John Beck says he's ready to start

Updated: May 18, 2011, 1:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

After not selecting a quarterback in April's draft, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan talked glowingly of backup John Beck. In a radio interview Monday, Beck made it clear he thinks he's ready to take over as the team's starter.

"I believe I'm a starter in the NFL," Beck said in a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview Monday.

He's certainly thinking like a leader during the lockout, calling teammates to organize workouts since players are not permitted to train at team facilities during the work stoppage.

"I basically say, 'Screw the awkwardness.' 'I'm trying to be the starting quarterback," he said in the interview. "I'll call whoever, try to set whatever up. If you don't think like a starter and act like a starter, your teammates probably aren't gonna believe you're the starter. So I'm thinking I'm the starter."

Of course, the reason Beck is even getting the opportunity to start is a result of Donovan McNabb's disastrous first season with the Redskins after being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb was benched at the end of the season for Rex Grossman, who is scheduled to be a free agent once the lockout ends. The Redskins are expected to try to trade McNabb.

Beck said he likes McNabb but he is glad the quarterback situation played out like it did in Washington late last season.

"I have to say I'm glad it happened," Beck said of McNabb's demotion. "If I want my opportunity, I have to have stuff like this happen so I can get an opportunity. If McNabb stays as starter of the Washington Redskins, I remain a backup, and I want to be a starter. So, I have to hope for things like this to happen."

The 29-year-old Beck was drafted by the Miami Dolphins out of BYU in 2007 as their potential franchise quarterback. He played in five games (four starts) during Miami's 1-15 season; however, he was the third-string quarterback in 2008. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2009 after being released by Miami and was traded to Washington last year.

The Redskins signed Beck to a three-year contract worth $3.35 million last season that keeps him under contract through the 2012 season.

In April, Shanahan said he had Beck rated as the best quarterback available in the 2007 draft. JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb, Trent Edwards, Drew Stanton and Troy Smith are some of the other quarterbacks who were drafted that year.

"I had a lot of confidence in John Beck when he came out in 2007," Shanahan said, according to The Washington Post. "I evaluate the quarterbacks every year, and I do have confidence in John Beck. He was by far my No. 1 guy. I think the world of him."

Beck ran the Redskins' scout team last season, impressing Shanahan with his work ethic.

"No. 1, I evaluated him throughout his pro career and collegiate career, so I know him quite well," Shanahan said, according to The Post. "And when you see a guy practice every day, whether it's your system or against the defense, surely you can see his strengths and his weaknesses. As I mentioned, I told you what I thought about him in college, and he has not disappointed me since he's been here."

Beck struggled in his rookie season, completing just 56 percent of his passes for 559 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He also fumbled five times. Still, he said Monday that the experience prepared him to handle adversity. He just asks Redskins fans to give him a chance.

"I don't ask any fans to believe in me right now," he said. "How could I? If you try to see what I've done in my career, I've stood on the sidelines and watched people and I went out as a rookie and played like a rookie. That's it."