- Rex Grossman: "I’m totally motivated to prove to them, and to myself that I’m a bona-fide starter in this league and can lead this team to a championship one day." (Photo: Associated Press)
Rex Grossman was the Washington Redskins’ weight room working out after practice on Thursday evening when he was called to Mike Shanahan’s office.
When he reported, he learned that he would be taking over for Donovan McNabb as the Redskins' starting quarterback, a move he describes as “an unbelievable opportunity.” Grossman later talked with McNabb about Shanahan’s decision in the weight room, and then spoke to the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback on the telephone that night.
Now the eighth-year pro hopes to use the opportunity to revive a career that took a downward turn following he and the Chicago Bears' Super Bowl defeat in 2006. That season was Grossman’s lone campaign as a full-time starter. Grossman that season threw for 3,193 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions while completing only 54.6 percent of his passes. From there, he started a combined eight games the next two seasons for Chicago, and then was a backup in Houston last season.
Mike Shanahan said that he has been impressed with Grossman “from Day 1,” and the reason why the Redskins signed the former Florida standout in the first place was because he had a good understanding of Kyle Shanahan’s offense because of his days Houston.
Grossman’s career numbers aren’t very impressive, however. His overall completion percentage is 54, and his quarterback rating is 69.6.
Grossman has heard his fair share of criticisms, and wants nothing more than to prove that he is capable of both being a full-time starter again and playing at a high level.
“I think everybody has doubters in any situation, and until you prove yourself consistent basis, you’re always going to have doubters. I don’t care what profession you’re in. It’s motivation,” Grossman said. “I’m human. How could you not be motivated to show everybody who’s mocking you, or talking on the radio or TV, thinking they’re smart? I’m totally motivated to prove to them, and to myself that I’m a bona-fide starter in this league and can lead this team to a championship one day. Those are the type of goals I have, so motivation’s not a factor.”
The quarterback also said, “I’m very excited about it, it’s an unbelievable opportunity to go down to Dallas in this rivalry game, in this offense with this team and I’m very excited about it. I’m confident we can win. I’m excited and that’s my goal. I’m confident in our gameplan, and that’s all I’m thinking about.”
McNabb has the respect of his teammates, but the Redskins-- at least publicly -- have refused to question Shanahan. They believe that the two-time Super Bowl winning coach indeed is acting with the best interest of the team in mind, and are confident that Grossman has a firm grasp of the offense.
“There’s not going to be a feeling out process. Rex is totally confident in the gameplan and what guys are going to do,” said tight end Chris Cooley, whose locker is next to Grossman’s. “He’s been around everyone, he’s seen how they run their routes all year. It’s not like we’re playing a quarterback we brought in last week. I care a lot about this team, but I’m not going to be divided. I’m going to be indifferent to the decisions that were made. Because I trust our coach, I believe he’s doing what he feels is best for this team and trust that as much as possible.”
Although McNabb was stung by the decision, Cooley said that he didn’t believe the move was a slap in the quarterback’s face. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall agreed.
“[McNabb] has definitely won a lot of games, done a lot of things in this league, but sad as it is, this is a what-have-you-done-lately for me league, and he hasn’t won too many games for us and he wants to see if Rex is a guy he keeps around next year or not,” Hall said. “Those guys might look good in practice, but end of the day, you gotta show it in the game, so these guys gotta show it. … It’s all part of the evaluation process. Rex Grossman goes out there and stinks it up, then Donovan goes back to being the best thing since sliced bread.”