In the NFL the only thing more elusive than a Super Bowl Ring, is a second Chance. Typically players get one “shot” to show their respective teams what they can do.
Really if you think about it, it’s a pretty fair deal. IF you can perform and be the impact player every team hoped you would be when they drafted you, fame and fortune will be your reward.
If not, you’re out… game over… thanks for playing. It is equally as simple as it is brutal.
Sadly when we hear about players getting second chances it is usually because they did something stupid and or illegal in their personal life (We are looking right at you Philadelphia), or the player in said story is fighting back from a horrible injury.
Call me a softie but I am a sucker for a story about a guy who missed the mark in his first go around then catches on with a new team and leads them to the promised land (looking right at you New Orleans). Too often the media focuses on the bad or the controversial to sell their story, me I like redemption and second chances.
Lucky for fans of the Washington Redskins, Rex Grossman is making the most of his. Since taking over as the Redskins fulltime starter last season, Rex has been exactly what this team needs.
I know, I know, “Good Rex vs. Bad Rex”. “He throws too many interceptions”, “He’s a turnover Machine” the list goes on. The truth is things have changed. Rex Grossman is not the same QB that led The Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl, and I say that in the best way possible.
Through his first five games “Good Rex” has largely outweighed “Bad Rex”.
Rex’s stats are solid…very solid. In five games he is averaging just under 300 yards per game (296 to be exact), has thrown 11 TDs to 6 INTs, has a 57 percent completion percentage to go with a QB rating of 90.6. Most importantly He is leading this offense to wins (Rex is 3-2 as a Redskin starter). Good Rex, very-very good Rex.
Even better is the fact that Rex has shown he can put up huge stats against NFC East opponents.
Last year against Dallas (in his first game as a starter) Rex blew up the Dallas secondary for 322 yards and 4 count them 4 TDs.
After fan and media backlash for Mike Shanahan benching Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex, he silenced his critics.
To close out the season against the Giants “Good Rex” showed up again as he racked up 336 yards through the air and 2 TDs….sadly “Bad Rex” also showed up as Rex turned the ball over three times. We don’t even need to go into what Rex did against the Giants in this year’s season opener last week, let’s just say he can compete in the East.
It looks like Rex has a good thing going for him in DC and his teammates are starting to believe in him.
In an interview with WFAN New York Santana moss said: “I mean we played with him last year … when they made the change… he came in and played well offensively. We knew this team last year was missing a lot of pieces and we only could get better. Rex showed at the quarterback position, once they went to him, he can take the load and handle it. That alone led me going into the offseason, not knowing what to expect from the whole free agency thing, but just knowing that Rex did a great job at the helm. When he had his opportunity he played great.”
We talked last week about Santana Moss being able to break out due to the added fire power at the receiver position, but for Rex the emergence of break out tight end Fred Davis (who has 191 yards receiving and a TD so far this season) and the Florida Gator Reunion with Jabar Gaffney ( 8 receptions 116 yards and 1 TD in 2011 with a 14.5 yards per catch average) cannot be understated.
Moss isn’t the only beneficiary to Rex spreading the ball all over the field.
Against the Cardinals Rex overcame early adversity (2 picks in the first quarter), by completing passes eight (that’s right I said eight) different receivers, keeping the Cardinal defense on its heels and setting up running room for Tim Hightower (96 yards rushing) and Roy Helu (74 yards rushing and 38 yards receiving)
Early last week Rex credited Kyle Shanahan for creating a scheme that allows a receiver to be open on every play. He backed that statement up on a game changing fourth and three touchdown pass to Santana Moss late in the fourth quarter. The play pulled the Skins within two of the Cardinals with 5 minutes left and was the spark they needed to win the game.
For a team that has been searching for its next franchise quarterback since Lawrence Taylor ended Joe Theismann’s career, Rex Grossman is exactly what the Redskins Need. He is a much more mature player than the gunslinger we got to know in Chicago. “Being with Kyle Shanahan is exactly what I needed” Rex said in an interview last week. “To sit and watch Matt Schaub run this offense in Houston…to see his patience… I needed to add that to the way I play”.
Look I know it’s not all roses from here on out. Rex is going to struggle at times, it is inevitable. But the fact is Rex 2.0 is learning what it takes to be successful and not just go deep when all else fails.
As long as Rex can limit the turnovers this offense should continue to grow, and be explosive. When asked about Rex’s two interceptions Mike Shanahan referenced that when you put up 450 yards in offense it is hard to get too upset and he is right. This offense is going to put up numbers and turnovers are inevitable, but as long as the mistakes are limited 2011 could be special for fans of the Burgundy and Gold.