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It's time for Dwayne Haskins to start matching the production of his rookie QB peers

It's time for Dwayne Haskins to start matching the production of his rookie QB peers

The Redskins made Dwayne Haskins the third quarterback taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft when Washington selected the former Ohio State star 15th overall. 

So far, he's only got one start, and the numbers were pedestrian. He completed 68 percent of his passes with no touchdowns or interceptions though he ended up with just 144 pass yards. The Redskins didn't give Haskins many chances to throw the ball downfield, and besides that, there was a fierce wind blowing in Buffalo that day which hampered both offenses. 

That said, it's time to let Haskins take some chances. A quick glance around the NFL shows that Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones are both averaging more than 220 pass yards-per-game, but so is Gardner Minshew, the only other rookie QB with at least two starts.

Here's a look at those three quarterbacks numbers so far this year:

  • Kyler Murray (1st overall) | 64 percent completion, 12 TDs, 5 INTs, 255 pass yards-per-game | 3-6-1 in 10 starts
  • Daniel Jones (6th overall) | 63 percent completion, 15 TDs, 8 INTs, 220 pass yards-per-game | 2-6 in 8 starts
  • Gardner Minshew (178th overall) | 61 percent completion, 13 TDs, 4 INTs, 254 pass yards-per-game | 4-4 in 8 starts

Based on the data, the numbers actually look fairly similar. All three rookie passers with significant experience are able to move the ball and score TDs, and none are throwing that many interceptions. 

For Haskins, it's tough to extrapolate too much from his first two appearances. He was bad in both, throwing four interceptions in just 22 pass attempts. But both games were relief appearances  - against the Giants and the Vikings - and came on the road with his team trailing. 

Sunday's contest against the Jets should look quite different. It's Haskins' first-ever start at FedEx Field, his second start of the year, and against a Jets defense that allowed Jones to throw more than 300 yards with four TDs last week. 

Jones, Minshew and Murray all impressed in their second start of the season:

  • Kyler Murray (Week 2 loss @ Baltimore) - 25 of 40 for 62.5 percent | 0 TDs 0 INTs | 349 pass yards
  • Daniel Jones (Week 4 win vs Redskins) - 23 of 31 for 74 percent | 1 TD 2 INTs | 225 yards
  • Gardner Minshew ( Week 3 win vs Titans)  - 20 of 30 for 66.6 percent | 2 TDs 0 INTs | 204 yds

Right or wrong, the bar has been set low for Haskins amid early season reports he was having trouble learning the offense and getting coaches trust. Haskins denied any of that, but on Sunday, it won't matter.

By the Jets game, Haskins will have been the Redskins QB1 for more than three weeks. He's talked about his growth in the offense and the coaches have too. This will be his second start and he's had two weeks to prepare for the New York defense.  

It's time for Haskins to put up some numbers, at least on par with what other rookie passers have done so far this year. The young passer seems ready for the moment, he just needs to seize it. 

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Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

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Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

The Justice Department charged Clinton Portis and nine other former NFL players with defrauding a health care program for retired players.

The news broke Thursday morning when the Eastern District of Kentucky alleged that the retired players submitted fraudulent claims for medical equipment costing between $40,000-50,000 to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. 

Former Redskins cornerback and first-round pick Carlos Rogers is also charged along with Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter and Etric Pruitt. Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell are also expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Portis' attorney Mark Dycio said of the charges (via The Washington Post): "Clinton Portis had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned medical reimbursement program was illegal. He is completely taken aback by this indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good name and those of his fellow NFL alumni."

According to the indictment, the claims filed between June 2017 and December 2018 totaled $3.9 million and the health care plan paid out more than $3.4 million.

Portis played seven years for the Redskins from 2004 to 2010, rushing for nearly 7,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. He remains a fan favorite and currently works for the Redskins Broadcast Network. 

A Redskins spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

Stay tuned as this is a developing story. 

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The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

No matter how you break it down — by quarter, by month, by time of day, by location, by whether the opponent has an animal mascot or a human mascot — the numbers show that the Redskins have a really ineffective offense. Currently, they're last in the NFL in points per game and yards per game.

They're bad all the time, honestly.

However, they're downright atrocious when it comes to their opening drives.

In Week 1 against the Eagles, the Redskins scored a touchdown on their opening possession. It was fun. The players had fun. The fans had fun. Everybody had fun.

But since then, they haven't notched a single TD on a first drive. In fact, they haven't converted a field goal, either.

Overall, in their 13 game-opening possessions on the year, Washington has that single end zone trip to go along with a missed kick, seven punts, two fumbles and two interceptions (one of which was taken back for a score).

What's the opposite of coming out hot? The 2019 Redskins' offense.

"I'm tired of the slow starts, our guys are, too," Bill Callahan said Wednesday. "That's the goal of the first drive of the game — try to jump ahead, get ahead, find a way to get on the board early. We haven't succeeded at that." 

The issue is registering with Dwayne Haskins, too. So, what can they possibly do to try to improve?

"Just trying to figure out a way we can move the ball early, not getting behind the chains, finding lanes and getting the ball out fast," the quarterback said. "It helps our defense when we come off fast and move the ball down the field and not put them in a tough scenario with having a short field."

Many have complained about the offense's run-first approach being too predictable under Callahan, and that's something that could be plaguing them at the beginning of their contests. Since he took over as interim coach, for example, the offense has run the ball on their first snap in six-of-eight matchups, including four-out-of-five with Haskins under center.

Of course, this is an area where Jay Gruden struggled as well, but his tendencies weren't as obvious. Plus, and yes, this is minutiae now, he did call two play-action shots in Weeks 2 and 4 that schemed up wide-open receivers that Case Keenum simply missed. He was also in charge for that lone touchdown in Philly.

The most obvious explanation for the problem, however, is one that can explain a lot of things this season: an overall lack of talent. As mentioned at the start of the story, it's not like the offense gets into a rhythm at any point, so their numbers will be underwhelming in any situation or sample.

That said, even with an inexperienced and undermanned group, there should be more production than one TD in 13 chances. Callahan told the media that "we put a lot of thought, focus and concentration" into the early-game plan. Clearly, it's not paying off.

In many ways, the Redskins have fallen behind the rest of the NFL over the past few months. The stats above show that, at least in one way, that's literally very true.  

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