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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - How freaked out should Redskins fans be after Arizona loss?

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USA Today Sports

New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - How freaked out should Redskins fans be after Arizona loss?

JP Finlay and Rich Tandler address the most important question for Redskins fans after two straight losses - is it time to freak out?

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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How Dwayne Haskins beat Joe Burrow for the starting QB job at Ohio State

How Dwayne Haskins beat Joe Burrow for the starting QB job at Ohio State

Joe Burrow is arguably coming off the greatest single-season ever by a college football quarterback.

The LSU signal-caller finished the 2019 season a Heisman Trophy winner and a National Champion with a perfect 15-0 record. The 23-year-old broke numerous SEC and college football records with his 5,671 passing yards, 60 passing touchdowns, and just six interceptions.

Burrow, the presumed No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, only ended up at LSU because he did not win the starting QB job at Ohio State. After three years in the program and a recent Buckeye graduate at the time, Burrow announced his intentions to transfer from Ohio State shortly after spring ball ended in 2018.

During that spring, the Buckeyes had an open quarterback competition, and current Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins beat out Burrow for the job. So, how did that happen?

Ohio State beat reporter Bill Rabinowitz joined the latest Redskins Talk podcast to explain how.

Rabinowitz explained that the competition between Haskins and Burrow started long before the spring of 2018. During the 2017 season, Burrow was the backup over Haskins at first, but broke his hand earlier in the season. Haskins became the backup in his place. Haskins, a redshirt freshman at the time, was forced into action against Michigan after longtime starter J.T. Barrett injured his knee in the third quarter.

Haskins rallied the Buckeyes to a victory over their rival Wolverines on the road, which gave him a significant leg up over Burrow in the battle entering spring ball.

"It was an open competition, but we all basically know that Burrow was going to have to knock out the champ," Rabinowitz said. "If you go into Ann Arbor and rally the Buckeyes to win there, that's a huge thing on your résumé."

Rabinowitz explained that the two quarterbacks were practically even during spring ball; neither one stood out above the other. But with Burrow set to graduate in three years, there was no reason for him to stay if he wasn't the starter. He earned the right to explore his options and chose to head south to LSU.

"Urban Meyer and Ryan Day, the offensive coordinator at the time, had seen what Haskins did in a game, and watched those two in practice," Rabinowitz said. "There wasn't a lot of separation. They wanted both to stay, but Burrow earned the right to move on. There were no hard feelings. It was a completely understandable move by all sides. This was a win-win."

The following fall, Haskins rewarded both Meyer and Day for naming him the starter, leading Ohio State to a 13-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. Haskins finished third in Heisman Trophy voting and set multiple Ohio State single-season passing records in the process. Additionally, he shattered Drew Brees' Big Ten single-season passing touchdowns record (Brees had 39, Haskins finished with 50).

In Burrow's first year with LSU in 2018, he finished with just under 2,900 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and five interceptions. That's a solid season, but nothing spectacular, especially when comparing it to Haskins' 2018 campaign.

"Last year, in 2018, when you asked which quarterback would you rather have, there were no Ohio State fans who said 'I wish Burrow were here instead of Haskins,'" Rabinowitz said. 

"I don't think anyone, not even Joe Burrow, could have envisioned what he did at LSU," he continued. "It's only because Burrow went off this year, had a year for the ages [that we're having this discussion]."

The one thing that surprised Ohio State with Haskins was not his production in 2018, but his decision to leave for the NFL after just one season as the starter. When Burrow transferred in 2018, he had already graduated. Haskins was just a redshirt sophomore at the time and had two years of eligibility remaining following the 2018 season.

But the combination of Haskins' incredible season with a weak quarterback class had the Ohio State passer shoot up draft boards towards the end of the 2018 season.

"[Ohio State] expected him to have two years, maybe even three," Rabinowitz said. "It wasn't until midseason, maybe even the later part of the season, where they were like, 'Oh my god, this guy might leave.'"

Haskins left, and the Redskins selected him No. 15 overall. Justin Fields, the No. 1 quarterback recruit from the 2018 class, transferred from Georgia to Ohio State days later, and led the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff in 2019. So, this situation also seemed to be a win-win for both sides.

"So I think the fans, the contrarians who wanted Burrow [over Haskins], they'd be looking for a quarterback next year," Rabinowitz said. "[Ohio State] doesn't have to. Ohio State has Justin Fields, who's going to be a Heisman frontrunner next year."

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Case Keenum does not envision a return to the Redskins in 2020

Case Keenum does not envision a return to the Redskins in 2020

Statistically, veteran quarterback Case Keenum was the most productive signal-caller for the Redskins a season ago.

But after Keenum was forced to miss the Redskins Week 9 contest against the Bills due to injury, rookie Dwayne Haskins was inserted into the starting lineup. While the first-round pick had his ups and downs as a rookie, Haskins finished the 2019 season on a high note, flashing his potential as to why the Redskins selected him No. 15 overall the previous April.

Keenum, who described himself as a realist, still believes he's capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. Understanding a scenario of that happening with the Redskins is unlikely next season, Keenum is not too optimistic about a return to Washington.

"I have no idea. I would say probably not," Keenum said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Orlando about returning to Washington. "I can't tell the future though."

Keenum understands the direction the young Redskins roster is headed. Washington is hoping to build off a promising young core that includes Haskins, as well as young offensive weapons Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims and Derrius Guice.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old quarterback was impressed with the progress that Haskins made towards the end of the 2019 season.

"I think Dwayne did an incredible job towards the end of the season, adapting and getting a lot better," Keenum said. "I think it's his team moving forward."

However, Keenum believes he can still play football and play the quarterback position at a high level.

So if he has the opportunity to be a starter, or at least compete for the starting job, somewhere else, the veteran will certainly take that chance.

"I feel like I played really good football. I know the wins and losses didn't show it." Keenum said on his performance last season. "I'd love another shot to play in this league. So if there's another chance, another opportunity out there, I'm not sure where that might be, I don't take these things lightly. I'm going to go compete and make myself better this offseason and hopefully and be ready for whatever team might come calling."

During Ron Rivera's introductory press conference on Jan. 2, the new Redskins head coach was said he believed Haskins could be a "franchise-style quarterback." But he was also not overly committed to handing the starting job to Haskins right away. In fact, Rivera mentioned that some veterans would get the chance to compete for the job, with Keenum potentially being one of them. 

"I also think there's a couple of good veteran quarterbacks that are obviously going to get some opportunities to play as well," Rivera said. "We won't know until we get ready to open up in September. Until then, everything's just a process. We can't get ahead of it."

While Keenum would appreciate the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback position in Washington, he didn't have his hopes too high when asked about that possibly being an option.

"If that's a possibility, and that's how it's going to be, I'm all for competition. I love it," Keenum said. "But I understand. I'm also a realist. I know what's going on. It's a tough situation, but I'm excited wherever I get an opportunity to compete."

Keenum referred to his year in Minnesota as an example of how nothing is ever guaranteed in the NFL. Things change fast.

"I came in as a third-, second-string at best [in Minnesota] and ended up starting 14, 15, 16, 17 games and going to the NFC Championship," he said. "Nobody could have predicted that when Sam Bradford went down Week 1."

During his eight-year NFL career, Keenum has spent time with seven different organizations. Change is nothing new for the veteran.

"It's funny, this league, there's so much talent, so many great coaches that get let go every year," Keenum said. "It's about having the right combination, the right people in the right place at the right time. I hope Ron does a great job bringing it all together [in Washington]."

In Rivera's introductory press conference, he was asked why his regime in Washington will be different than the unsuccessful ones before him. The head coach responded with: "I believe in me, and I'll bet on me."

Whether Keenum is with the Redskins or not in 2020, it sounds like the quarterback has already adopted that mindset from Rivera.

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