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The Dwayne Decision: How should Redskins handle Haskins' first season?

The Dwayne Decision: How should Redskins handle Haskins' first season?

For the first time since 2012, the Redskins have a prized first-round rookie quarterback on their roster. 

Now, the team must decide how to approach Dwayne Haskins' first year in the NFL.

Does Washington give him the job right away and let him open up as the No. 1 option in Week 1? Do they let Case Keenum get the first shot, then insert Haskins if things don't go well? Or do they hold him out as long as possible, considering how inexperienced he still is?

Those are the questions the franchise must ask itself, because while Haskins' career is just beginning, it's crucial that things get off to a promising start. And those are the questions is asking, too.

Over the next few weeks, you'll hear from analysts like JP Finlay, Brian Mitchell, Pete Hailey and Grant Paulsen, as they all analyze how they would approach the Dwayne Decision. Before you hear from them, though, it's necessary to get Haskins' and Jay Gruden's thoughts on how the youngster handled his initial exposure to the pro level. 

So, here's the passer and the head coach. Check back as the summer rolls along for the takes from NBC Sports Washington's voices, too. And be ready to submit yours at some point, as we intend to let the fans chime in.

What Gruden and Haskins are saying (WATCH)

"We threw a lot at him: formations, motions, protections, route concepts, run concepts, audible, two-minute, no huddle, all of that stuff. There is a lot to learn for the kid, but we want to get it all out there for him so he has an understanding of what it is going to be like come training camp. A long way to go, but I like where he is at." - Gruden after June minicamp

"When I know what I'm doing, I feel like I'm pretty good... Once I figure out the plays, I feel like the sky's the limit for me." - Haskins after June minicamp

The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated (WATCH)

Dwayne Haskins will eventually be the Redskins' starting quarterback, writes JP Finlay. Haskins will be competing for the starting job during training camp in August and the decision on whether or not he will start is ultimately up to him. Win the competition? Get the starting spot.

Brian Mitchell says if Dwayne Haskins 'proves he's the best, he goes on the football field' (WATCH)

If Dwayne Haskins proves he's the best on the field, he'll start Week 1, Brian Mitchell says. It should not matter who is the oldest or who has the most 'experience' or who has been on the team the longest. If a rookie proves he's better than the rest, he should get the starting job.

Mike Florio: The Redskins should start the QB who 'puts you in the best position to win' (WATCH)

The Redskins should start whichever quarterback gives them the best chance to win in 2019, according to Mike Florio. While the Redskins may have their quarterback of the future in Dwayne Haskins, he may not be the best option to win come Week 1. Case Keenum is an underrated quarterback, according to Florio, and if he is the best option come the season, he should be the starter.

Grant Paulsen: Why Case Keenum should start over Dwayne Haskins (WATCH)

At least for the first few weeks, the Redskins need to go with Case Keenum, Grant Paulsen argued. Haskins is talented with an enormous amount of potential, but he's only got one year as a starter at Ohio State and might not be ready for the NFL right away. Maybe check back around Week 5 or 6.

Pete Hailey: Redskins can stay patient, but once Haskins earns the job, it's his to keep (WATCH)

The Redskins should be in no rush to push Dwayne Haskins onto the field, especially if he's not the best option to win in Week 1. But the Redskins invested a first-round pick in Haskins, who they expect to be their franchise quarterback for years to come. Once Haskins does earn the job, it must stay his, Pete Hailey argued. There will be bumps in the road, as there are with any rookie quarterback, but the Redskins must stay the course and allow Haskins to grow.

The Outsiders: Rushing Dwayne Haskins may create more harm than help (WATCH)

With holes on the offense around him and a tough schedule to open up the season, is throwing Dwayne Haskins out there for Week 1 really the best choice? Nick Ashooh and Wes Hall don't believe so, as the two feel Haskins would be better suited taking a back seat once the season begins. Factoring in strong opponents and holes on the offensive line, The Outsiders feel that a veteran like Case Keenum should handle the potential early-season struggles and worry that rushing Haskins onto the field and into the fire may hurt him in the long run.

Trevor Matich: Play Haskins in spurts until he proves he's ready (WATCH)

The Redskins should play Haskins in spurts throughout the first couple weeks of the season until he proves he's ready mentally for the starting job, Trevor Matich says. Rushing Haskins into the starting job could potentially destroy his confidence, especially if Haskins were to perform poorly and the Redskins were forced to bench him. Let Haskins play meaningful snaps throughout the first few weeks, break out of his bad habits, and then have him earn the full-time starting job.

Chris Simms: The 'safe play' for Jay Gruden is to go with experience (WATCH)

This season will be a contract year for Jay Gruden in the final year of his deal. A lot will be weighing on the head coach, including putting the team in a position to win immediately. Former NFL QB Chris Simms believes that Gruden will likely turn to the experience on his roster rather than Dwayne Haskins. The Gruden question might be the most important question when it comes to Haskins' playing in his rookie year. 


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How to watch NBC Sports Washington's Mock Draft Mondays

How to watch NBC Sports Washington's Mock Draft Mondays

It's hard to believe, but the NFL Draft is less than three weeks away.

To break everything down, both the Redskins and Ravens crews here at NBC Sports Washington will debut a special show, Mock Draft Monday's presented by Papa John's, on Monday, April 6.

The Redskins hold the second overall pick in this year's draft, and many expect them to select Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young. Several draft experts have deemed Young as a generational talent and a can't miss prospect. But there's also the option of trading down in the draft to acquire more assets, and a QB-needy team like the Miami Dolphins at No. 5 could be a potential trade partner.

In addition to discussing what the Redskins will do with the No. 2 pick, the Redskins Talk crew will speak with newly-signed cornerback Kendall Fuller, Super Bowl-winning QB Joe Theismann, and Miami Dolphins beat reporter Safid Deen, who discusses a potential trade with Washington.

A total of 26 picks in the first round will pass between when the Redskins make their choice at No. 2 and when the Baltimore Ravens make their selection at No. 28, barring neither side makes a trade. The Ravens have multiple positions of need, such as both the interior offensive and defensive line, as well as wide receiver. What Baltimore will do at the end of the first round remains a mystery.

In NBC Sports Washington's latest Mock Draft, the Redskins unsurprisingly select Young at No. 2 while the Ravens nab Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.


Here's everything you need to know.

NBCSW's Mock Draft Mondays: How to watch

What: Mock Draft Mondays presented by Papa John's

When: Monday, April 6

Time: 6:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Channel: NBC Sports Washington (channel finder

Redskins Talent: JP Finlay, Julie Donaldson, Pete Hailey, Brian Mitchell, and Mitch Tischler

Ravens Talent: Andrew Gillis and Jordan Giorgio

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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Ronald Darby joins Redskins feeling like he has something to prove

Ronald Darby joins Redskins feeling like he has something to prove

It was not too long ago when Ronald Darby was considered one of the better young cornerbacks in the NFL.

A second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2015, Darby excelled as a rookie, and he followed that up with a solid sophomore campaign. But after being traded to the Eagles in 2017, Darby struggled to stay on the field. The cornerback missed seven games in 2017 due to an ankle injury and tore his ACL the following year, costing him eight more contests. The Eagles re-signed Darby to a one-year deal in 2019, and the cornerback missed another five games dealing with a hip injury.

After truly hitting the open market for the first time in his career, Darby signed to a cheap one-year, $4 million deal with the Redskins, the cornerback's second consecutive one-year contract. Darby said he expected the market to be what it was, and the 26-year-old joins the Burgundy and Gold feeling like he has something to prove.

"Every year, even if you played good last year, you’re going to always have something to prove, whether you played good or bad," Darby said. "This year I go in and I’ve always got something to prove, but of course I feel like I’ve got a lot more to prove due to the fact this is my second one-year deal and things like that. So my main focus is to take care of my body and stay healthy, and go out there and make plays."

Darby understands why he was forced to sign another one-year deal. He knows he has to put a full season together of good football -- while staying healthy -- in order for a team to commit to him on a long-term basis. Although his new contract doesn't guarantee him anything past the 2020 season, Darby is confident he can return to the solid cornerback he was a few seasons ago.

"As the corner I know I am, I’m a great corner," Darby said. "I had to battle obstacles and stuff like that, and at the end of the day whether you’re hurt or good you still got to go out there and perform. You can’t always have excuses. I know that I can be the person that I am, that I’ve shown."

There were several factors that stood out to Darby when the opportunity to join the Redskins presented itself, with one being able to play for Ron Rivera. The new Redskins coach has an excellent reputation around the league and is one of the better defensive minds in the sport.

Darby explained that he didn't have much of a relationship with Rivera prior to being signed, but believes there's a ton of mutual respect between the two. Rivera's defenses have also produced one thing that stood out to new Redskins defensive back: cornerbacks play well, and they get paid.

"I just know him from Carolina," Darby said. "I believe it was last year or the year before last he gave me a shout-out saying he respected how I play and things like that before we played Carolina like two years ago. His defenses have been good, corners that have played in his defense got paid."

The Panthers top cornerback from a season ago, James Bradberry, just signed a three-year, $45 million with the New York Giants. Of course, there's also Josh Norman, who earned himself a five-year, $75 million deal with the Redskins after excelling under Rivera with the Panthers in 2015.

Like his new secondary mate Sean Davis, Darby also grew up in the DMV area and was a Redskins fan when he was younger. The chance to play for his hometown team was certainly something that stood out to the cornerback. But the opportunity to face Philadelphia, his old team, twice a year was another added bonus to signing with Washington, too.

"It's crazy. I'm grateful for the opportunity in Washington," Darby said. "I'm from the DMV area and grew up a Redskins fan, so I get to come back home and play for the team I grew up loving. I get to go against my old teammates twice a year. That'll be fun."

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