Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan needs to hold two distinct conversations with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The first one will be simple, the second much more complex.
To begin, Callahan needs to address Haskins missing the final play of the Redskins win over Detroit on Sunday. The head coach could not find Haskins for the final snap because the rookie already thought the game was over, and may or may not have been taking a picture with fans (see above video). That conversation should go something like this:
Callahan: Dwayne, missing the final snap was dumb. You must be more aware of game situations. Don't do that again, ever.
Haskins: I understand coach. Sorry. It was a mistake and won't happen again.
That's it. That's all the conversation needs to be. Haskins made a bonehead mistake, but it's not the end of the world. It can't happen again, and odds are, it never will.
There is a much bigger issue that needs to be solved: Haskins' inaccuracy.
The quarterback missed a number of open receivers on Sunday, twice for touchdowns to wideout Terry McLaurin, and the misses are starting to become a consistent problem. In Minnesota, Haskins sailed a ball to McLaurin, the result was an interception and it killed the Redskins chances at a comeback win. In Buffalo, Haskins missed Trey Quinn, again sailing the ball, and costing Washington one of the few big play opportunities that existed in that game.
Last week, in a home loss to the Jets, Haskins sprayed the ball a bit, but it wasn't nearly as bad as things were against Detroit. The rookie was long, and short, high, and wide. At times it was quite ugly, and what makes the accuracy issues even more puzzling is that Haskins looks sharp on deep throws. He struggles in the intermediate area, and he's downright bad on out patterns when he's throwing to the sidelines.
The issue isn't arm strength. He's got a cannon.
The issue isn't knowing the playbook or practice reps either. Haskins has been throwing basic out patterns for at least a decade, and probably much longer.
The challenge for Callahan, and Haskins, and offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, is figuring out what the issue is.
After the Redskins 19-16 win over the Lions, Haskins said he hurt his wrist during the game and that impacted his accuracy. Asked for details about how bad the injury was or when he hurt it, Haskins said simply, "I'm good." The information wasn't useful, but if the wrist was hurt, maybe that explains some of the struggles.
Bill Callahan did his best to explain some of Haskins's struggles, who was had just seven completions deep into the fourth quarter and finished just 13 of 29.
"I believe it's a part of the growing experience of a young quarterback – whether he pulls the trigger too quick, too fast or puts too much on it or trusts too much and doesn't calculate well enough at times," the coach said Sunday.
The coach also pointed out that many of Haskins' misses were long, so that defenders couldn't get to the football. Haskins said that was by design.
"My philosophy going into that game was to never underthrow Terry because of how good the corner was," Haskins said. "Placed the ball pretty good so if I was going to miss, I was going to miss deep and out wide so he wouldn’t have the opportunity to put his hands on the ball. Talked about it. I missed him."
Like in golf, sometimes in football, knowing where to miss is almost as important as hitting the perfect shot. And it's a sign of Haskins' intellectual process that he's even considering all of the different possibilities that can unfold on deep throws.
There was also the final drive, the series of plays that resulted in the go-ahead field goal. The drive that won the game. On that drive, Haskins completed his final two passes, none bigger than the last throw he made all day. On 3rd-and-5 with just 26 seconds remaining in the game, Haskins found McLaurin for a 21-yard gain. That gave the Redskins strong field position for the field goal, and it was the most important pass thrown all day.
When it mattered most, Haskins made plays, and that matters a lot.
It doesn't change the misses. It doesn't change that he completed fewer than 45 percent of his passes for the game. It doesn't change the bad interception on the out route.
The win, however, make the misses much more tolerable. Haskins wasn't great Sunday. He wasn't even good. He was good when it mattered most though.
Haskins missing the final play was a stupid error. It's easily correctable and will be handled, if it hasn't already.
Haskins missing open receivers, repeatedly, is a problem. It needs to be fixed, but it might not be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
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- Uhhhh: Callahan explains Haskins selfie