By Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran
CSNwashington.comThe hay is in the barn. The decision has been made to bench Rex Grossman and start John Beck at quarterback for the Washington Redskins.But Rex lost the job; Beck did not win it. Did Mike Shanahan go with the lesser of two evils here? How will Beck, who will be getting his first NFL start since Joe Gibbs was winding down his second stint as the Redskins coach, fare as the teams signal caller? Redskins insiders Ryan OHalloran and Rich Tandler debate the question in this weeks edition of Point-Counterpoint.Rich Tandler: Im very bullish on Becks chances of succeeding. No, were not making reservations for Beck at the Pro Bowl or anything, but he has spent his three years on the sidelines watching and learning. To judge him by the bad stats he put up as a rookie on a terrible Dolphins team 56 percent completion rate, one touchdown and three interceptions is absurd. Beck has a live arm, good mobility and the right attitude. He may be rusty to start out but he will help move the offense.Ryan OHalloran: Expectations originally should be minimal and it has only a little bit to do with the fact Beck will be starting for the first time in four years. He hasnt exactly been handed a stacked deck. The offensive line will be working a new center (Erik Cook) and a new left tackle (Sean Locklear) and ex-center Will Montgomery is shifting to left guard. Tight end Chris Cooley is out for the foreseeable future and an aside from the occasional Santana Moss burst or Fred Davis screen catch, there arent any play-makers. Beck will have to make a lot of things happen on his own, which makes his task even taller.Tandler: It will be interesting to see if the receivers benefit from Beck being behind center. Its not as though Moss is going to become Wes Welker and Davis will be Antonio Gates in his prime but if Beck can deliver the ball and hit them in stride, some bigger plays can result. But Im looking for Terrence Austin to emerge. He and Beck had good chemistry in the preseason and it showed up again against the Eagles when the two connected on a nice 32-yard pass that set up the Redskins only touchdown of the game. Also look for Logan Paulsen, whose role will expand in the absence of Cooley to benefit some from playing on the scout team along with Beck and Austin.OHalloran: Yikes to rely on the firm of Austin, Paulsen &Associates shows how dire things have gotten for the Redskins or could get. Paulsen admits hes a better blocker than a receiver and Austin remains in show-me mode. The biggest factor in helping Beck succeed is the running game. Get Ryan Torain established early against Carolina, keep him healthy for a stretch and that will allow Beck to use play-action and roll out by design to create time to throw.Tandler: Good point about the need to establish the running game. Its no coincidence that Rexs four-pick game came on the teams worst rushing day of the year. No matter who hes throwing to, though, Ill go over on Bodog.coms line of 225 yards passing for Beck.OHalloran: What the heck, Ill choose the under. The last thing to file under Things That Can Help Beck is the defense a) showing up at the start of the game, not halftime and, b) more takeaway from the defense to create some short fields for the offense.You can reach Ryan OHalloran by email at email@example.com and you can email Rich Tandler atRTandlerCSN@comcast.net . Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanohalloran and follow Rich @Rich_Tandler.
By Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran