RICHMOND -- On the first day of practice for the Redskins 2019 training camp, all eyes will be on the quarterbacks. Or all eyes should be on the quarterbacks anyway.
It will be the first time the coaching staff sees Colt McCoy, Case Keenum, and rookie Dwayne Haskins on the practice field at the same time, and it will be the first of a many-day battle to see which passer gets the starting job.
"I feel confident in every one of our quarterbacks," head coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday. "They have a skill set that is beneficial to help this team win games. It comes down to which one will give us the best chance to win."
Here's the thing: the focus for the Redskins coaching staff needs to be on the quarterbacks. This team will get nowhere without decent quarterback play, and until either Keenum, McCoy or Haskins proves they can provide that consistently, the position remains a major question mark.
That said, on Wednesday during the camp's opening press conference, questions about missing left tackle Trent Williams dominated the conversation.
"Right now there are some things that he has to work out individually and personally, with his agent, professionally," Gruden said on the left tackle. "I don't take anything personal in this business, for sure. I love Trent, I love what he has done for this franchise and this team, but we expect him back soon."
Williams is the team's best player, and currently not in Richmond due to a contract holdout along with reported disputes with the team's medical staff. That situation doesn't seem to be resolving anytime soon. It's a major problem, Trent Williams is arguably the best tackle in the NFL, but the truth is he doesn't really need the reps in Richmond.
The quarterbacks do.
"We got to give these guys opportunities to make plays and see which one is the best," Gruden said. "It might come down to the wire."
While it might come down to the wire - Gruden even hinted that they might not know the starter until Week 1 in Philadelphia - the competition begins for real on Thursday.
If Haskins wants to start Week 1, it's time for him to shine.
If Keenum can recapture his 2017 form with the Vikings, that show needs to start in Richmond.
If McCoy can run the offense as well as he knows it, that begins Thursday.
This is the most open QB battle in Washington in some time, at least since 2015. That year, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins held a secret battle as ownership wanted Griffin to remain the starter. Cousins showed he was the better option, and Gruden and Scot McCloughan convinced the front office to roll with Cousins.
This year, there is no preconceived depth chart. Haskins is undoubtedly the future at QB, but there seems to be no immediate pressure for him to get on the field.
After minicamp, it would be hard not to say Keenum looks like the leader to start Week 1. Then again, McCoy didn't practice at minicamp. That's been McCoy's trouble for much of his career, ill-timed injuries. Remember Gruden seemed like he was going to stick with McCoy as his QB1 way back in 2014 until an injury got Cousins back in the lineup.
RG3. Cousins. Those names don't matter anymore.
Now it's Keenum, Haskins, McCoy. The QB battle is on. It's time to pay attention.
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