SPORTS

John Beck earns praise from Mike Shanahan, but not starting job, yet

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ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — For his 30th birthday, John Beck received praise from Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, a dinner out from his family, and several questions from a swarm of reporters.

Beck performed well against the Indianapolis Colts in the Redskins last preseason game. (Photo: Associated Press)

What the Redskins quarterback didn't get was an answer from Shanahan whether he or Rex Grossman will start against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

"I haven't made that decision," Shanahan said Sunday. "We'll see what happens during the week with our football team and obviously share with the players first."

Shanahan said he was pleased with the decision-making of Beck, whom the Colts sacked three times Friday in Washington's second preseason game.

"Good quarterback play is taking a sack when you have to take a sack, trying to make something happen when you're able to make something happen," said Shanahan, who attributed Beck's lack of downfield passing to the Colts' zone defense. "And I thought John made some good decisions."

Beck started the game and completed 14 of 17 passes for 140 yards. Grossman threw for 88 yards on 8-of-12 passing in relief.

In the Redskins' preseason opener, Grossman completed 19 of 26 passes for 207 yards with a touchdown on Aug. 12 against the Steelers — a game Beck missed after he injured a groin injury in practice.

With his stellar play against the Colts in his preseason debut, Beck held serve in the quarterback competition.

"He's a gamer," wide receiver Jabbar Gaffney said. "From everything we do in practice, he was a totally different guy out there on the field in the game.

"His energy level picked up. It picked up a lot. That surprised me a little bit, but I'd say it's a good thing."

After practice on Friday, Beck was surrounded by a media swarm, causing a few teammates to shout cautionary words. "Don't kill the guy, man." ''Let the man breath." ''Don't kill the man."

The scrutiny will be strong until Shanahan picks a starting quarterback.

"They know what they're doing in this offense, both smart and savvy guys," tight end Fred Davis said. "And John went in and did what he had to do, too. I'm just glad I don't have to make that decision."

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