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Under the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, teams are able to dress 46 players for gameday, instead of 45 plus a backup quarterback. Under these rules, teams like the Redskins elected not to carry that third quarterback option, and instead chose to keep another position player.
This decision almost backfired yesterday.
John Beck was named the starting quarterback early in the week, but by the weekend, his backup Rex Grossman had pneumonia and a 103-degree fever.
Surprisingly, Grossman was still a possibility if needed.
“[Grossman] was ready to go at it if John went down,” head coach Mike Shanahan said after the game. “We brought him out for pre-game. You could see that he was having a tough time so we kept him in here watching it on TV in case we needed him.”
With no other bona fide quarterbacks on the roster, multiple players auditioned under center before the game.
“We had a couple of guys take hand-offs,” Shanahan explained. “We had two or three guys that could do that. It really didn’t matter.”
“Terrence Austin would probably have been the one.”
That’s surprising, considering that Austin has no passing statistics from college, and according to his high school page, he has no passing stats from high school either. But hypothetically, he was the best option if Beck and Grossman both went down.
All of that is not to say that he couldn’t run a version of the “Wildcat formation,” but it would be an especially undomesticated version.
More like “Feral Cat formation.”
The only other player on the team with high school quarterback experience is defensive end Adam Carriker. Carriker will be happy to tell you that his team was terrible in high school and that his switch to defensive end was a wise decision. But wouldn’t it be great to see another two-player in the NFL?
Okay, maybe not at defensive end and quarterback.