And that might be a mistake, according to Mark Rypien.
"For all intents and purposes, I thought Donovan was the perfect guy for the job here," the former Redskins signal-caller and Super Bowl XXVI MVP told The Washington Post on Friday at a charity golf tournament in Queenstown, Md. "When you can't protect your guy, you're only as good as the guys up front. I don't care how talented you are. Donovan's one of the most talented that has ever played the game. The understanding is that's where it all starts."
McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowl pick with the Philadelphia Eagles, started 13 games in his first Redskins season before being benched in favor of Grossman. The Redskins acquired Beck from the Baltimore Ravens in a trade just before the 2010 season began, but he hasn't played in a game since his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins in 2007.
Even though he supports McNabb, Rypien approves of Grossman and Beck's public declarations that they are "heir apparent to the throne."
"Competition is very healthy," said Rypien, who played for the Redskins from 1988 to 1993. "... Rex has shown he has done some good things, and the young kid (Beck) is pretty inexperienced but willing to battle for the job, so that's great.
"I know when you bring it all out into the open, it looks like two guys can't stand each other, but really, we're just competitors, and ever since we grew up, type-A personalities. The uniqueness of that position is you have a whole group of type-A personalities, so someone's got to rally that group."
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, who also attended the golf tournament Friday, pointed out that it's normal for quarterbacks to campaign for the starting job.
"All professional athletes have to have that in their confidence," Allen said. "They need to have that, and especially at that position, to lead a football team. And there's no doubt that Donovan McNabb has demonstrated that throughout his career. I think that's a natural. I think if you talk to any backup quarterback in the league, they're going to say, 'I'm ready to start.' "
Allen also stressed that the team isn't just concentrating on its quarterback conundrum.
"We feel we have some good competition at that position," he said. "And it's not just that position. We have to fill our roster and make sure whoever's playing quarterback for us can win."