The Redskins coaching staff intend to use their practice time in Richmond to determine the team's starting quarterback for the 2019 season, but for Adrian Peterson, that determination has been made.
"Offensively, we really look good with Case Keenum back there. He’s a veteran," Peterson said last weekend at SportsCon in Dallas.
Peterson's comments came just 10 days before the Redskins open training camp with what's expected to be an open battle at quarterback between Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins, not to mention Colt McCoy if he's healthy. Of that group, Keenum has had the most success in the NFL, particularly his excellent 2017 campaign in Minnesota where he completed 67 percent of his passes for more than 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns against just seven interceptions in 14 starts.
It's important to point out that Keenum has only hit that level of play one year out of eight seasons in the NFL. The rest of his career has been marked with more interceptions and a lower completion percentage.
Still, watching Redskins minicamp in early June when Keenum and Haskins got the majority of the snaps, it was clear the offense ran smoother with the veteran instead of the rookie.
"He’s been in the league for a long time. He’s a gunslinger. He’s a guy that’s going to throw the ball and spread it around," Peterson said of Keenum.
That doesn't mean the future Hall of Fame running back didn't speak well of Haskins, or more accurately, Haskins' potential.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what he'll do in training camp," Peterson said of the rookie from Ohio State. "Once he gets more under his belt and becomes more comfortable, he'll be able to play faster as well."
In minicamp, the pace of the NFL - calling plays, adjusting at the line of scrimmage, and most of all, the speed of the pass rush - seemed to overwhelm Haskins at times. Those are all things he can learn, and his arm is already the best on the team. Once the mental game catches up, his physical traits are absolutely capable of winning big in the NFL.
What might make the most sense in listening to Peterson's comments is how he looked at the 2018 season. Last year, Washington lost a lot of talent to injuries, including their top two QBs in Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, and still finished in the playoff hunt.
"The most important thing for us is guys staying healthy. Last year we had 22 guys on IR, and was still one game away from making the playoffs if we would've won the last two," Peterson said. "That's the thing that impresses me the most. We really went through a grind in losing our first-, second- and third-string QB throughout the year, and still had a chance to make the playoffs. I feel like the mindset is there."
For a team with the mindset of grinding wins and getting into the playoffs, Keenum makes more sense than Haskins. At least it does for Peterson.
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