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 didn’t 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 ‘Golden Age’.

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 that’s had 12 different starters since Norv Turner was sent packing in 2000. No team in the league’s 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, can’t 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 it’s been at that critical position for a long, long time, I can’t be certain. But it’s certainly fun to observe.

We’re not talking Montana vs. Young here – let’s keep it real. We’re talking Sexy Rexy vs. whatshisname. So what’s to get excited about here? It’s really not a hard question to answer despite the obvious truth – that we’re comparing ‘bad reputation’ to ‘no reputation’. There’s a lot to like with both quarterbacks.

Rex Grossman. You know – he of ‘**** it! I’m going deep’ 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 he’ll likely continue to have to carry it. Fans are an unforgiving lot – even when a player’s flaws and imperfections were revealed while wearing another team’s jersey. More than any other current NFL quarterback, for Rex, perception is reality.

Ironically – Grossman can play. Statistically speaking, he’s only 1 interception per 100 passes worse than the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Granted – when Grossman throws a pick, he does it with flair. But his reputation as a ‘turnover machine’ 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 isn’t 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 hasn’t changed since his days in Chicago black. He’s Jekyll and Hyde, Good Rex or Bad Rex, and too risky to rely on. In Gump-ese, he’s that damn box of chocolates. It’s a fair concern, except that it belies the possibility of something I hope we all acknowledge and believe in – 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 – 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.

I’ve 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. It’s better to be ‘the man’ than ‘not the man’. Opportunities are rare and must be seized upon. And a renewed self-belief that he’s a good quarterback but only solid play on the field can demonstrate that. I think Grossman has learned a thing or two – even (gasp) matured. This isn’t ‘Good Rex’ or ‘Bad Rex’ – it’s ‘Better Rex’ we’re seeing these days. The Redskins can win with this guy.

On the other side of our ‘controversy’ 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 didn’t 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. He’s shown enough promise, moxie, and competence in Kyle Shanahan’s 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 team’s post-draft trash heap. No doubt Shanahan and Allen would love to spend all of next year’s 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 who’ll prevail in this clash of titans. Neither may be good for our long-term health. Then again – 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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