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Bill Callahan on Dwayne Haskins: ‘He needs a little bit more work’

Bill Callahan on Dwayne Haskins: ‘He needs a little bit more work’

After being thrust into game action when Case Keenum left Thursday night’s game with concussion symptoms, Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins struggled to get the offense rolling in relief for the second time in as many chances this season.

The rookie had an opportunity to lead five drives in the second half, but never managed to guide the Redskins into the red zone. Those five drives ended with a three-and-out, field goal, interception, three-and-out and the game clock striking zero.

It was the second time Haskins took over for an injured Keenum this season after being drafted 15th overall by the Redskins in April. Interim head coach Bill Callahan named Haskins the backup over veteran Colt McCoy earlier this month, but says he still isn’t a refined product at this point in his career.

“I think he needs a little bit more work,” Callahan said. “I think time is invaluable where he can sit back and learn from quarterbacks like Case [Keenum] and Colt [McCoy] as well as players like [QB] Alex [Smith] who is around the building. It is a fine line. We are trying to win games still.”

Callahan admitted that he and offensive coordinater Kevin O’Connell have simplified the pre-snap verbiage for Haskins but doesn’t attribute his struggles to a lack of preparation. He does, however, want to see Haskins relay calls to the huddle quicker and manage the clock more efficiently.

“When I’m talking about the clock, I am talking about the 40-second clock,” Callahan said. “Getting in and getting out of the huddle. Really working the offense at an upbeat tempo where he can have time at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes just not letting the clock run down on him. It is our responsibility as coaches to do a better job of getting the plays into him quicker and faster.”

Keenum’s status is up in the air moving forward, and it will likely become more clear at practice next week. For now, Callahan wants Haskins to focus on his preparation and try to learn as much from his veteran teammates as he can.

“It’s very similar to quarterbacks like [Aaron] Rodgers, Steve Young, you know really good quarterbacks in our league that have sat back not only for one season but several and learned and grew and got the experience and the knowledge to go out and execute at a high level,” Callahan said. “When you're thrust into a situation as a young rookie, boy it’s challenging.

“I mentioned this last night, you could look at Troy Aikman when he was first drafted by Dallas, you can look at Peyton Manning when he came out in Indianapolis, they struggled. They really struggled. You’re going to have some growing pains with young quarterbacks and we get that.”

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Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

What should the Redskins do with the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? 

Some believe Washington has an easy choice and should take Chase Young. Some think they should consider taking Tua Tagovailoa despite drafting Dwayne Haskins a year ago. ESPN's Mel Kiper is a proponent of both.

"You can have all the Chase Young's you want," Kiper said Thursday. "This is a quarterback league all the way.

"If the medical staff clears [Tagovailoa], and the medical staff is going to be key to this," he continued. "If they sign off, you take Tua at No. 2. You don't trade the pick, you don't take Chase Young. And if Haskins turns out to better, than great then we can trade Tua."

This goes against what Kiper said just a month ago. In a mock draft from January 24, Kiper wrote, "If you scanned Washington's depth chart, you probably wouldn't pick out an edge rusher as its top need. It might not even be in the top three. And yet, the Redskins absolutely can't pass on Young -- unless they get bowled over with an offer from a team trading up."

Anyway, The Sports Junkies took time to react to Kiper's comments on their Friday show. Eric Bickel, J.P. Flaim and Jason Bishop had particularly interesting takes on whether the Redskins should consider drafting a quarterback in the first round in back-to-back years.

That's preposterous," Bickel said. "That's the part where it falls apart."

"You can't draft quarterbacks back to back in the first round and have them battle it out," Bishop said. 

"It would be just like what happened in Arizona," Bickel said in response. "They'd have to unload Haskins and get what they could."

The Cardinals did exactly what Kiper is proposing for the Redskins last season when they took Kyler Murray with the first pick despite drafting Josh Rosen in the top-10 the year prior. Arizona, similar to the Redskins this year, hired a new head coach after taking Rosen. 

The Cardinals then traded Rosen to the Dolphins on Day 2 of the draft last year in exchange for a second-round pick (Andy Isabella) and a 2020 fifth-round pick. Murray went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and Rosen only made three starts for the Dolphins in 2019. 

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and if the Redskins believe Tagovailoa gives them a better chance to compete for a Super Bowl than Dwayne Haskins, then they shouldn't worry about taking a quarterback in back-to-back drafts. It's certainly worked out for the Cardinals so far. But there are no certainties in the draft, as Flaim points out. 

"I think [Kiper's] just saying that," Flaim said. "The reality is if you really believe Tua is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Like, if you're evaluation is Tua's going to be a Russell Wilson, he's going to be an Aaron Rodgers, he's going to be an elite quarterback in the league, and Haskins is just going to be a guy, he could be a starter, then you take Tua. But it's so inexact you have no idea."

Washington's interest in Tagovailoa is unknown at this point, though they will be meeting with him and Joe Burrow prior to the draft. Head coach Ron Rivera did say however, the Redskins are, 'just doing our due diligence,' in meeting with the top two quarterbacks in this year's draft. 

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Report: NFL teams haven't contacted the Redskins about a Trent Williams trade

Report: NFL teams haven't contacted the Redskins about a Trent Williams trade

Trent Williams reportedly made his demands clear. He either wants a new contract or he wants to be traded, according to a report from NFL Network on Thursday. 

As the situation for the disgruntled left tackle continues to play out, the Redskins haven't received any trade inquiries about Williams, according to Sports Illustrated's Michael Silver.

"Has there been any trade interest around the league? So far, no," Silver said on an NFL Network appearance Friday. "Nobody has called Washington saying 'We'd like to talk about coming and getting Trent Williams.' Maybe that'll change."

Following up on earlier reports, Silver acknowledged that there has been a line of communication between Williams and new head coach Ron Rivera after changes to the medical staff — the root cause of the offensive lineman's original rife and distrust with the team. 

Rivera is widely regarded as a coach that players can trust and enjoy playing for. Silver commented on how that may impact Washington's direction with Williams' future.

"I think organizationally the feeling is 'Look, if Trent Williams doesn't feel comfortable with this situation, and doesn't want to be there for Ron Rivera, we're not going to spend a lot of time trying to appease him," Silver said.

After sitting out for the entirety of the 2019 season, Williams has one year remaining on his contract with a salary-cap hit of $14.5 million, none of which is guaranteed.

When Williams signed the deal in 2015, he set an NFL record for the highest-paid offensive tackle in league history. But as value has increased, the seven-time Pro Bowler has slid further down the list of highest-paid tackles, currently ranking eighth in highest average salary, according to Over the Cap.

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