Sharon Ellman, Associated Press
Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman hands the ball off to Ryan Torain against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.
ASHBURN, Va. — It's Rex. By the proverbial nose of the football.
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan ended the suspense Monday and announced Rex Grossman as the starting quarterback, giving the nine-year veteran the nod over former BYU star John Beck going into Sunday's season opener against the New York Giants.
"I've got a lot of faith in both of them. It was very competitive all the way through," Shanahan said. "I thought Rex won by an edge."
Grossman becomes the latest player to be given the chance to hold a position that has lacked stability essentially since the end of the glory days of the 1980s and early 1990s. The Redskins have used 20 starting quarterbacks over 18 seasons, with this year's competition a fallout from last year's Donovan McNabb debacle, when Shanahan traded two draft picks for a former Pro Bowl player who eventually got benched and then traded.
Shanahan decided to go with Beck vs. Grossman in 2011, even though Beck hasn't played in a regular- season game since 2007 and Grossman hasn't done much since losing his starting job with the Chicago Bears in 2007, the year after he led them to a Super Bowl. Grossman is a 40-40 player, but that's not a compliment: He's thrown 40 touchdowns and 40 interceptions in his NFL career.
Shanahan said he was staking his reputation on his belief both can play, and he maintained that confidence Monday.
"Any time you've got confidence in two quarterbacks, it's pretty good in the National Football League, and that's what I have right now," the coach said. "I'm very pleased with it."