John Beck is doing what he can to differentiate himself from Rex Grossman both on and off the field.
On the field, he wants to protect the football. Off the field, he wants to be sure that he takes responsibility if he fails to do that.
Grossman was benched because he had 11 turnovers in five games this year and 17 in the eight games he had started for the Redskins going back to the end of the 2010 season. After his last game, a four-interception debacle against the Eagles, he offered the media an explanation for each of the four picks. He at least partially laid the blame for three of the turnovers on his receivers.
Mike Shanahan did not specifically address why the interceptions happened or Grossman’s comments on them in his press conference the next day. But he did seem to shrug off Grossman’s sentiments by saying, “Sometimes, you get a little lucky and other times it goes the other way. Usually, over the long run, it averages out.”
Grossman did throw at least two passes that were dropped by Eagles defenders.
Beck did turn the ball over twice in his starting debut for the Redskins. He fumbled on the Redskins’ first possession but a late interception after the outcome had pretty much been decided generated most of the talk.
The pass was intended for Leonard Hankerson down the right sideline. It looked like Beck thought that the receiver was going to stop while Hankerson kept running. Cornerback Chris Gamble had one of the easiest interceptions anyone will ever have.
After the game, both Beck and Hankerson said that the issue was a result of a miscommunication. But Hankerson got into a somewhat contentious exchange with some fans about the play on Twitter.
On Monday, Beck went ahead and took the bullet. “The play with Hankerson – it’s on me,” Beck said in the Redskins locker room. “I’m the guy that has the ball in my hand, and I’m the guy that makes the decision where the ball goes.”
This may be Beck’s one shot at being a starting NFL quarterback. One of the best ways to stick in your job is to avoid the mistakes that your predecessor made. Beck will try his best to be anti-Rex on the field but that is not always possible. He can, however, make sure that he does not do what Rex did off of the field as far as those things that might draw the ire of coaches or teammates.