NFL weekend notes
The Redskins may not have Donovan McNabb for their season opener against Dallas. If this is the case, Rex Grossman will get the call. This will be a great opportunity for Grossman to revive his career.
In 2006, when Grossman was the quarterback of the Bears, he was one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league for the first five games. The Bears went 5-0, and Grossman completed 93 of 152 passes for 1,243 yards and 10 touchdowns. He threw only two interceptions in those five games, and his quarterback rating was well over 100.
ICONWill Rex Grossman get the call for the Redskins in the opener?
However, he followed that hot start with a horrible game on Monday Night Football in Arizona. In that game he threw four interceptions and he never recovered. In my 28 years in the NFL, I have never seen any player brutalized by the media more than Grossman was after that game. The national media continued with that harsh criticism the rest of the season. He followed the Arizona game with a strong 23-of-29, 252-yard, 3-touchdown performance against San Francisco, but he lacked consistency the rest of the year. He would follow a good game with a mediocre game. The beating he took from the national media was nonstop. By the end of the season he was a player that was afraid to make a mistake and had lost confidence in his ability.
I’m not saying he didn’t deserve criticism. But I am saying that he was criticized way more than he deserved. The fact remains that with Grossman as the quarterback, the Bears won the NFC championship before losing in the Super Bowl to the Colts. The Bears have not been back to the playoffs since that 2006 season.
Grossman no longer has some of the physical traits he had when he came out of college. Because he is barely 6-1, he had to get by with his strong arm, quick release and his ability to move around in the pocket. He has had some severe leg injuries during his career and because of that he has lost much of that mobility. Now he needs time to make plays but he still has a very strong arm and very good accuracy on the deep ball. Because he lacks top mobility he may never be a fulltime starting quarterback in the league but he has a chance to be a top backup and win games if the starter goes down.
Many have the Buffalo Bills as a lock to be the weakest team in the league and the front runner to hold the first pick in next April’s draft. I’m not so sure that is going to be the case. I know it’s preseason, but Buffalo has very quietly won two games in a row and done it very convincingly. The Bills beat Indianapolis in Toronto 34–20 and Cincinnati at home 35–20. Those are teams that are supposed to be playoff teams. The surprising thing is they have done it with a potent offense that has passed and run the ball equally well. Their defense has been solid also. Buffalo’s starters outplayed the starters of both Indy and Cincinnati, and the team has been playing with confidence. When you have a team that hasn’t won in awhile like Buffalo, the first thing you have to build is team confidence. New head coach Chan Gailey seems to be doing that. The Bills are not a playoff team, but they are stronger than many believe.
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