Jason Reid: If Shanahans go all-in with John Beck, they're taking a gamble

Jason Reid

The Washington Post

Published: Thursday, May 12 2011 2:34 p.m. MDT

Bill Parcells had Beck in Miami and released him. Ozzie Newsome traded Beck from Baltimore to Washington for little. Joe Flacco is entrenched as the Ravens' starter, and Beck was fourth-string, but if Beck's potential was so evident, wouldn't Newsome have found a way to keep him?

Denver owner Pat Bowlen did not question Shanahan's coaching ability when he fired him at the end of the 2008 season. Bowlen booted him because Mike Shanahan the general manager simply didn't get it done after John Elway retired in 1999. During the post-Elway period, Shanahan made major mistakes in free agency, had boom-or-bust drafts, couldn't get it figured out on defense and won only one playoff game, missing the postseason his past three seasons.

After Elway led the Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl titles, Shanahan figured he could plug in any quarterback into his system. Shanahan thought it was all about him — and he was wrong. The Broncos had varying degrees of success with Brian Griese, Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler, but nothing approaching what Elway delivered. Last season in Washington, the McNabb situation was a complete debacle. Now, Shanahan is preparing to shift to the untested Beck.

Over his final 10 years in Denver, Shanahan proved to Bowlen he could not be trusted to assemble a championship-caliber roster unless there was a future Hall of Fame quarterback already in place. With what Snyder has observed so far, he may not need nearly as much time to reach the same conclusion.

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