Washington coach Jay Gruden has gotten his first look at his newest quarterback and has seen enough of Dwayne Haskins not to rule him out of the quarterback competition.
Veteran Case Keenum is the favorite to start the season opener, with Colt McCoy having undergone a third surgery on the ankle he broke last season. (Alex Smith‘s future is uncertain after having an external fixator placed on the right leg he broke in November.)
Gruden declared it an open competition.
“Yeah, for sure. We have to have that,” Gruden said in a news conference Saturday, two days into the team’s rookie minicamp. “I mean Case coming off of the most experience is great. Colt has the most experience with this terminology in this system, and Dwayne was the 15th pick in the draft. We’ll see what happens.”
Haskins didn’t start right away at Ohio State. He had only 171 plays of experience on offense before last season when he set 28 Ohio State records and seven Big Ten records as he passed for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns.
“I’ll be ready for whatever the coaches want for me, whether that’s starting right away or next year or during the season,” Haskins said. “I’m just going to prepare like I’m the starter, and that’s with me in the weight room, me in the meeting rooms, me with the younger guys, me with the older guys. Every opportunity for me is an opportunity for me to showcase that I’m the guy.”
Keenum finds himself the bridge quarterback for however long that is. Washington didn’t make Haskins the 15th overall choice to sit the bench for long.
At the same time, Haskins has a lot to learn. Gruden cited the basics, including breaking the huddle, saying Haskins is at “the very bare minimum” right now.
“We’re going to go at it,” Gruden said. “Throw the ball out there let these guys compete really. I think he obviously displayed enough of a skillset to warrant the 15th pick in the draft and to give him an opportunity to see how far he can take this thing without a doubt. I’ve been impressed with the other quarterbacks that we have here. Case has done an excellent job from the little bit we’ve seen of him, and Colt’s obviously rehabbing. Josh [Woodrum] has done a good job as well. It’s a good group and competition will be there.””