The future is now and for Haskins who has struggled in back up duties so far this season, the former Ohio State products’ first chance to lead the Redskins as ‘the guy’ will be against a formidable Buffalo Bills defense on the road.
The Bills have been a pleasant surprise this season and only have two losses on the year. Their defense has been opportunistic and has capitalized on opposing offenses mistakes.
On the season the Bills defense ranks third overall in the NFL. Buffalo ranks in the top five in most defensive categories.
For Haskins to have any kind of success the Redskins offense will need to establish the run game even if it doesn’t happen immediately.
Interim coach Bill Callahan talked about what he has seen from Haskins this week in preparations leading up to Sunday’s contest.
“We’ve seen him progress throughout the week and I think that’s the big thing,” Callahan said. “His improvement from day to day, from situation to situation, from drill to drill. You see nothing but locked-in focus. Like I mentioned the other day, he had a pretty good early start of the week and finalized today with a lot of red-zone work and a lot of moving the ball stuff, so we’re very encouraged.”
Callahan wouldn’t get baited into what he would consider to be a successful start for Haskins and mentioned all he wants is a win.
“Win. That’s all I’m looking for is a win,” Callahan said. “We all are as a team. That success is a win, so it doesn’t matter how it comes, what form, what fashion – win, that’s the name of the game. However, we do it, whether we throw deep, throw short, throw long, throw screens, throw a quick game, whatever it may take. We’ll do whatever we can to win.”
The Redskins will be down several offensive weapons for Haskins which makes his first start that much tougher of a task.
Running back Chris Thompson (turf toe), and both tight ends Jordan Reed (season-ending injured reserve) and Vernon Davis (concussion protocol) are out for the Redskins. Those players along with the absence of All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams have made for struggles on the offense. Haskins will have to rely on the legs of Adrian Peterson and perhaps the Redskins coaches namely offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to be creative and perhaps design a few play-action passes for the rookie.
O’Connell was equally impressed with Haskins preparation this week.
“I think just the preparation factor. Whether it’s different, you’d have to ask him, but I think from my perspective just looking at him, he’s been really locked in all week,” O’Connell said. “I’ve seen him a lot, he’s been around my office a lot, he’s been around with [QB] Coach [Tim] Rattay a lot, the meeting time with the other quarterbacks, making sure those guys do a good job getting together and really trying to watch tape–situationally– and we’re going to work on red zone today, they’re going to watch that stuff, the previous night trying to get ahead. So, just watching him kind of go about the week and everyday been a little bit better. I think he feels really good about the first and second down plan and the third down plan, and then we install red zone today and some of the situational things, and he’ll just get better with that. As the afternoon goes on, we’re going to get together in a little bit adjust kind of a normal process in getting him focused leading up to getting on the plane tomorrow to go up to Buffalo.”
Washington enters the game with only one win on the season and stands at 1-7. The Burgundy and Gold are losers of two straight. Buffalo, on the other hand, plays at home with a record of 5-2, but loss convincingly last week at New Era Field to the Philadelphia Eagles.