That’s it. The only question was, why did Shanahan take so long?
The Eagles had sold out. All effort was placed on stopping the run. They had committed to forcing Grossman to beat them with his arm. He was not up to it, to begin with, but when the left side of the O Line was decimated, forcing, among other things, Will Montgomery to move to LG, and Eric Cook to come in as the Center, the deck was completely stacked. Grossman, as we are painfully aware, has no ability to use athleticism to extend plays. While the patched up line did an adequate job, I suspect that the loss of Williams and the presence of Cook as center had crept into Rexy’s mind, enough to bring Bad Rex to the fore with a vengeance.
Rex rushed. He hurried… he saw open receivers where there were none… and delivered up picks… turning a middle of the pack rookie safety into an instant Pro Bowl candidate. To make it worse, Kyle Shanahan abandoned any attempt to move the ball on the ground in the first quarter (which would have offered some protection to Rex), conceding the issue, and giving the Eagles exactly what they wanted. From my perspective, the first 2 “3 & out” series were as much the result of play calling as they were of a failure to move the ball on the ground… one was on 3rd and 2… when it actually DID appear that we could move the ball… (that deadly TE screen that darned near got Cooley decapitated… thanks again, Rex).
It was evident that Rex did not have an answer by the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Fans knew this. I understand that you want to give your starter every opportunity to work his way through a situation like this… but it was clear to virtually everyone watching the game on TV, that it was not going to happen. Rex was not making sound decisions… and he was not going to magically receive some new insight from Mt Olympus that would change him into a play extending, super-athlete.
His inability to solve the Eagles was permitted to extend well into the second half. An earlier decision may well have provided a different outcome… once in the game, the rust on John Beck was evident. Passes were short. The timing was not there… but, you could see that his decisions were sound. He found open receivers quickly, or he extended until someone uncovered… some passes made their way into the right hands, only to be dropped… but once some of the rust was knocked of, he started making thing happen… a 12 yard first down with his legs. Boot-legging away from the rush to extend, then finding and hitting the open man.
He needs quality time with the starters in practice… there’s no assurance… but I sure hope that logic, and not loyalty, prevails in Shanahan’s decision process…
It’s not a given, since I think loyalty is the answer to the question I posed in the first sentence…