Redskins

Redskins

Statistically, veteran quarterback Case Keenum was the most productive signal-caller for the Redskins a season ago.

But after Keenum was forced to miss the Redskins Week 9 contest against the Bills due to injury, rookie Dwayne Haskins was inserted into the starting lineup. While the first-round pick had his ups and downs as a rookie, Haskins finished the 2019 season on a high note, flashing his potential as to why the Redskins selected him No. 15 overall the previous April.

Keenum, who described himself as a realist, still believes he's capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. Understanding a scenario of that happening with the Redskins is unlikely next season, Keenum is not too optimistic about a return to Washington.

"I have no idea. I would say probably not," Keenum said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Orlando about returning to Washington. "I can't tell the future though."

Keenum understands the direction the young Redskins roster is headed. Washington is hoping to build off a promising young core that includes Haskins, as well as young offensive weapons Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims and Derrius Guice.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old quarterback was impressed with the progress that Haskins made towards the end of the 2019 season.

"I think Dwayne did an incredible job towards the end of the season, adapting and getting a lot better," Keenum said. "I think it's his team moving forward."

However, Keenum believes he can still play football and play the quarterback position at a high level.

 

So if he has the opportunity to be a starter, or at least compete for the starting job, somewhere else, the veteran will certainly take that chance.

"I feel like I played really good football. I know the wins and losses didn't show it." Keenum said on his performance last season. "I'd love another shot to play in this league. So if there's another chance, another opportunity out there, I'm not sure where that might be, I don't take these things lightly. I'm going to go compete and make myself better this offseason and hopefully and be ready for whatever team might come calling."

During Ron Rivera's introductory press conference on Jan. 2, the new Redskins head coach was said he believed Haskins could be a "franchise-style quarterback." But he was also not overly committed to handing the starting job to Haskins right away. In fact, Rivera mentioned that some veterans would get the chance to compete for the job, with Keenum potentially being one of them. 

"I also think there's a couple of good veteran quarterbacks that are obviously going to get some opportunities to play as well," Rivera said. "We won't know until we get ready to open up in September. Until then, everything's just a process. We can't get ahead of it."

While Keenum would appreciate the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback position in Washington, he didn't have his hopes too high when asked about that possibly being an option.

"If that's a possibility, and that's how it's going to be, I'm all for competition. I love it," Keenum said. "But I understand. I'm also a realist. I know what's going on. It's a tough situation, but I'm excited wherever I get an opportunity to compete."

Keenum referred to his year in Minnesota as an example of how nothing is ever guaranteed in the NFL. Things change fast.

"I came in as a third-, second-string at best [in Minnesota] and ended up starting 14, 15, 16, 17 games and going to the NFC Championship," he said. "Nobody could have predicted that when Sam Bradford went down Week 1."

During his eight-year NFL career, Keenum has spent time with seven different organizations. Change is nothing new for the veteran.

"It's funny, this league, there's so much talent, so many great coaches that get let go every year," Keenum said. "It's about having the right combination, the right people in the right place at the right time. I hope Ron does a great job bringing it all together [in Washington]."

In Rivera's introductory press conference, he was asked why his regime in Washington will be different than the unsuccessful ones before him. The head coach responded with: "I believe in me, and I'll bet on me."

Whether Keenum is with the Redskins or not in 2020, it sounds like the quarterback has already adopted that mindset from Rivera.

 

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