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Grossman Has Ups, Downs Against the Jets

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With Donovan McNabb sidelined with an ankle injury, all eyes turned to Rex Grossman at Friday's preseason game against the New York Jets.

Grossman played the entire first half against the Jets. He completed 8-of-16 passes for 111 yards in leading the offense to a pair of field goals. His QB rating was 72.7.

Third downs were a problem for Grossman. The offense was just 1-of-6 on third downs in the first half, although it was against one of the league's best defenses.

Grossman's best play was a 29-yard pass completion to Santana Moss that set up the Redskins' first score. His worst was when he failed to grasp a snap that he had to kick out of the end zone for a safety.

It was an up-and-down performance by Grossman – much like his career.

Grossman appears to be locked in as the Redskins' primary backup to McNabb this season.

That may make some nervous, but not the coaching staff.

They are confident in Grossman's ability to direct the offense should McNabb be sidelined for an extended time.

"Without a doubt we're confident in Rex," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "He wouldn't be here if we weren't. We have to feel that way about our backup or we would have to find a new backup."

Grossman's career includes guiding the Chicago Bears to a 13-3 record in 2006 and an appearance in Super Bowl XLI.

But he has struggled with fumbles and interceptions throughout his career.

In the Redskins' 23-3 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Aug. 21, Grossman was careless with the ball. He threw an ill-timed interception in the red zone when he should have just thrown the ball away.

Despite the mistakes, Grossman is in his second year in Shanahan's offense – the two worked together in Houston last year – and believes he has found a comfort level in the system.

"I just want to play smart and run the offense," Grossman said. "It sounds simple, but just play smart, go where the defense takes me, and run the offense the way Kyle wants me to."

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Grossman does not worry about perception.

He is concerned with reality.

"Anytime I've been in a backup role, I've prepared as if I'm going to be a starter and this year will be no different," Grossman said. "It just happened a little earlier this year. If it happens later in the year, I'll be ready."

Added Casey Rabach: "We'd love for Donovan to play every game, but we have to deal with the cards we're dealt. Rex actually has more experience than Donovan has in this offense.

"We can't complain or cry about woulda coulda shoulda, we have to view it as this is what we're doing and move on."

And does McNabb view himself as indispensable to the Redskins' success?

"I don't look at it like they need me," McNabb said. "I think we all need each other."

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