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Will the Redskins' inability to permanently start Dwayne Haskins be detrimental to his development?

Will the Redskins' inability to permanently start Dwayne Haskins be detrimental to his development?

When the Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins 15th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, the organization committed to making the Ohio State product its franchise quarterback of the future.

Even though he was a first-round pick, it was uncertain when the Redskins would first play Haskins. During training camp, NBC Sports Washington ran as series called 'The Dwayne Decision,' polling a bunch of experts as to what the team should do with Haskins. While opinions differed, there was one main consensus: once you play Haskins, the ripcord is pulled. There's no turning back.

That's exactly what has not happened.

Haskins has played in three separate games, twice in relief and once as a starter. He was not impressive in either relief appearance. In his first start Week 9 in Buffalo, he didn't impress, but he didn't look bad, either. 

With a playoff appearance far out of reach, it only makes sense for the Redskins to start Haskins the rest of the season, but head coach Bill Callahan has not confirmed such and plans to make a decision on Monday, Nov. 11.

On the latest Redskins Talk podcast, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, Mitch Tischler and Pete Hailey are joined by ESPN's John Keim to discuss whether the way Washington has used Haskins thus far in 2019 will be detrimental to his future.

The debate starts around the 8:00 minute mark. Listen to the podcast below.

"[Haskins] is a young, impressionable-minded kid, and the Redskins are yo-yoing with him a little right now," Tischler said. "Isn't that also detrimental to his growth?"

"I don't know if it's detrimental," Finlay responded. "To me, I think the best course of action would have been, 'Hey, we liked the way he played, he's our guy.' I feel like there is a space between what the best way was to go and detrimental, and I think it's somewhere in there. I don't think it's the best route, certainly."

Keim weighed in on the issue as well.

"I also wonder what [Callahan has] told [the team] already, too," Keim said. "That's kind of happened a lot of times here, where they'll announce to us on Friday who's starting when in reality we knew that a couple of days earlier."

Keim went on to say that there may not be much of an advantage telling the team who the starter will be now, but that Callahan was very praise-worthy of Haskins following his first career start, and it would only make sense to build off it.

"This is why it's going to make sense [to start Haskins]," Keim said. "You give him another week, have the start, come back in and see how you prepare. Go back out, play the next game, see what you learned. Did you grow?"

What the Redskins will do regarding their quarterback situation has yet to be determined, but all three members of Redskins Talk podcast believe there is only one logical solution: play Haskins. 

Tune into the Redskins Talk podcast to hear the full debate.

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Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

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Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

The Justice Department charged Clinton Portis and nine other former NFL players with defrauding a health care program for retired players.

The news broke Thursday morning when the Eastern District of Kentucky alleged that the retired players submitted fraudulent claims for medical equipment costing between $40,000-50,000 to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. 

Former Redskins cornerback and first-round pick Carlos Rogers is also charged along with Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter and Etric Pruitt. Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell are also expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Portis' attorney Mark Dycio said of the charges (via The Washington Post): "Clinton Portis had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned medical reimbursement program was illegal. He is completely taken aback by this indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good name and those of his fellow NFL alumni."

According to the indictment, the claims filed between June 2017 and December 2018 totaled $3.9 million and the health care plan paid out more than $3.4 million.

Portis played seven years for the Redskins from 2004 to 2010, rushing for nearly 7,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. He remains a fan favorite and currently works for the Redskins Broadcast Network. 

A Redskins spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

Stay tuned as this is a developing story. 

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The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

No matter how you break it down — by quarter, by month, by time of day, by location, by whether the opponent has an animal mascot or a human mascot — the numbers show that the Redskins have a really ineffective offense. Currently, they're last in the NFL in points per game and yards per game.

They're bad all the time, honestly.

However, they're downright atrocious when it comes to their opening drives.

In Week 1 against the Eagles, the Redskins scored a touchdown on their opening possession. It was fun. The players had fun. The fans had fun. Everybody had fun.

But since then, they haven't notched a single TD on a first drive. In fact, they haven't converted a field goal, either.

Overall, in their 13 game-opening possessions on the year, Washington has that single end zone trip to go along with a missed kick, seven punts, two fumbles and two interceptions (one of which was taken back for a score).

What's the opposite of coming out hot? The 2019 Redskins' offense.

"I'm tired of the slow starts, our guys are, too," Bill Callahan said Wednesday. "That's the goal of the first drive of the game — try to jump ahead, get ahead, find a way to get on the board early. We haven't succeeded at that." 

The issue is registering with Dwayne Haskins, too. So, what can they possibly do to try to improve?

"Just trying to figure out a way we can move the ball early, not getting behind the chains, finding lanes and getting the ball out fast," the quarterback said. "It helps our defense when we come off fast and move the ball down the field and not put them in a tough scenario with having a short field."

Many have complained about the offense's run-first approach being too predictable under Callahan, and that's something that could be plaguing them at the beginning of their contests. Since he took over as interim coach, for example, the offense has run the ball on their first snap in six-of-eight matchups, including four-out-of-five with Haskins under center.

Of course, this is an area where Jay Gruden struggled as well, but his tendencies weren't as obvious. Plus, and yes, this is minutiae now, he did call two play-action shots in Weeks 2 and 4 that schemed up wide-open receivers that Case Keenum simply missed. He was also in charge for that lone touchdown in Philly.

The most obvious explanation for the problem, however, is one that can explain a lot of things this season: an overall lack of talent. As mentioned at the start of the story, it's not like the offense gets into a rhythm at any point, so their numbers will be underwhelming in any situation or sample.

That said, even with an inexperienced and undermanned group, there should be more production than one TD in 13 chances. Callahan told the media that "we put a lot of thought, focus and concentration" into the early-game plan. Clearly, it's not paying off.

In many ways, the Redskins have fallen behind the rest of the NFL over the past few months. The stats above show that, at least in one way, that's literally very true.  

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