Rex Grossman leads the surprising 3-1 Redskins against the Eagles

Posted: October 13, 2011

ASHBURN, Va. - Rex Grossman insists he was just making a preseason statement - that he had no idea his suggestion that the Redskins shouldn't be left out of discussions of potential NFC East champions would generate so much backlash.

As Washington stands in first place with a 3-1 record heading into Sunday's 1 p.m. game at FedEx Field against the Eagles, those who lampooned his statement are piping down, for now.

The Redskins, who were 6-10 last season, are in first place, and the 1-4 Eagles, the popular preseason pick to win the NFC East, are in must-win mode.

So Grossman, who had to beat out journeyman John Beck in the preseason to win the starting job, tried to explain Wednesday how that statement turned into national bulletin board material.

"I didn't have any idea that it was going to be turned into a prediction," Grossman said before practice at the Redskins facility. "I was just saying that we have the capability of winning the [NFC] East. It got turned into a kind of big thing, so now I own it, and it is what it is."

That's a good way to describe Grossman. He is who he is.

Grossman has had some high moments in his career, such as when he led Chicago to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season. Yet those good times have been tempered by adversity.

Take that Super Bowl, for example. Grossman completed 20 of 28 passes for 165 yards, but he threw two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, in a 29-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

This season, despite the Redskins' record, Grossman has thrown six touchdown passes but committed seven turnovers - five interceptions and two lost fumbles.

Still, Grossman is 23-15 lifetime as a starter. He may never get raves - his career passer rating is 71.8 - but there is value in a quarterback who can manage a game.

"I think that once the job was given to him, you saw that confidence level go up a little bit more," Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. "He understands the offense."

Former Eagle and current Redskins receiver Jabar Gaffney said of Grossman, "He's coming along."

Grossman is used to such tepid praise.

"You've been in this league long enough to realize that the fans and the media, they judge week-to-week. More so the media than the fans," he said. "But generally speaking, as long as you're doing your job and trying to accomplish your task and keep getting better, that's all you should focus on."

After a pause, he added, "It's pretty easy not to read or turn on the TV."

On the other hand, it's hard to ignore what Grossman and the Redskins have done so far. The team has racked up wins over the Giants, Cardinals, and Rams and lost only to the Cowboys - and that by 18-16.

The defense has not allowed more than 21 points in a game, and Grossman has completed 83 of 143 passes for 989 yards. That's a 58 percent completion rate.

It may not be record-setting, but it's good enough to help put the Redskins in first place.


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com, or @sjnard on Twitter.

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