Last week against the Browns, Dwayne Haskins threw two interceptions, including one to Mack Wilson for a 40-yard touchdown return, in a 30-10 loss. The rookie quarterback for the Redskins had thrown just eight picks for Ohio State last fall, as opposed to 50 touchdowns.
By the end of the second quarter, Washington’s No. 15 pick in this April’s NFL Draft started to look more like the Buckeye of old. He launched a 55-yard scoring strike to Robert Davis for his first NFL touchdown pass in a loss to Cincinnati.
He helped build a 13-6 lead before the visiting Bengals tied it by the end of the third quarter. He completed 7-of-14 passes for 114 yards to go with the score through three and a half quarters. He also absorbed three sacks for a total loss of 19 yards.
The 22-year-old rookie was replaced by Jalan McLendon late in the fourth quarter for the final few series. Washington trailed Cincinnati 23-13 at the time.
The 22-year-old, who attended the Bullis School in nearby Potomac (Md.), wasn’t awful in his debut last week. He posted an 8-for-14, 117-yard statline, but the pair of picks loomed large. As Kevin Patra of NFL.com pointed out, it was an uneven performance that featured some of the first-rounder’s tantalizing potential.
The rookie appeared to find a groove on his fourth drive, scrambling to avoid a sack a couple of times for good gains, and dinking and dunking his way down the field. In the two-minute drill, Haskins made a perfect strike to Kidsy for 16 yards, putting it in the only spot his wideout could corral the ball.
As he was going up, Haskins crashed back down.
His next pass after hitting Kidsy, Haskins tossed another interception. The play could have been miscommunication or a ball that sailed on the QB, but with three Browns DBs surrounding his target, it was an ill-fated throw.
En route to finishing third in the Heisman race last December, Haskins put up 4,831 passing yards and the aforementioned touchdown-interception ratio. He shined brightest against rival Michigan, dominating the Wolverines with 396 yards and six touchdowns in a 62-39 rout.
Could Haskins or Case Keenum Pass Colt McCoy for the Starting Job?
Colt McCoy was the projected starter heading into training camp. However, he was held out of a second preseason game due to recovery from his gruesome broken leg from last year.
As Patrik Walker of CBS Sports writes, this continued absence means its a quarterback battle between Keenum and Haskins for the starting job until McCoy gets better.
Once the Redskins finally settle on who’ll start Week 1, without McCoy in tow, any non-starter named Keenum or Haskins essentially becomes QB2 by default.
For head coach Jay Gruden’s part, he may just be taking time to ensure McCoy’s leg is fully healthy and ready to go for Week One against the Eagles.
“Right now he’s not able to do much,” head coach Jay Gruden said on Wednesday, via J.P. Finley of NBC Sports. “It’s just something he’s still dealing with and we will have to deal with,” he noted. “But the main thing is to make sure he’s comfortable back there and has enough strength to push off and throw and feels good about if he does get hit that (McCoy’s leg) is healthy and stable, which it is.”
For now, the nod should probably go to Keenum, who has extensive and recent starting experience. He nearly threw for 4,000 yards last year for the Broncos, as well as over 3,000 during the Vikings’ run to the NFC Championship Game during the 2017 season.
There’s no need to rush Haskins to the field as a starter, but his continued strides have to be a positive development for a Redskins organization that’s been hungry for a franchise quarterback for decades.