CHARLOTTE, N.C. Even if he was scheduled to start Sunday against Carolina, quarterback Rex Grossman might have been unable to go.
Grossman spent all of the Redskins 33-20 loss in the locker room, carrying a 103-degree fever after contracting pneumonia.
He was ready to still go in if John Beck went down, coach Mike Shanahan said. We brought him out for pre-game and he was having a tough time so we kept him in here, out of the sun, ready to go if needed.
The Redskins have carried only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster this year and practice squad player Jonathan Crompton took over Grossmans reps several hours before the game. If the Redskins were seriously concerned about Grossmans status, they likely would have made a roster move to promote Crompton.
Shanahan said the Redskins had a couple guys take hand-offs, in case Beck was injured and Grossman unable to play.
Terrence Austin would have probably been the guy, he said of the second-year receiver.
Ups, Downs For New OL
The Redskins revamped offensive line new starters at center (Erik Cook), left tackle (Sean Locklear) and left guard (Will Montgomery, over from center) got the running game going but also played a role in allowing three sacks.
I think it was good, I just made some wrong calls, Cook said after his first NFL start. More than one too many mental mistakes. I was pretty disappointed with my play.
The Redskins running game rebounded from a season-low 42 yards rushing against Philadelphia to 92 yards on 23 carries. Before getting injured, Tim Hightower had 88 yards on 17 attempts.
I thought we did a good job running the ball but we left a lot of yards on the field, Cook said.
Said Shanahan: I thought Tim did a great job. He had a mindset and a sense of purpose and did a fine job.
Praise For Newton
There were compliments all around the Redskins locker room for Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton, who starred with his arm (256 yards, 127.5 passer rating) and his feet (59 rushing yards).
He made some plays that most quarterbacks dont make, Shanahan said. He did a great job with his feet. I thought he hung in the pocket and made throws that you dont see many pros make, especially young players. That was one of the better days Ive seen a rookie quarterback have.
Newton proved his toughness by absorbing a big hit from behind by Brian Orakpo.
Thats a big dude; hes bigger than me, Orakpo said. Im surprised the ball didnt come out.
Newton called timeout before the next snap to take a few deep breaths.
That was bad wasnt it?, he said. I heard the whole crowd go, Oh!. I remembered my parents telling me, Son, get up. I got up and was like, Im alright. Its a scary hit because he could have come at me at so many different angles.
In addition to receiver Niles Paul making his first NFL reception, second-year tight end Logan Paulsen had two catches for 48 yards, both single-game highs.
It felt pretty good, Paulsen said. Obviously, I wanted to show I could do more than just block and the coaches gave me an opportunity.
The Redskins were 0-for-2 on fourth down. On the opening drive of the second half, the Redskins had a fourth-and-2 from the Panthers 40 and Beck was sacked for a 7-yard loss. The second came on the third-to-last play when Roy Helu caught a 4-yard pass on fourth-and-5 from his own 25-yard line.
The Redskins four first-half sacks tied for second-most in team history for a opening half.
Shanahan said safety O.J. Atogwe (knee) was ruled out before trying to test his injury during pre-game warm-ups.
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