Is Mike Shanahan serious about starting John Beck at QB?

It’s certainly not an ideal plan in a league that is so quarterback driven.

But after determining before the 2010 season ended that Donovan McNabb wasn’t going to be the solution, the Washington Redskins then passed on drafting a quarterback.

That leaves them with a couple options and – for the time being – Mike Shanahan is doing his best to promote the idea of John Beck being the team’s starting quarterback this coming season. Make sense? Well, McNabb remains under contract but that situation will likely be resolved quickly when the lockout is ended. Beck is under contract and Rex Grossman – the quarterback who replaced McNabb last season – is a free agent.

Shanahan went into detail Saturday how Beck was the top-rated quarterback in his mind in the 2007 draft. Of course, Beck has only four career starts, and those came as a rookie with the Miami Dolphins. He will turn 30 before the regular season opens.

“I’m not going to go through all his strengths and weaknesses because it’s everything you look for in a quarterback,” Shanahan said. “What does it take to be a great quarterback? No. 1, you’ve got to love the game. You’ve got to have passion. You’ve got to have a mindset.

“What I’m looking for is a guy that’s going to be first to work, last to leave. You’ve got to be able to run this offense at a very high level. He can do some things with his legs that a lot of quarterbacks can’t do. He’s in that 4.65-4.7 (-second 40-yard dash) range.”

Beck was reached at a hotel near the Redskins’ complex by Rich Campbell of the Frederickburg Free Lance-Star. He had flown in from San Diego when the lockout was briefly lifted and met with coaches at Redskins Park. No starting jobs were promised.

“To have coach Shanahan say those things, that is a great feeling because that’s why I worked so hard,” Beck told Campbell. “I’ve worked so hard behind closed doors, behind the scenes to have a coach who believed in me the way I believe in myself. So yes, to hear Coach Shanahan say that means a lot to me. It gets me excited and it makes me just want to work that much harder.

“I had already convinced myself that I didn’t really care (if the team drafted a quarterback) because if they bring anybody in, my mindset is I want to beat him,” Beck said. “And even if they don’t, nothing is going to be handed to me. My mindset is whatever group of quarterbacks I’m in, I want to be the guy who earns it. I look at it as it’s a great opportunity for me to try to prove myself on a football field. I’m the only one that knows how much I’ve been doing these past three years working my tail off for this opportunity. It obviously means a lot to me, but at the same time I also know you never know what tomorrow brings in the NFL.”

The news certainly can be welcome by Grossman, who has been looking at Washington as a spot for him to resume his career as a starter. First things first, Shanahan needs to turn the page with McNabb.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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