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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