NEW YORK -- The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins 15th overall to answer their long-term questions at quarterback. He's big, strong and has a cannon of an arm. He's got immense potential. Immense.
On Sunday, Haskins got his first NFL game action when Case Keenum got pulled in the first half of an ugly loss to the Giants. Keenum looked terrible and for a moment, Haskins gave Washington a jolt. He drove the team for what would be their only points of the day just before halftime, a field goal despite a 1st-and-Goal from the 1-yard-line.
That drive was the only highlight for Haskins though. In the second half, Haskins' inexperience showed. He threw three interceptions, one of which got run back for a New York touchdown.
Haskins' stat line looked ugly: 9 of 17 for 107 yards and 3 interceptions. Yep, that's ugly.
For weeks, and really for months, Redskins offensive coaches have talked about the great QB Haskins can become, but also kept their feet grounded about the passer he is today. And to those coaches, it's a young man that is not ready for the NFL game.
On Sunday, that showed.
Now, there will be screaming and grandstanding suggesting that if Haskins gets all the work in practice he will deliver better results on the field. That could be true.
At the same time, however, the coaches could be right. Haskins just might not be ready. Three picks is three picks, and they came in only a half.
What happens next will be a wild case study in Redskins politics. Gruden seems likely to explain that Haskins went in because Keenum was hurt, whether or not that's completely true. As bad as Haskins was, Keenum was worse. The QB change had to be made. Colt McCoy will enter into next week's decision though. Gruden could roll with McCoy, saying he's the veteran that gives the team the best chance to win, and that Haskins can stay in the backup role and let Keenum rest his foot.
Or the team rolls with Haskins.
Many will suggest that the genie is out of the bottle now, and the rookie needs to keep the gig. There are a few factors to consider, not the least of which is Sunday's performance, but beyond that too.
The Redskins offense is bad. The team cannot run the ball with any level of success, and there are injuries all over the field. Jordan Reed and Trent Williams are considered the team's best offensive players. Neither has played this year or is expected to play anytime soon. Derrius Guice had surgery three weeks ago. Terry McLaurin is dealing with a hamstring injury. Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier missed the Giants game.
When people talk about positions poised for success, is running that Redskins offense really a position to succeed? Does putting Haskins out with that group really help him?
Of course, he could come out and prove to be a playmaker. That can happen; Haskins has that level of game. But with the 4-0 Patriots coming to town and the Redskins likely already out of the playoff race, is this the right spot for the rookie to get his first start? Barring a directive from ownership or team president Bruce Allen, that doesn't seem like a decision Gruden would make.
"I don't care where you're drafted," Gruden said after the loss in New York. "[Haskins has] got to come in here and perform when he's asked to perform. If I feel like he'll give us the best chance to win versus New England, I'll put him in there.
Every week in the NFL serves as a mandate.
Every week is a mandate on the head coach, and on the quarterback. There is no patience in the NFL, no room for context or conversation.
The Redskins have started six different quarterbacks in their last 10 games. The team hasn't had a true franchise QB with any sort of prolonged run of success in more than 20 years. Probably longer.
It's hard in the NFL to think long-term. Jay Gruden is coaching for his career, right now, and the sharks are circling in the water. There's discord between the coaching staff and the front office, and there is an owner beyond upset at the 0-4 start.
Patience might not exist in the NFL, but between Haskins' performance in New York and the Redskins predicament heading into the Patriots game, Washington needs to find some capacity for self-restraint.
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