The whole world watched the Redskins start Mark Sanchez at quarterback late last season in a game with playoff implications.
The whole world watched the Redskins get blown out in that game by a bad New York Giants team, and Sanchez throw a first-half pick six.
Starting Sanchez was obviously a mistake, and while it only occurred because of an incredibly improbable set of circumstances, the process in place that allowed Sanchez to start a December NFC East game in 2018 was seriously flawed.
For a few seasons now, the Redskins have kept just two quarterbacks on their final roster. When the durable Kirk Cousins was the starter, that was never a problem. Cousins never missed a start from 2015 to 2016. Last year, however, not having a third quarterback really hurt Washington.
Now that the majority of NFL Free Agency has ended and with the NFL Draft complete, Redskins fans have a good look at the reality of their quarterback situation for the 2019 season.
The Redskins should enter training camp with veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy alongside 15th overall pick Dwayne Haskins. There's something for everyone in that group. It's also assumed Alex Smith will spend the season on the injured reserve, with serious questions about him ever returning to the football field.
Keenum is two years removed from a breakout season in Minnesota, where he guided the Vikings to the NFC Championship game and threw 22 TDs against just seven INTs in 14 starts. Last year, Keenum backtracked in Denver. He wasn't good (18 TDs vs 15 INTs) but he wasn't bad either (62 percent completion percentage, nearly 3,900 yards passing).
Keenum is not the long-term answer in Washington, but he could manage the offense this year. McCoy is another player that some believe could run 'Skins coach Jay Gruden's offense.
McCoy has been in Washington since 2014, and while he's had six starts, he's never gotten a chance to be the starter. This offseason, for the second straight year, the Redskins had the chance to make McCoy the starter. And for the second straight year, the front office traded to acquire another QB. Last year it was Smith, this year, Keenum.
Further complicating matters, McCoy has undergone three surgeries since breaking his leg last December in Philadelphia. Sources believe McCoy will be fine for training camp in July, but that's a long way from now. Arguably McCoy's biggest advantage is his knowledge and familiarity of Gruden's offense, but if he's sidelined, he can't show that.
Like Keenum, McCoy is not the future at QB in Washington.
That would be Haskins.
A star last year at Ohio State and Heisman Trophy finalist, Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes and threw for 50 TDs. For some QBs, that's a college career. Haskins did that in just one season for the Buckeyes.
Gruden was clear Haskins will get a chance to compete for the starting job this season, and that means a three-man race in training camp. In some ways, it will be apparent how serious the contenders are by watching offensive drills in Richmond. Gruden will be forced to give each player significant time with the starting group to decide on QB1. If any player, most likely Keenum or Haskins, gets more work than the others, than that player is likely QB1.
It's premature to guess at QB1 in May, but it would also be naive to think Haskins won't win the job. The last time the Redskins drafted a first-round rookie QB, he won the job. Anybody inside the beltway remember that guy? Robert something?
Anyway, for the purpose of the 53-man roster, the real question will be if the Redskins keep all three quarterbacks. Speaking at the league meetings in March, Gruden made clear he only likes to roll with two QBs on his 53.
"If you carry three quarterbacks, which I've never been a fan of, it will have an impact on another position," the coach said.
Which brings things all the way back to Mark Sanchez.
The Redskins never thought they'd lose both Smith and McCoy to broken legs last year. The odds of that happening were astronomical. The Redskins never thought they'd actually have to start Mark Sanchez.
Still, it happened, and it buried their season.
In 2019, that lesson might not be lost when figuring out the 53-man roster. Haskins is a rookie, McCoy has dealt with injuries throughout his NFL career, and Keenum was never considered an NFL starter until his seventh year in the league.
The McCoy injury situation could cloud the issue if there are more delays with his leg. But should Washington leave Richmond with three healthy quarterbacks, all three should make the final roster.
Learn something from the Sanchez era. History can be quite worthwhile when something is learned from it.
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