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The John Beck Era Begins Sunday in Carolina

Rex Grossman threw four interceptions at home against the Eagles Sunday – three of them were truly awful passes – and Mike Shanahan pulled him in the third quarter and replaced him with John Beck. Beck led the Redskins on a touchdown drive, and it was pretty clear to everyone watching (except Mike Wilbon) Beck would be the team’s next quarterback. Shanahan surprised nobody with the announcement today that Beck would start Sunday in Carolina.

Shanahan has long been enamored with Beck, but isn’t this a bit of a quick hook? The Redskins were 3-1 before the Eagles’ loss, and how rare is it to see a team with a winning record change QBs? I know, I know, this isn’t an ordinary situation – it’s Rex Grossman we’re talking about. I was very tempted to use a headline playing on Rex and the group Wreckx-n-Effect, but nobody would have gotten a clunky reference to a 1-hit wonder 90s rap music group.

Ah, 90s rap music. When MTV actually played videos. When MTV had Spring Break. Good times.

This is a pretty favorable spot for Beck. He’s facing the 28th ranked scoring defense (27 ppg) which has already lost its middle linebacker (Jon Beason) for the season. They’re permitting 143 rushing yards per game; only St. Louis (160) is worse. Atlanta’s Michael Turner just carved them up for 139 yards and two scores. Can Ron Rivera’s defense stop the three-headed rushing attack of Torrian, Helu and Hightower (probably in that order)?

If you’re like me and took the over on Carolina’s wins this season (4.5), this is a huge game. The Panthers’ schedule was front-loaded, but eases up a bit this weekend. Next week they’re at home against Minnesota (featuring the league’s 6th leading rusher, but also a rookie QB). If Carolina has three wins going into the bye, I’ll feel pretty good about getting two more the rest of the way.

Indianapolis should be a layup, and then I think Carolina can win one of these three games: Tennessee, Tampa, Houston. Those three teams are wildly consistent and at some point, Cam Newton’s not going to just cover against a good team, he’s going to steal a win.

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