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The Washington Redskins began the season with a solid plan that Case Keenum would be their starting quarterback and first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins sit out this year to learn. That plan has fallen apart for several reasons, including a 1-6 start and an injury to Keenum early in the regular season. As the Redskins approach the halfway point, pressure is increasing for the franchise to start Haskins but the coaching staff has stood firm in their decision that he isn’t ready.
“I think Dwayne’s still learning,” said coach Bill Callahan after the San Francisco 49ers game. “I think he’d be the first one to tell you that. We still have faith, total faith, in Case and his ability to manage this offense and run this offense and execute everything within it. We’re moving forward with Case at this juncture.”
Besides Colt McCoy taking the helm in the New England game, the Redskins have stuck with Keenum as the starter through Jay Gruden and now Callahan. In Thursday’s game against Minnesota, the Redskins offense had trouble finding their rhythm which has been the case for awhile now. When they did have momentum, costly penalties, turnovers and an inability to get into the end zone halted their progress.
Surprisingly, after halftime Haskins entered the game as it was revealed that Keenum was in the concussion protocol. He finished the game with 130 yards on 12-of-16 passing. It was the first time in his career he completed at least 75 percent of his passes in back-to-back weeks.
As we saw in Week 4 against the New York Giants, Haskins’ number was called in the middle of the game. To some extent there has been an unsaid expectation for him to save the day but as we saw against both the Giants and Vikings, he just isn’t there yet. He threw three interceptions in the Giant game and one key interception in the red zone versus the Vikings.
“I think the big thing is situational awareness and knowing where we are at on the field,” Callahan said. “I think he can learn some really invaluable things coming off the tape in terms of management.”
To be fair, it’s difficult to evaluate Haskins’ potential success moving forward based off two bite sized performances. In order for him to get better he will need more starting opportunities and first-team reps in practice.
“We’re doing everything possible to generate some better execution out of his game that will translate into a win,” Callahan stated. “You always are really centered around that one position (quarterback) because he’s your franchise and everything that we do is so quarterback driven.”
It’s hard not to attribute some of the Redskins’ lack of success to instability at the quarterback position. With Keenum being injury prone this season, it may be time to commit to Haskins for the sake of stability moving forward. However, Callahan has confirmed that if Keenum is healthy, he will be the starter when the Redskins face the Buffalo Bills.