A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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A Burgundy and Gold Obsession

Quisp vs. Quake

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It was 1965. 3 years old and I was already faced with my first life dilemma.

Quisp or Quake? Both irresistibly sugary breakfast cereals, equal parts corn syrup and red dye #2, neither particularly good for you. We didnít care. It was 1965 and our mothers smoked, drank, and fed us things that were really bad for us while we sat incredibly close to the TV and watched cartoons all day. This period is now referred to as the ĎGolden Ageí.

Fast forward to 2011.The Washington Redskins find themselves with their own dilemma as they creep ever closer to their regular season opener, in the midst of an honest to goodness quarterback controversy.

Of course, quarterback controversies are nothing new to a franchise thatís had 12 different starters since Norv Turner was sent packing in 2000. No team in the leagueís had a quarterbacking turnstile as well lubricated as the one the Redskins have maintained for more than a decade. The only unique aspect of our current quarterback controversy is that it involves more than one quarterback.

Usually, the only controversy in Washington is whether the anointed starter can play the position capably.

To be having a serious conversation about which of TWO potential starters is more capable is positively refreshing.

Watching Redskins fans across the United States have at one another, passionately even heatedly debating Beck vs. Grossman, canít help but bring a grin to my face. Whether this spirited conversation is a sign of future hope or merely a reflection of how bad itís been at that critical position for a long, long time, I canít be certain. But itís certainly fun to observe.

Weíre not talking Montana vs. Young here Ė letís keep it real. Weíre talking Sexy Rexy vs. whatshisname. So whatís to get excited about here? Itís really not a hard question to answer despite the obvious truth Ė that weíre comparing Ďbad reputationí to Ďno reputationí. Thereís a lot to like with both quarterbacks.

Rex Grossman. You know Ė he of Ď**** it! Iím going deepí fame. Grossman, by many accounts the worst quarterback ever to play in a Super Bowl, stands alone as the veteran. His detractors and critics legion, Grossman has more baggage than Kim Kardashian, and no matter what happens heíll likely continue to have to carry it. Fans are an unforgiving lot Ė even when a playerís flaws and imperfections were revealed while wearing another teamís jersey. More than any other current NFL quarterback, for Rex, perception is reality.

Ironically Ė Grossman can play. Statistically speaking, heís only 1 interception per 100 passes worse than the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Granted Ė when Grossman throws a pick, he does it with flair. But his reputation as a Ďturnover machineí is largely unwarranted. Since being tossed into the fire to close out an awful 2010 season, Rex has moved the ball, performed efficiently if not perfectly, and presided over what looked like a pretty effective Redskins offense. Grossman isnít going to dazzle you with his athleticism. Some of the trainers have better 40 times. But he finds ways to deliver the ball to receivers, in stride, and put points on the board.

The legitimate knock on Grossman hasnít changed since his days in Chicago black. Heís Jekyll and Hyde, Good Rex or Bad Rex, and too risky to rely on. In Gump-ese, heís that damn box of chocolates. Itís a fair concern, except that it belies the possibility of something I hope we all acknowledge and believe in Ė personal growth. This new Grossman is a lot better than the old one was. Being sat down, going from the Super Bowl belle of the ball to has-been whipping boy Ė it gets a guys attention. Ridden out of town to enjoy purgatory in Houston, Grossman had a lot of time to think and embrace a new reality.

Iíve never sat down for beers and a man-to-man with Grossman, but I think the realizations he must have come to during the last 3-4 years must be simple ones. Itís better to be Ďthe maní than Ďnot the maní. Opportunities are rare and must be seized upon. And a renewed self-belief that heís a good quarterback but only solid play on the field can demonstrate that. I think Grossman has learned a thing or two Ė even (gasp) matured. This isnít ĎGood Rexí or ĎBad Rexí Ė itís ĎBetter Rexí weíre seeing these days. The Redskins can win with this guy.

On the other side of our Ďcontroversyí stands John Beck. Young, confident, and certainly the better athlete, Beck enjoys the one advantage Grossman simply may not be able to overcome - no one knows who the hell he is. Although Beck didnít get a snap last season, and, out with a groin pull, missed a chance to dazzle in the pre-season opener, give the kid some credit. Heís shown enough promise, moxie, and competence in Kyle Shanahanís offense, he may well get the nod on opening day.

The Redskins would like nothing more than to find that rarest of NFL finds, the QB gem plucked from another teamís post-draft trash heap. No doubt Shanahan and Allen would love to spend all of next yearís draft picks surrounding Beck with talent, instead of packaging every damn one of them for Andrew Luck. But to earn that kind of trust, Beck has to play, and play a lot. That alone may be justification enough to give him the nod.

Which guy has earned the trust of Kyle and Mike Shanahan and will carry the quarterbacking banner for the Redskins in 2011? Grossman? Beck?

I have no idea.

Quisp or Quake?

Like the epic cereal war of 1965, no one knows whoíll prevail in this clash of titans. Neither may be good for our long-term health. Then again Ė you never know.

One of them might turn out to be pretty sweet.

Updated 08-30-11 at 07:42 PM by Boone




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