BUFFALO -- The Redskins need to name Dwayne Haskins their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season and no other decision makes much sense.
Haskins, the 15th overall pick in the NFL Draft, got his first start Sunday in Buffalo and the results were mediocre. And for his first start, that's fine.
He didn’t throw any touchdowns but didn’t have any turnovers either. He only completed 15 passes, but he only got 22 attempts. Don't confuse Haskins' performance in Buffalo for something noteworthy, don't celebrate it, but consider it a building block for the future.
The game plan was vanilla and in many ways, it seemed like the Redskins were more focused on Haskins not losing to the Bills than letting the rookie go win the game for the Redskins.
And honestly, coming into the game at 1-7, that’s almost reasonable. It was Haskins’ first start, and if the plan was to keep things simple as part of a ramping up process to let him loose after the Week 10 bye week, that could make sense.
Only that isn’t the plan, or certainly, that plan hasn’t been conveyed publicly.
After the Redskins 24-9 loss in Buffalo, Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said he wasn’t ready to commit to Haskins long term.
“Nothing has been decided or determined,” Callahan said of Haskins’ future.
“I’m just going to give it a little time and go into the bye-week, let everything settle, look at the health of Case [Keenum] and see where we’re at as a team.”
Haskins is the undisputed future of this team, and he even made it clear how much he appreciated the full week of practice in the starter’s role and how he felt his game improved as the contest went on.
“As the game went on I got more and more confident,” Haskins said.
Outside of Adrian Peterson, the Redskins offense didn’t play well at all, but Haskins played better in the second half. In the first 30 minutes, he threw five completions for 57 yards. By the end of the game, Haskins had 15 completions for 144 yards.
The Redskins did not convert a single third down in the first half. On one drive in the fourth quarter, Haskins completed two third-down passes for first downs.
Again, these were baby steps, but they were steps. And it’s not like Keenum was playing at an elite level before a concussion forced him to miss the Bills game. For the season, Keenum has averaged about 190 pass yards-per-game with nine touchdowns and eight turnovers.
Keenum might be marginally better right now than Haskins, but the margin is razor-thin. And that razor-thin margin will have zero impact on the Redskins in 2020 or beyond.
Haskins is the team’s first-round pick and the future of the franchise. Keenum is a free agent in seven games.
Why commit to Keenum? Or better yet, why not commit to Haskins?
“In my short career and the amount of reps I’ve had throughout my career, I just want to play natural and play instinctive and I felt that going into this game the more and more snaps that I got, and hopefully I keep going in the bye week and the rest of the season,” Haskins said.
The kid must play. He knows it. Everybody knows it. Redskins fans should hope Bill Callahan knows it too.
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