Matt Cassel: Breaking down Redskins' QB dilemma with Patriots on deck

Matt Cassel: Breaking down Redskins' QB dilemma with Patriots on deck

The Washington Redskins don't have an easy decision this week regarding who to start at quarterback against an elite New England Patriots defense.

As a player, you obviously want to be out there as much as possible, and I’m sure Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins wants to get the taste out of his mouth from last week's loss to the New York Giants, unfortunately unraveling the way that it did, throwing three interceptions. That’s never how you want to start, but at the same time, you want to learn from those experiences and get an opportunity to go back out as soon as possible and change the storyline.

It’s an interesting balancing act, especially for Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and his staff because so much of what a quarterback does in his performance is based on confidence, and right now, Haskins is reeling with his confidence.

And to go up against a team like the Patriots, who have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and are playing at a very high level, it's a tough situation for a young player. Historically, it’s evident they challenge young quarterbacks with their pressure, their high-intensity and the different looks they show. The Patriots have won 18 consecutive games against first- or second-year quarterbacks for a reason.

Do you take a risk at really shattering the kid’s confidence and him going out and risking another bad performance? It could happen that way, but at the same time, Haskins could go out and play great and gain a lot of confidence, which would really benefit him. You also have two other veteran quarterbacks with Colt McCoy possibly coming back healthy, as well as Case Keenum, who started the first four games.

Which quarterback should start Sunday in Washington?

I think it depends on where McCoy is at. He’s a guy who’s been in Gruden's system for several years. He’s had some success under Gruden, and he’s a guy I know they have confidence in. He knows the system, he’s a guy they like, but he hasn’t been healthy. If McCoy is good to go in Week 5, I think I’m going with him.

The way last week shook out — they wanted to make a change at quarterback, and you just don’t know if Haskins is ready yet as a young quarterback going up against a great defense. I would be worried about confidence moving forward after the way last week’s game unfolded, and the three interceptions. 

If you look at the Redskins' schedule, they've had some tough opponents early on, including those with very good defenses like the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys.

The previous games weren’t all like last week when it’s 24-3. Some of these losses have been a bit closer than the final score would suggest. They really should’ve won that first game against the Philadelphia Eagles, for example. The Patriots are another difficult matchup for the Redskins, and a veteran like McCoy, given his familiarity with Gruden's offense, is a good first choice to combat New England's stellar defense. 

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joined the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and

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Watch Rob Gronkowski's wild intro as WrestleMania 36 host

Watch Rob Gronkowski's wild intro as WrestleMania 36 host

Rob Gronkowski may be done with football, but he continues to find ways to entertain us on our television screens.

The former New England Patriots tight end is hosting WrestleMania 36 this weekend alongside WWE star Mojo Rawley. And as one would expect, Gronk brought the energy to start off the two-night event.

“[WWE] picked the right guy [to host WrestleMania], because I know how to start a party on a Saturday night and end it 30 hours later," Gronk quipped in his introduction.

Watch below:

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Between the WWE and his various other ventures, Gronkowski seemingly has been everywhere these last few weeks. He appeared on SmackDown, was revealed as White Tiger in "The Masked Singer," and participated in a virtual beer pong tournament for coronavirus relief.

In other words, retirement seems to be treating the future Pro Football Hall of Famer well.

Stephon Gilmore seems to think covering new Bills WR Stefon Diggs will be 'light work'

Stephon Gilmore seems to think covering new Bills WR Stefon Diggs will be 'light work'

Does New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore think covering new Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs will be "light work?" 

It certainly seems that way. Gilmore defended Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper after former Bills and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan called Cooper a "turd" on ESPN's "Get Up."

The 29-year-old called Cooper one of the "toughest receivers in the league to cover," but when a fan responded saying Diggs will be tougher, another fan said he'd be "light work" and Gilmore liked that tweet. 

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Will Diggs really be that difficult for the Defensive Player of the Year to handle? It's tough to say, but Diggs put up some impressive numbers with the Minnesota Vikings before being traded to the Bills.

Listen and subscribe to Phil Perry's Next Pats Podcast here: 

In five seasons with the Vikings, Diggs has 4,623 yards and 30 touchdowns -- he's had 1,000-plus yards receiving in back-to-back years and has never played a full 16-game season. On the other hand, Gilmore had six interceptions last season with two touchdowns, 44 solo tackles and a fumble recovery. 

With the Patriots and Bills set to meet at least twice next season, it'll be interesting to see how things shake out.