When Doug Williams talks quarterbacks, it's best to listen. After all, the Redskins senior personnel executive played the position at a Super Bowl winning level and has been entrusted with helping in the development of rookie first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins.
With about a month until the team reports for training camp in Richmond, and a few weeks removed from a less-than-stellar minicamp, the biggest question is what does the timeline look like for Haskins to take over the top quarterback spot in Washington. Head coach Jay Gruden made clear that Haskins will get to compete for the top job with Case Keenum and Colt McCoy.
Competition is good, but eventually, Haskins will be the starter. So when will that happen?
Williams got asked that question speaking at the first NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit, an event designed to help African American coaches advance on the offensive side of the ball.
"You’re talking about a guy that comes from a situation where nobody went up under center to see a guy walk out the huddle, the poise that he has, the patience that he’s exhibited," Williams said of Haskins.
"There’s room to have a lot of hope."
Williams' comments kind of cut two ways.
Haskins played just one season of college football at Ohio State, and the system was not close to the pro-style West Coast offense Gruden deploys. During minicamp Haskins looked bewildered at times by the Redskins scheme. So, in one way, it's going to be a steep learning curve, and that showed. To Williams' point, however, there were times where Haskins athletic gifts showed why he was the 15th pick and threw 50 touchdowns in one year in Columbus. That's the reason for hope.
But that's not really anything new. Haskins has made some wow plays, but has not shown the same command of the huddle or the line of scrimmage as Keenum. So who gets the starting job?
"I know there’s words out there that [Haskins] might end up starting, and that could happen, but at the end of the day that’s going to be on Jay, myself and probably Bruce [Allen] and the owner and what he does during preseason and to see where we are as a team to make that decision," Williams said.
Now things are getting interesting.
Will Gruden get to decide his own starting quarterback? Doesn't sound like it.
Williams said that will be a group decision, and the group includes ownership Dan Snyder. No position in football draws more interest from ownership than a rookie quarterback, and that's across the NFL. Fans would be naive to think otherwise. But there were also numerous reports that Allen and Snyder wanted the Redskins to draft Haskins, and Williams said that both men will be involved in deciding when the rookie QB starts.
Given the full context of Williams' statement, it's also obvious that Haskins' performance in Richmond and during preseason action will go a long way towards his immediate future. As will the performance of McCoy and Keenum. If neither veteran shows much, maybe Haskins gets the job by default, but then again if it's obvious the rookie isn't ready, the tape will show that too.
For 'Skins fans hoping that their quarterback situation will finally be solved by Haskins, Williams gave reason for optimism.
"I don’t want to say he’s going to start Game 1 today, but it’s been a pleasure and enjoyable scene to see what Dwayne Haskins has done over the last few weeks."
As soon as the Redskins took Haskins with the 15th pick, the whole world knew he would start for Washington at QB. One month until training camp, everybody wants to know when.
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