Shanahan lauds Grossman's handle of offense

Shanahan lauds Grossman's handle of offense
December 20, 2010, 10:44 pm
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Monday, December 20, 2010, 5:45 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer
CSNwashington.com

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Santana Moss saw the same thing everybody else saw during the early stages of the Redskins game against Dallas Sunday: Rex Grossman was rusty.

While falling behind 27-7, the Redskins offense had more turnovers (two) than touchdowns (one) following Grossmans second big mistake led to a quick Dallas score that had his first Washington start turning into a nightmare.

On the sideline, Moss delivered a message to Grossman.

I was telling him, Let the cobwebs off, Moss told reporters Monday. I was joking with him but I think he felt the same way. He lit the second half up.

Indeed, the Redskins new quarterback got a handle on things and responded with three consecutive touchdown drives to erase a 20-point deficit in what ended up as a 33-30 loss to the Cowboys. For Chicago Bears fans, it was an example of Good Rex.

Grossman posted his second career 300-yard game, completing 25 of 43 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns.

Yes, the Redskins lost their fourth consecutive game but the clamor around Grossmans performance confirmed how low the expectation level was after he was named to replace Donovan McNabb.

Barely lost to Dallas, an outfit that was 1-6 at home entering the game.

Just three turnovers, tied for the second-highest total this year.

On Monday, coach Mike Shanahan gave Grossman a more-than-passing grade in how he commanded the huddle and had them in the right places on the field.

Very natural for him, thats one of his strengths in the game 100 percent with formations and calls and we threw a lot at him, Shanahan said. I thought we did some good things yesterday. Rex is very familiar with the terminology, which gives him the ability to throw things out a little bit quicker than most quarterbacks would. I was pleased with the pace of the game.

Although he continues to say he wants to evaluate John Beck, moving up to second team starting Wednesday, Shanahan remained committed to Grossman for the final two games.

We play these games to win so Rex is going to be our quarterback unless something happens, Shanahan said.

Reviewing how the Redskins passing game operated Sunday revealed the following:

Grossman was able to deliver throws to put his receivers in position to get yards after the catch. The Redskins had 148 post-catch yards. Seven completions came at or behind the line of scrimmage and another nine catches came in the 1-5-yard range of the line.

He got it to us and it was our job to do the rest, Moss said, whose first three receptions were caught behind the line.

Decent protection allowed Grossman to go through his progression to hit mid-range passes. In passes that traveled 6-10 yards, he was 3-of-4 for 32 yards; in passes that traveled 16-20 yards, he was 5-of-6 for 110 yards.

Because the quick stuff chiefly to Moss and Ryan Torain was working so well, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan chose the short-to-medium play calls more than the long bombs. Grossman threw only three passes that traveled more than 21 yards, completing a 47-yard pass to Anthony Armstrong.

And three of the five sacks were due entirely or in part to unblocked Dallas blitzers.

We had a rhythm and thats telling you a lot right there, Moss said. When you have that, you can sense that Grossman knows whats going on, he has a feel for it, he knows the plays and hes going to get you the ball.

Entering his second start with more than 60 live plays and weather-permitting a solid week of practice, Grossman hopes to be sharper against the Jaguars. A better start is the first objective.

Even if I had started the whole year, it takes a little bit to get into the flow of the game, and it takes some success to get into the flow of the game, he said Sunday. Until you get a few first downs, get a touchdown or something, then youre not going to be relaxed. Sometimes its right off the bat, sometimes it takes a little bit.

Contact Ryan at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com