Naming names: Redskins 2011 QB possibilities

Naming names: Redskins 2011 QB possibilities
December 28, 2010, 8:13 pm
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 3:24 p.m.

By Rich Tandler
Redskins Blogger

There are a couple of dozen players, maybe more, who could be quarterbacking the Washington Redskins in 2011. All we know for sure is that none of the possibilities is named Donovan McNabb. Last week we looked at some scenarios for the Redskins 2011 quarterback situation. Today, we will name some names. Let the debate begin. Note: Ages are as of opening day 2011 On the team Rex Grossman, 31He has one game left in his three-game trial. In one of his starts he played pretty well but made costly turnovers and lost and in the other his play was mediocre but he avoided the killer mistakes and the Redskins won. So, is it best two out of three? It seems likely that Grossman will be around next year (the team needs to sign him as he is an unrestricted free agent) and will start a number of games. How many games he starts will depend on what other moves the Redskins are able to make. John Beck, 30He had a shot to become the Dolphins quarterback of the future as a rookie in 2007. He impressed the organization so much when starting the last four games of the season that the team spent another second-round pick on a quarterback, Chad Henne, and brought in veteran Chad Pennington. If he has developed since then we wouldnt know since he hasnt taken a snap in three seasons. Beck is under contract for next year so it seems likely that he will at least be allowed to compete for a job but it is difficult to see him starting except in an emergency. Veteran free agents Marc Bulger, 34Currently on the Baltimore Ravens roster, Bulger was a two-time Pro Bowl selection after taking over the job for the Rams after Kurt Warner left. He played well for several years but he seemed to hit a wall after turning 30. After posting QB ratings of 93.7 or better in four out of the first five years of his career, he wasnt better than 71.4 his last three years. There has been talk that Bulger may have been Mike Shanahans Plan B for a veteran quarterback prior to trading for McNabb. Bulger is an accurate passer with a quick release but his mobility is very limited. Alex Smith, 27Is former top overall draft pick Alex Smith a bust because the 49ers have been churning through offensive coordinators and position coaches ever since he was drafted? Or is he a bust because his talent was highly overestimated when he came out of Utah in 2005? Smith is tall (6-4) and athletic with a good arm but his career quarterback rating is 71.5 and he has thrown 53 interceptions and 49 touchdowns. Shanahan has compared Grossman to Jake Plummer, a quarterback that the coach claimed off of the scrap heap in 2003 who led the Broncos to a 39-15 record during parts of four seasons. Perhaps the Smith, four years younger, can be another Shanahan resurrection story. Kyle Orton, 28With one more year left on his contract, Orton is not a free agent and the Redskins would have to give up players or draft pick to obtain him. They have to be hesitant to do that in the wake of giving up two picks for McNabb. Still, Orton passed for over 3,800 yards last year and he was on a pace to surpass 4,000 yards this year until an injury gave the Broncos a reason to take a look at Tim Tebow. Like Smith, he could be more than a short-term caretaker if Shanahan doesnt think that the answer lies in Grossman or in this years draft. Others potentially available: Tavaris Jackson, Bruce Gradkowski, Troy Smith, Matt Moore Rookies Ryan Mallett, 23A junior who is likely to come out, Mallett stepped up his game in 2010 and if he does enter the draft he seems to be a solid first-round pick. His biggest improvement came in his accuracy, where he went up from 56 percent in 2009 to 66 percent this year. At 6-6, he is a tall presence in the pocket but his mobility is limited. He should be around when the Redskins pick somewhere in the middle of the first. Mallett is not highly polished but he could be ready to play by late in his rookie season. Jake Locker, 23He would have competed with Sam Bradford for the top selection in the draft had he come out in 2009. He stayed, however, and after a very bumpy senior season hes in the draft pool with lower grades. Some have said that he would be a good fit for Shanahans offense, with a good arm and mobility. But he has some issues as a pocket passer and his senior year struggles have had some draft analysts dropping his value below the first round. Still, it wouldnt be difficult to envision the Redskins reaching for him in the first round if they think he has the potential to be their guy. Christian Ponder, 23The Redskins had scouts at some Florida State games this year and the word was that Ponder was the object of their attention. In 2009 he completed almost 69 percent of his passes for an average of 8.23 yards per attempt and he was hyped for the Heisman Trophy going in to this year despite having missed the end of that 09 season with a shoulder injury. This year, an elbow injury kept him out of the lineup at times, including the ACC Championship game. That killed his Heisman hopes but he played well when he was in the lineup, throwing 34 touchdown passes to 15 interceptions. Cam Newton, 22Another junior who could opt to stay in but probably wont, Newton represents a high risk, high reward proposition. He is green with just one season as a major college starter under his belt but he looked like a man among boys at times in the tough SEC. Newton appears to be more polished than was Tim Tebow last year but that is not very high praise. Still, Shanahan has a reputation for swinging for the fences in the draft and at this point it wouldnt be shocking to see him take a shot at Newton. You can reach Rich by email at and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Join Rich Tandler reporting from the press box at FedEx Field for an in-game chat during the Redskins-Giants game on Sunday. Things will get underway on shortly before kickoff at 12:45 Eastern and continue all game long.