some point in the 2011 season, because not only do the Shanahans like him as a quarterback, but once the Redskins find themselves out of playoff contention, they'll want to really see what they've got in Beck to make a decision for the long term.

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 11:29 am

QB job still up for grabs in Washington

Posted by Ryan Wilson

When head coach Mike Shanahan benched Donovan McNabb last season for Rex Grossman, it seemed like the latest chapter in the unintentional comedy stylings of an organization that had been on the wrong side of seemingly every personnel decision in the Dan Snyder era. The faces change, yes, but the story remains the same.

Or so the thinking went.

And while it's way too early to make any grand proclamations about the 2011 season, we feel comfortable enough with what we've seen from Grossman and John Beck to say this: the Skins' quarterbacks aren't that bad. Soft bigotry of low expectations? Perhaps, but we are talking about the Redskins. Yes, that phrase was coined in Washington, and while it wasn't originally intended for the Skins it might as have been.

But as Shanahan begins his second season as the head coach (and his son, Kyle, as the offensive coordinator), the offense looks like something more than a hastily assembled pick-up squad. And we can't stress this enough: they're doing it with Grossman and Beck, one a former first-round pick destined for the life of a backup, and the other a guy who last started an NFL game in 2007 -- four of them, all losses.

So after Grossman made easy work of the Steelers in Week 1 of the preseason, Beck showed well against the Colts in Week 2, and both held their own against the Ravens Thursday night, the starting quarterback situation remains … up in the air. At least to hear Shanahan tell it.

“I’m going to evaluate them all the way through camp, all the way through the last preseason game, possibly up to the day before we play the Giants,” said Shanahan, according to CSNWashington.com, after the Redskins lost, 34-31, to the Ravens. “It all depends on if someone separates themselves.”

"If someone separates themselves" isn't always a positive. It could be the case that two prospective quarterbacks are playing so poorly that a coach is praying one can achieve mediocrity in time for the season. Grossman and Beck present the Redskins with a good problem: two guys playing well, moving the chains and, ultimately, scoring points. Of course, there's always the fear that Grossman reverts to the player we've come to know from his inconsistent days in Chicago. And Beck, despite a four-year NFL career, has next to no actual game experience.

Also not helping: the Skins play in the NFC East, the division the Eagles are predestined to win according to oracle and backup quarterback Vince Young.

But this is the preseason, where every team still has visions of the playoffs, and hopes haven't yet been crushed by the stark reality of the regular season. And for two Redskins' quarterbacks, that means trying to earn the starting nod.

“I do know both of us feel pretty good about what we’ve done,” Beck said. “I’ve tried to do everything I can. Is it enough? That’s hard to say, because I’m not making the decision.”

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 7:00 pm

Rex Grossman starting for Redskins Thursday

Posted by Will Brinson

Surprise, surprise! Looks like the quarterback competition in Washington isn't totally dead yet, as Rex Grossman was named the starter for Thursday night's preseason game against Baltimore.

It's seemed like John Beck would be Mike Shanahan's guy going forward, particularly when Beck got the nod for the Redskins first preseason game and subsequently looked quite sharp during their second week of action.

But GM Bruce Allen, speaking to Chris Russell of ESPN 980, Grossman's getting the nod Thursday.

Of course, no one actually believes that he could end up taking the starter's gig away from Beck. It would require a ridiculous performance from Grossman's against Baltimore's first-string defense and an absolute meltdown by Beck.

Both quarterbacks are expected to play with the first-string offenses, though, so there's certainly some room for comparison.

But making any, ahem, guarantees about Grossman stealing the gig would probably be as unwise as predicting a first-place finish in the NFC East for Shanny's crew.

In other more random Redskins news, the team just announced it's hosting a Madden party at FedEx Field on Monday, August 29. It'll feature giveaways and prizes and stuff and one lucky winner will get to play a game against DeAngelo Hall.

If that lucky winner reads this blog beforehand, and you use the Bears and torch Hall for several touchdowns with Jay Cutler, I'll give you an even more awesome prize.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 10:03 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 11:03 pm

John Beck shows why Shanahan likes him

J. Beck played well against Indianapolis in the preseason (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If John Beck is unofficially the official starting QB this year for Washington, he proved tonight that he might actually be ready, looking awfully competent against an uninterested Colts defense while completing 14 of 17 passes for 140 yards.

Yes, yes. Cue the “it’s only the preseason” comments, and that’s most definitely true. But if you’re a Redskins fan, would you rather have Beck look bad? No, of course not. So, the fact he helped lead Washington to a 16-3 lead before exiting the game is only a positive (he also had plenty of help from RBs Tim Hightower and Roy Helu, who combined for 146 yards on 14 carries in the first half).

And if you root for Washington and you assume Beck WILL beat out Rex Grossman, you have to look at tonight’s game as a step forward, especially when you consider he’s only started four games in his career (and that was four years ago, and he lost all four games!), and his stats aren’t especially hot (as you can see here in the CBSSports.com player profile).

One question Rapid Reporter Tom James asked before the game started was how he would handle a pass rush. Beck -- who missed the first preseason game because of a groin injury -- has more mobility than Grossman, but he also hasn’t played well when the defense sends pressure his way.

Beck passed that test tonight, as James writes that Beck, “showed his athleticism in the first half, a stark contrast to Rex Grossman. Grossman gets rid of the ball faster, Beck holds onto it, knowing he can elude pressure and make plays with his legs.”

After the game, coach Mike Shanahan seemed relatively pleased with Beck's play, saying (via Chris Russell of ESPN 980) "John did a good job. Always room for improvement." Meanwhile, Beck said, "I feel pretty good about it, but I'm antsy to see the tape."

Some think Beck wrapped up his starting duties tonight, but remember, Grossman played pretty well in that first game (19 of 26, 207 yards and a TD) when he started. Still, if the Redskins end up choosing Beck, tonight’s performance should give you some insight into why it seems that coach Mike Shanahan likes him so much.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:24 pm

Roundtable: Which rookie QB will help the most?

C. Newton could be one of the breakout rookie QBs this year (Getty).

Posted by Eye on Football staff

Well, we're a week into the preseason and that means we know everything about everyone. Or nothing at all. Whatever, we got our first glimpses of the NFL's newest rookie quarterbacks and that leads us to the question: What rookie quarterback will help his team the most?

Will Brinson: Go ahead and cue up about 15 "Panthers homer" comments in the next few paragraphs, but I don't care: Cam Newton. The guy's a freak-a-deak athlete with a firehose attached to his right shoulder and he's going to get a chance to produce. Unfortunately, that firehose thing can also be bad if Newton can't control his accuracy. And it's possible that Jimmy Clausen -- who looked better than terrible after he threw a pick six on his second passing attempt -- could be the safer option for Carolina. But Newton gets the fanbase amped and he's already shown exponential growth since we last saw him throwing passes. Putting him in the proverbial fire's the way to go and he'll be a difference maker for Carolina in both the stands and the field.

Josh Katzowitz: Will, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't know if Newton will help his team that much more on the field than Clausen would have -- I'm willing to bet heavily on the odds that there are going to be games when Newton is ABSOLUTELY terrible and people are going to be saying, "Yeah, buddy, the NFL is a little different than the limited offense you ran at Auburn, eh?" (these people, of course, will be Canadians who care way too much about SEC football) -- but as far as starpower is concerned, Newton is the one. I don't care if he privately looks at himself as an entertainer and an icon. He's got that huge smile and he's got that charisma, and eventually, the stink of whatever NCAA rules his dad might have violated will wash away.

That said, I don't think he's going to contend for any rookie of the year honors, because as the season goes along, defenses are going to begin to figure out Newton. Actually, I think the real answer to your question about which rookie will help his team the most will end up being Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, assuming he stays healthy behind that poor offensive line. Alex Smith will continue to be Alex Smith, and midway through the season, Jim Harbaugh will call upon Kaepernick to replace Smith and win a few games for the 49ers. And I think he'll do it, especially in the NFC West, hastening Smith's departure (which, when you think about it, might be the single biggest reason how Kaepernick impacts the team). Newton will help his franchise the most, but Kaepernick will help his team the most.

Ryan Wilson
: We talked about it (at length, I might add) and Newton was impressive. I know, it's just one preseason game, but the guy's come a long way since February, the Auburn scandal, and the silly comments about being an entertainer and an icon.

And let's be honest, he's energized fans that had every reason to lose all hope and commit their energies to supporting NASCAR full time. That can't be understated. Winning is obviously the goal, but Panthers fans will find reasons for optimism if the Panthers can win five or six games. So in terms of therapeutic value for a downtrodden fan base, Newton is this season's most valuable QB.

A. Dalton could be the starting QB in Cincinnati (Getty). But if we're talking about a QB who has a chance to play and help his team win enough games to battle for a playoff spot, I'm going with Christian Ponder. Partly because Myron Rolle thinks he's a genius, but also because Donovan McNabb has become a punchline in recent years. How long until he's yanked in favor of Ponder? Four weeks? Remember: this is the guy who not only lost his job to Rex Grossman last season, he was eventually demoted to third string behind John Beck, he of four career starts, all losses, all coming in 2007.

Brinson: Well, we're one full turn around the table and the only person we haven't talked about is the only guy who's virtually guaranteed to start Week 1: Andy Dalton.

So, um, yeaaaaaaah.

What does that say about the Bengals? (And why do I have the feeling Josh will try to defend them?) I guess it says either that "We don't respect Andy Dalton," "We forgot about Andy Dalton," or "Even if Andy Dalton was Peyton Manning, he wouldn't be saving the Bengals from certain doom in 2011."

Perhaps it's all three?

Wilson: I didn't mention Andy Dalton for the same reason I don't think about paying my mortgage every day: if I ignore it, it don't exist. It's a coping mechanism. In Dalton's case, it means I'm not constantly reminded of what the 2011 season inevitably holds for him: pain, misery, disappointment -- all words that have become synonymous with the Bengals in recent years.

(Just look what the madness did to even-keeled Carson Palmer -- it drove him right into retirement in what should be the prime of his career. Think about that for a minute. Things were so god-awful in Cincinnati that Palmer would rather sit around the house doing crosswords than get caught up in tiger-striped maelstrom for another season.)

While we shouldn't put too much stock in first-ever preseason performances, Dalton's got his introduction to big-boy football from, fittingly, Ndamukong Suh. And I feel that was just a preview of things to come in 2011 (for both Dalton and Suh). So, yeah, it's pretty easy to be down on Dalton, more because he's a victim of circumstance. Which is why I don't want to think about it.

Brinson: Thanks for the reminder on the mortgage payment, jerk. Speaking of which, if there's one thing that the Panthers, 49ers, Titans, Vikings, Jaguars and Bengals have in common it's that they mortgaged their future on the talents of the 2011 NFL Draft class. With that in mind, let's wrap up this puppy up by making a list -- how do you gents rank the rookies in terms of impact on the 2011 season? Here's mine. Don't copy it.

1. Cam Newton
2. Blaine Gabbert
3. Andy Dalton
4. Christian Ponder
5. Jake Locker
6. Colin Kaepernick
7. Ryan Mallet
8. Terrelle Pryor

PonderWilson: No matter the list -- or the topic -- one thing is assured: Brinson will put Cam Newton at the top of it. Panthers fan solidarity and whatnot.

Back on Earth...

1. Christian Ponder (He'll be starting before the end of Sept.)
2. Colin Kaepernick (See above)
3. Blaine Gabbert (He'll be starting before Halloween)
4. Cam Newton (The next Jimmy Clausen? JOKE. Clearly, he's the next Chris Weinke.)
5. Andy Dalton (Must've been a serial killer in a previous life to get stuck with this fate.)
6. Jake Locker (Should only play if Hasselbeck gets injured.)
7. Ryan Mallett (Bill Belichick is a genius. That is all.)
8. Terrelle Pryor (But he's a first-round pick!)

Katzowitz: Just in case, Will needs a reminder: Here's my takedown of Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis in that ridiculous news conference they called to announce that Lewis would return for another season, and here's what I wrote about the Bengals' lack of a practice bubble. I lived in Cincinnati for six years, but believe me when I say that I think the Bengals are an incompetent mess (though, personally, I think Mike Brown is a nice man).

My list (the correct one):

1. Colin Kaepernick (If Mike Singletary thought about replacing Alex Smith with David Carr (!) last season, Jim Harbaugh shouldn't have a problem replacing Smith with Kaepernick)
2. Christian Ponder (Because he's better than Rex Grossman, and since Grossman is better than Donovan McNabb ...)
3. Cam Newton (How disturbing would it be if Clausen actually won the starting job?)
4. Andy Dalton (He still has Cedric Benson to lean on)
5. Blaine Gabbert (I'm not sure he can beat out David Garrard, and I'm not sure Garrard will be bad enough this year to warrant starting Gabbert)
6. Jake Locker (Locker will get tons of help from Hasselbeck)
7. Ryan Mallett (He won't even beat out Brian Hoyer to be Brady's backup)
8. Terrelle Pryor (I don't know, maybe, he could be an effective NFL TE?)

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Posted on: August 16, 2011 12:35 pm

John Beck will start for Redskins Friday

Posted by Will Brinson

Because Mike Shanahan (and son Kyle) are genius offensive minds, and because the Redskins decided to move on without Donovan McNabb this year, the quarterback battle in Washington is one of the most interesting offseason storylines so far.

Anywhere else in the world where John Beck and Rex Grossman battled out for a starting gig would simply be called "Miami" -- but it's D.C., and we care. So you'll be excited -- although not as excited as he'll be! --  to hear that Beck is the starter for Friday's preseason game against the Colts.

That news comes courtesy of Shanny himself, via the Redskins official Twitter feed, and it's not all that surprising, really, even though the coach had vehemently denied naming a starter as recently as last week.

For whatever reason, the decision to make Beck the starter in Washington for the 2011 season feels like it's already made. Jason Reid of the Washington Post wrote in a column Tuesday that "the fix is in" when it comes to the competition and that the Shanahans are already set on using Beck as their starter "for better or for worse."

As my colleague Pete Prisco wrote, putting all the eggs in the Beck basket is most certainly a "baffling" decision. In fact, I keep trying to think of something else in life that it resembles but nothing's as accurate as the willingness of fantasy football and Madden players to start a season with a below-average quarterback.

The problem? Below-average quarterbacks work in those situations. Not in real life, when defenders aren't automated by the computer and piling up garbage-time statistics doesn't push you any closer to a win.

Plus, if they're all-in on Beck, it's a complete waste of all Grossman's ridiculous predictions. We can't hold him responsible for Washington not winning their division if he's not starting.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com