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A depth chart is emerging at quarterback, even if Jay Gruden won't say it

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A depth chart is emerging at quarterback, even if Jay Gruden won't say it

While the Redskins will hold a few more OTA sessions next week, on Thursday, mandatory minicamp wrapped for the week and the team got no closer to its most important decision. 

Officially, that is. 

Less than 100 days before the Redskins' first game, head coach Jay Gruden is not prepared to say that any of his quarterbacks have moved ahead in the battle to be the Week 1 starter.

"For me to make a determination on the starting quarterback after minicamp or mandatory camp is just kind of foolish," the coach said. "We'll let these guys continue to play and see which one continues to improve, which one is most consistent throughout the training camp and preseason and we'll go from there."

Gruden is right.

There is zero need for him or the organization to establish a QB depth chart right now in early June. The Redskins will have about six weeks off before the team reconvenes in Richmond for training camp, and that's when the competition goes from collegial to fierce. 

Still, during three days of mandatory minicamp, a few things became apparent. 

Rookie Dwayne Haskins has the highest ceiling of the Redskins current quarterbacks. He's flashed a rocket arm and a delicate touch on seemingly consecutive throws, but as things progressed in the sessions, he wasn't the best passer at practice. Case Keenum showed a greater command of the huddle and line of scrimmage, and an ability to handle the speed of the NFL pass rush better than the rookie.

It's also premature to determine too much from three days of performances in June, as the team has been working with a patchwork offensive line and little positional clarity.  

"We're not even thinking about that right now, to be honest with you. We're giving them equal reps," Gruden said of Haskins and Keenum.

"We don’t really have a one's or a two's right now. We're switching in the receivers, subbing them in. Doesn't matter who's out there for tight ends. You know, I think we'll start to get some true first-team reps when we have a first-team on offense. Right now we really don't. We'll start to do that once training camp hits."

When training camp hits, that's when things will get interesting. Haskins is crazy smart and seems like the type to use the next six weeks to learn more of the playbook and protection schemes. Keenum is still learning Gruden's system too. And don't forget Colt McCoy, the only incumbent QB on the roster that missed minicamp with a leg injury. 

McCoy worked out with Jordan Reed on the side practice fields throughout minicamp, and according to team sources, should be full go for training camp. 

"I promise you I feel good about any of the three playing. They're all great players and great competitors, they're picking it up well," Gruden said. "They have qualities you want in a starting quarterback, so hopefully we make the right decision."

So about that decision, coach?

The wheels need to move fast once the team hits the ground in Richmond. Haskins is the future, that became apparent when the team took him with the 15th overall pick. 

When does the future begin to happen? Much of that will be decided by McCoy and Keenum. And Haskins. 

Keenum has a slight lead now, even if Gruden won't admit it. But it's not a stranglehold, and McCoy hasn't even entered the race yet. 

Richmond should be fun. 


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Why Dwayne Haskins could be the first Ohio State QB to find real success in the NFL

Why Dwayne Haskins could be the first Ohio State QB to find real success in the NFL

The Ohio State University has one of the most prestigious football programs in all of college football.

Year in and year out, the Buckeyes are National Championship contenders, and also produce some of the best NFL players of any school. Ohio State has produced 81 first-round NFL Draft picks in their program history, tied with the University of Southern California for the most of any school.

But for whatever reason, quarterbacks that hail from the Columbus-based university don't tend to usually find success at the next level. The Redskins need this trend to end now. The Burgundy and Gold invested a first-round pick on former Buckeye Dwayne Haskins, who they expect to be their franchise quarterback for the next several years.

The Redskins Talk podcast sat down with Ohio State football beat reporter Bill Rabinowitz last week to discuss Haskins' lone season as the Buckeyes' starter, his leadership qualities, how he's different from past Ohio State quarterbacks and why he might be the first former Buckeye QB to experience real NFL success.

Despite only spending one year as the Buckeyes starter, Haskins turned in the best statistical season of any Ohio State quarterback in program history.  

He shattered the Big Ten record for most passing yards in a season, throwing for more than 1,000 yards more than the previous record holder. He also broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record for most passing touchdowns in a single-season, tossing 50 in 2018, compared to Brees' 39.

"Maybe the most impressive single season by any Ohio State quarterback," Rabinowitz said on Haskins' 2018 season.

Over the past couple of decades, the Buckeyes have had some very successful college quarterbacks, they just were unable to translate it to the next level.

"Ohio State's history at every other position is pretty impressive in the NFL," Rabinowitz said. "Probably the best quarterback they've every produced is Mike Tomzack in terms of a pro career. He was undrafted. Troy Smith looked like he had the chance to do that, but never really panned out in the pros."

Before Haskins, the previous two Buckeye quarterbacks, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, combined to win a National Championship for Ohio State. Neither one has been able to establish themselves in the NFL. Other recent examples include Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller, who both had spectacular careers as Buckeye QBs before switching to wide receiver in the NFL.

But Rabinowitz says Haskins is "on a different level than those guys as a passer." Unlike many of the past Ohio State quarterbacks, Haskins relies on his arm a lot more than his legs. 

Some draft experts were skeptical of Haskins because of the type of offense Ohio State ran, which included a lot of short, quick passes. But Rabinowitz believes Haskins' arm will allow him to be successful in the NFL.

"Sure there were some shovel passes, but [Haskins] made some deep throws that were just spot on," he said. "Just beautiful, majestic throws. Even from high in the press box, you just went 'wow.' There should be no question about Dwayne Haskins ability to make every throw."

Of course, Rabinowitz was asked by the podcast crew the question that will dominate training camp headlines: Should Haskins start Week 1?

While Rabinowitz admitted that he was not too familiar with the Redskins' QB situation, he did say that because of Haskins' lack of experience, "it may be best not to throw him in with the wolves right away."

"I covered Tim Couch with the Browns in 1999, we saw what happened with him," Rabinowitz said. "Carson Palmer with the Bengals, he didn't play at all his first year, and he was a Heisman Trophy winner. I see the benefits. I know it's tempting to have a first-round pick and want to play him, and if he's their best option, maybe he should play. [Haskins] will do everything in his power to be as ready as he can be, but the NFL is different than the college game."

Training camp and the preseason will be telling for Haskins as to how soon Redskins' fans can expect him to be on the field.


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Dwayne Haskins sees parallels between himself, Lion King's Simba

Dwayne Haskins sees parallels between himself, Lion King's Simba

The story of the Lion King is one that takes many of us to our childhood, a feel-good story about a young cub going through adversity to become  King.

It's a story Redskins new quarterback, Dwayne Haskins Junior, has related to since he was a child himself, having taken on the moniker Simba. 
Disney first came out with the movie in 1994 and just released a photorealistic live-action re-make.  Haskins made sure he was there for the world premiere in Los Angeles walking the red carpet with his girlfriend Savhana Cousin earlier this month.

"The new Lion King brought so many great old memories!" he tweeted. "A blessing to be a part of. "

Haskins sees many parallels in Simba. He told me before the draft that the nickname first came from when his aunt was combing out his hair saying he looked like a lion.  

Beyond that, he liked the story of the young cub going through adversity to become King.

"The story behind him growing to king, going through adversity, and having to fall to get up and that's just something that resonates with my story. Everyone sees the highs of everything but not what it takes to get there," he said.

He has even used the story for his own clothing brand as well, Kingdom of Pride. 

Haskins fell in the draft to number 15 and the Redskins but has every intention of proving he is worthy of the pick and one day winning what he declares will be multiple Super Bowls.  

That would certainly fall in line with the story of Simba taking back the kingdom.