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Something is different in Week 9 for Dwayne Haskins and it could make a 'huge' difference

Something is different in Week 9 for Dwayne Haskins and it could make a 'huge' difference

When Dwayne Haskins first takes the field for the Redskins against the Bills this Sunday, he'll do so with the whole game ahead of him and a week of practice with the starters behind him. He won't be coming in with only 30 minutes to work with nor will he be coming in to a moment he didn't fully expect.

That's because Haskins will be Washington's starting quarterback in Week 9 for its matchup in Buffalo, which is an obvious and potentially vital difference from his first two NFL experiences. It'll be the Dwayne Show, not the Case Keenum Show featuring a surprise appearance from the rookie. 

Those around him feel that fact will benefit him greatly.

"I think it's huge for a quarterback to know," Bill Callahan told the media on Friday. "I think it's important that he knows he's the starter, that he goes up there with a mindset that he is a leader of this offense and he's got everybody on his shoulders. I know he's going to accept that responsibility and do as well as he can."

Keenum suffered a concussion during Washington's loss in Minnesota, meaning Haskins had been receiving the majority of reps with the first-stringers since Wednesday. That on-field exposure will no doubt matter, but Kevin O'Connell believes the studying from Friday to kickoff — studying that the 22-year-old understands will directly affect his performance this time around — might be just as helpful for Haskins. 

"Mentally, this is where his preparation needs to be at its highest to be able to lock in what he's going to do on Sunday," O'Connell said.

Terry McLaurin has known the passer for a while and starred with him at Ohio State. This contest with the Bills will be that duo's first true opportunity to pair up and take on a pro defense. And according to McLaurin, Haskins isn't taking the chance lightly.

"It's been very business-like, very serious," the wideout said of Haskins' attitude. "He's been really working on his command in the huddle. I feel like that's very important, because that permeates throughout the whole offense. That gives the O-line confidence, gives everybody confidence that you come in, you know the call, you know what you're looking at and you can go out and execute. I feel like that's very big for him."

That command is something that's been questioned when it comes to the 15th overall pick thus far. His interceptions — four in just 22 attempts — are certainly concerning, but in the preseason and the action he saw versus the Giants and the Vikings, there were some snaps where it looked like his teammates were totally unsure of what to do. 

Is that the type of flaw that can be fixed, or at least mitigated, thanks to a full week of intense focus from Haskins? The Burgundy and Gold are hoping so, while the Bills' stout defense will be happy to test him and see for themselves.

There's still plenty that must be answered when it comes to the signal caller, and while Sunday will act as solid place to check his progress, much is unknown about him now and much will still be unknown about him after.

One thing that's clear, though, is how hard Haskins is on himself, particularly when it comes to his mistakes. He wants to be excellent — like, really, really excellent — yet he wasn't in his debut or follow-up effort. 

Yes, the knowledge that he's the No. 1 option could very well lead him to better overall results and perhaps a win, but it's likely he'll still have his slip-ups at Buffalo. McLaurin wants him to be aware of that and not let it get in the way of his output.

"I just told him good, bad or indifferent, you've got to be able to shake it off and go to the next play," McLaurin explained. "I know he's the ultimate competitor, but whether he throws a touchdown, we have negative plays, it's the course of a game, so he has to be prepared for anything."

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Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator of the New York Giants, according to a report from ESPN

He will join the staff of first-year head coach Joe Judge.

Garrett was recently let go after a 10-year unimpressive stint with the Dallas Cowboys. In that span, he only led the team to three playoff appearances and with that two playoff wins. 

The team under-performed in 2019 after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Stumbling to an 8-8 record, It became clear that Garrett was the not the answer at head coach. Following the end of the regular season, the team decided to go in another direction replacing him with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

The Princeton alum led the Cowboys to an 85-67 overall record during his tenure in Dallas.

As a former backup QB for the Giants (2000-03) and Cowboys (1993-99), he has an extensive background in game-planning against the NFC East.

Judge was named head coach on Jan. 7 after spending eight seasons with the Patriots. He was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and also became the team's wide receiver coach in 2019.

Garrett and Judge will be tasked with developing a young roster with some intriguing options at their disposal, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft.

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DeAngelo Hall defends cornerback Josh Norman, but believes Redskins should move on

DeAngelo Hall defends cornerback Josh Norman, but believes Redskins should move on

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has drawn criticism because of his performance in D.C. during his 5-year, $75 million contract he signed in April 2016. Former Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall came to Norman’s defense during a radio appearance with Craig Hoffman on 106.7 The Fan on Friday.

“He does compete, he’s a competitor. And if I have a football player on my roster who’s a competitor, who wants to be out there, who fights hard and plays hard, I’m [going to] find a way to put him in position to make plays,” Hall said. “I think we could’ve done a much, much better job of putting Josh in position to make plays.”

In November, then-interim head coach Bill Callahan benched Norman, and the 32-year-old cornerback played just 10 defensive snaps over the last six games of the season. Should Washington choose to cut ties with Norman this offseason before June 1, the team would save $12.5 million of cap space.

Hall, who interviewed for the Redskins’ defensive backs’ coaching position last January, said Norman wasn’t given the chance to be the leader of the defense. Hall said some of that was self-inflicted because of Norman’s habits and preparation, but a portion of that was because of schematics. 

“I always told those coaches ‘If you want Josh to be a leader — because Josh wants to be a leader — you’ve got to put him in a position to make plays, the same way Carolina put him in a position to make plays,” Hall said. 

The peak of Norman’s career came in 2015 under the direction of Washington’s newly hired head coach Ron Rivera. In that all-pro season, Norman recorded 56 tackles, 18 passes defended, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two touchdowns. 

Hall believes Norman still possesses that all-pro ability; it just needs to be tapped with the right defensive scheme. Hall compared the situation to Richard Sherman, who has revitalized his career in San Francisco after battling injuries. 

“It’s not because [Sherman] is the best lockdown man-to-man corner. It’s because they play Sherm in a system that he’s able to succeed and shine, and they put players around him so that he can make plays,” he said. “If we [would’ve] done the same thing to Josh Norman, he could’ve been an all-pro player here, too, just like he was in Carolina.”

Despite Hall’s belief in Norman’s ability, and the presumption that Rivera and new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will run a similar system to what Norman played in with the Panthers, the former Redskins defensive back doesn’t think the $15 million price tag is worth it for a franchise that has other holes to fill.

“I, as a fan, would love to have Josh back on this team, in this defense that I feel will be similar to Carolina,” Hall said. “But to me, it doesn’t make sense to bring Josh back for $15 million. It’s just a big pill to swallow when you can do a lot with that money on a team that needs a lot of help.”

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