Beck a dysfunctional choice, even for 'Skins

For better or for worse, John Beck will probably open the 2011 season as the Redskins' starting...

For better or for worse, John Beck will probably open the 2011 season as the Redskins' starting quarterback. (AFP)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:54 AM ET

TORONTO - To tell the truth, I couldn’t pick John Beck out of a police lineup. I wouldn’t know him if he snuck up and bit me on the ass.

But that doesn’t matter. John Beck is the apple of the Shanahans’ eye — both head coach Mike and his son Kyle, the offensive coordinator — leaving Washington Redskins’ fans not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

For better or for worse, Beck will probably open the 2011 season as the Redskins No. 1 quarterback, beating out the legendary Rex Grossman for the job.

It is a development that is astounding even on a team that is as delusional and dysfunctional as the Redskins have been while under the ownership of Daniel Snyder.

One year ago, Washington was all atwitter following the big trade that landed them Donovan McNabb, the veteran Philadelphia quarterback who had been the backbone of the Eagles and a rival of the Redskins and an able architect of their misfortunes.

Well, we all know how horribly that great experiment ended and this season the Shanahans are determined to go back to scratch while skeptics claim they have simply thrown in the towel.

By plucking Beck out of the chorus line of nondescript backup pivots and placing him in a starting role, head coach Mike is rolling the dice big time to play one of the hunch bets of the century.

In poker terms, he’s about to go “all in” on Beck.

It will either turn out to be one of the all-time great Cinderella stories — like Kurt Warner was in his St. Louis glory days — or a complete and utter flop. There will be no middle ground here.

Since the draft, when they passed on obtaining one of the many young, stud quarterbacks in the draft, the championing of Beck began in earnest.

The Shanahans have loved him ever since his days at Brigham Young and even though he has since mostly rode the pine and held the clipboard — he has played in just four regular-season games since being drafted in 2007 and in none since his first season — the Shanahans are firm in their belief that in Beck they have the right man for the job.

Time for a little history.

Beck was drafted in the second round by the Miami Dolphins. In two seasons with the Dolphins he started four games and produced zero wins. Playing ahead of him in Miami were Chad Pennington, Chad Henne and — wait for this one Argos fans — Cleo Lemon. In 2009 he was a backup with the Ravens and never saw the field.

In Washington, skeptics believe the fix is in no matter how well Grossman plays in the preseason. In the Redskins opener, Grossman beat the Steelers, completing 19 of 26 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.

On Friday, it’s Beck’s turn on the road against the Colts.

Mike Shanahan has heard and read all the criticism for pulling Beck out of his hat but on this question he remains rock firm.

“I’ve been doing this for a few years. I know people that can play,” Shanahan told ESPN. “He’s an excellent athlete. He’s got a quick release. He can anticipate throws. He’s a natural leader. Extremely intelligent. So I don’t even worry about what people say.

“I know John Beck can play in this league. Why hasn’t he played? Why hasn’t he had a chance? I really don’t care what the different thought processes are, but I know John can play in this league. He hasn’t had a chance.”

Now he’ll get one and if it doesn’t pan out, it may be the Shanahan’s heads that will roll.

At the end of the lockout and prior to training camp opening, Beck showed up at Redskins Park to meet with Kyle Shanahan.

One problem. The security guard had no idea who he was and wouldn’t let him into the building.

Beck took it in stride.

“If I was in the security guy’s shoes that day, I believe I’d have done the same thing,” he said. “I’m not sure I’d recognize John Beck if he walked into my kitchen right now and started making me waffles.”

Quick hits

That wind you feel is a sigh of relief in Houston as running back Arian Foster is back at practice. That’s something he hasn’t been able to do since pulling a hamstring two weeks ago. “I thought he looked good,” coach Gary Kubiak said in a prepared statement. “It looked like he was fine, so hopefully every day’s a progression and we work towards Saturday night (in a game against New Orleans). It’s a good step in the right direction.” ... Carolina coach Ron Rivera said that Cam Newton will be the starting quarterback for Friday’s pre-season game against the Miami Dolphins. Newton has been battling incumbent Jimmy Clausen for the No. 1 job. ... According to media outlets, former Bills linebacker Aaron Maybin has signed a one-year contract with the New York Jets. A first-round pick of the Bills in 2009, Maybin was considered to be a flop. The former all-American at Penn State and the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, was waived by the Bills on Monday ... The unemployed Terrell Owens announced Wednesday that he should be ready to play by the second or third week of the regular season (Sept. 18 or 25). Owens is continuing to rehab for a torn ACL, an injury he suffered in April. “Talking with the doctors, going through my personal training, they stressed that I’m way ahead of schedule,” Owens told ESPN.com.

Just call him McHappy

Josh McDaniels is happy and having fun.

Doesn’t that make you happy?

Me too.

Fresh from his disastrous run as head coach of the Denver Broncos, McDaniels is now as happy as a clam as the offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams. Along the way he gets to play with some new kids too, specifically quarterback Sam Bradford, who would seem to be the perfect young quarterback that fits into McDaniel’s spread offence.

“This has been great for me. We’re blessed to have the opportunity to work in this profession every day,” McDaniels told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“The group of guys and the coaching staff has made this transition for me unbelievable.

“Focusing on the offence, trying to get better on that side of the ball, coaching the quarterbacks is really something I love to do.”

McDaniels once worked with a quarterback named Brady but more recently he tutored Matt Cassel and Kyle Orton and did wonders as both blossomed under his direction.

Now, McDaniels is trying to bring his offensive moxie to the Rams and their young group of receivers, to say nothing of the growth of Bradford.

“I think we’re having a lot of fun,” he said. “And I don’t think you hear that word a lot in training camp.”

Fun? Wow!

Hoge ain't wild about Tebow

ESPN’s Merril Hoge made headlines a few weeks back with his savage attack on the abilities or lack their of of Denver quarterback Tim Tebow. It got so bad that even LeBron James felt he had to jump in and defend the young Broncos QB.

On this topic, Hoge simply won’t let up.

The ESPN analyst was at it again Wednesday even though last Thursday in a pre-season game against Dallas, Tebow was good on six-of-seven passes for 91 yards. Maybe that’s what got Hoge all fired up.

The crux of his criticism are Tebow’s throwing mechanics, which Hoge believes won’t stand up in the NFL.

“You’ve got to look at a couple flaws that Tim Tebow had at Florida and still has in the National Football League that I don’t believe ever get better,” Hoge said. “First of all, his delivery is such an elongated motion that you have to have a complete, clear pocket for him to be successful down the field. If you don’t have that, you’re going to struggle.”

Tebow’s throwing motion has been the subject of a lot of debate and last year, in his rookie season, he made efforts to change his throwing motion and release the ball quicker. According to Hoge, though, Tebow is back to where he was when he came out of Florida.

“His accuracy really struggles from that elongated motion,” Hoge said. “When you have a guy that elongated in his motion, he’s less accurate, he’s not as quick throwing the football ... That entices teams to blitz more. He takes more hits during the course of the game.”

He finished up by saying that if Tebow wins the quarterback competition over Kyle Orton it will be detrimental to the team.

“If they start Tim Tebow, players are not stupid,” Hoge said. “That coaching staff will have no respect from the players.”

Back to you LeBron.

'We're not very good,' Bills coach says

Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey (pictured) doesn’t mince words or dance around issues.

There wasn’t a whole lot for Bills fans to cheer about following their team’s 10-3 loss to Chicago on Saturday other than the fact the defence racked up nine sacks. But then again, who doesn’t against the Bears.

However, the point with Gailey was that there is much work to do with the backup players and those on special teams.

“We’ve got something we can build on (with the starters), but the rest of them were not very good at all,” Gailey told the Buffalo News.

As for the play of the specials teams — the Bills gave up a 70-yard kickoff return and a 33-yard punt return — Gailey added: “Our special teams were extremely poor and if we play like that on special teams we’ll lose two or three games because of special teams this year.”

Way to go Chan, that’s telling it like it is.

To prove that perhaps Gailey was in a grumpy mood were his comments when informed that receiver Stevie Johnson said leadership should be a shared responsibility, not something that lands on the shoulders of a few. Gailey agreed.

“If you’re depending on someone else to lead you, you’re in trouble,”

In Buffalo, tough love prevails.

You're not THAT good, Eli

It wasn’t quite along the lines of a “Do you still beat your wife” question but it was a trap question that Eli Manning (pictured) should have seen coming from a mile away.

The other day, the younger Manning was asked on ESPN radio if he considered himself to be in the same class as Tom Brady of the Patriots.

Other elite quarterbacks would have avoided answering that question with an easy side-step by saying something to the effect that: “I’ll leave that up to others.” Eli, though, either wasn’t clever enough to avoid the trap or has an ego so large that he danced right into it by claiming: “I consider myself in that class.”

Well, when you look at all that Brady has achieved compared to Eli, you have to wonder just where he is coming from.

Confidence is essential for all players, no matter the level, but by claiming he is on the same level as Brady makes him look dopey at best or egotistical at the worst. Take your pick.

Speaking of picks, Manning threw 25 last year, tops in the NFL. Brady threw four. Enough said.

Boy-op-boy, it's the return of Troy!

Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu will be back at the scene of the crime Thursday at Heinz Field when the Steelers take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the second pre-season game for both teams.

Polamalu has been taking it slow this training camp as he continues to rehab his torn Achilles tendon, an injury that he sustained last season in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 12.

Last year, Polamalu sat out the next two games following his injury, but came back to play in the post-season.

He was, however, nowhere near full health then and in the Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers was a total non-factor. Polamalu did not have surgery to repair the injury and instead opted for rest and rehabilitation.

A healthy Polamalu and a return to the level of play that earned him defensive player of the year honours is vital for the Steelers and their goal of a return trip to the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.

“I felt fine for the little sprinting I have done in practice, but game tempo, game speed is the only real test,” Polamalu told reporters. “I feel great now.”


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