By Tarik El-Bashir
This year, Rex Grossman has no illusions of claiming the starting quarterback job in Washington.
Only four days into training camp, in fact, he knows where he’s likely to spend the season: on the sideline, wearing a cap, clipboard in hand, backing up rookie Robert Griffin III.
“The writing was on the wall a long time ago that this was going to happen, before I even signed,” said Grossman, who inked a one-year extension in March. “I knew what I was getting into. I’m happy to be here and ready to play if they need me.”
“Obviously, if you have a chance to compete for the starting job, there are a few less words of advice,” he added. “In this situation, I’m all for it. I’m all for Robert playing great and taking this team to the next level. And I’m going to help him out as much as possible.”
Asked if having clearly defined roles might help Griffin, who was named the starter by Coach Mike Shanahan 10 days after he was drafted, Grossman said it does.
“I think for him, it’s probably a lot easier knowing that you’re the guy,” Grossman said. “That’s what I would want.”
Grossman said he understands the importance of being a mentor. But he also said he’ll be careful not to “overdo” it.
“I’m going to let the coaches do their thing,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of our plays, a lot of drop back stuff. I’ve seen just about every coverage and have had a ton of reps on it.”
Grossman, 31, has started 16 games under Shanahan the past two seasons, so, presumably, he knows the offense better than anyone other than, well, Shanahan.
“I’m there for him to ask questions,” Grossman added, “and in certain situations [give him] reminders of hot routes, reminders of situational plays. I’m going to be there as much as possible for him to bounce things off of, if he doesn’t want to go to a coach.”
So far, Grossman said he’s been impressed with Griffin’s knowledge of the playbook. But he’s wondering the same thing everyone else is: how will the rookie apply that knowledge on the football field when it matters.
Because as Grossman said, “there’s a big difference between knowing it on paper and actually performing it. He’s doing a great job with it.”