PFT 2019 storyline No. 29: When will Dwayne Haskins start?

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The countdown of the top 30 storylines entering the 2019 season continues, and the pivot from No. 30 to No. 29 entails shifting from a team that addressed its quarterback position on a long-term basis with the first overall pick in the 2012 draft to a team that presumed it did the same with the second overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Seven years later, Robert Griffin III has become a distant memory in D.C. (despite the constant reminder of his lingering NFL presence in nearby Baltimore), and Washington has rolled the dice on another first-round quarterback.

This time, maybe they’ve gotten it right. Dwayne Haskins, only the third Ohio State quarterback ever to be drafted in round one, arguably would have been the darling of the 2019 class but for Kyler Murray‘s decision to choose football over baseball. Also, Haskins’ presence in the NFC East creates a compelling apples-to-apples comparison with Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who was drafted a full nine spots higher.

Haskins could indeed be the real deal, even if a certain goofball comment by a certain weekday-morning ESPN goofball that Haskins is more of a runner than a passer sparked a backlash that has other weekday-morning goofballs with other media outlets still assuming that Haskins isn’t mobile. Haskins is very mobile, as it relates to the things he can do to keep a play alive behind the line of scrimmage. He buys time with his feet to find open receivers, and if he can do the same thing when the guys against whom he’s buying time are NFL-caliber defenders, Haskins could be special.

For now, the question as it relates to the 2019 season will be when do we see that?

The challenge for Haskins, who has one year of college football starting experience, will be to master the offense quickly enough to overcome both Colt McCoy‘s knowledge of it and Case Keenum‘s grossly underrated skillset. Like Haskins, Keenum has the ability to extend plays by moving left or right or left and right behind the line. Unlike Haskins, Keenum has proven that he can do it at the NFL level, with a special season in 2017 that became forgotten as quickly as it arrived after a subpar 2018 in Denver.

The overriding question for Washington becomes whether the goal this year is to win as many games as possible or to accelerate Haskins’ learning curve for the benefit of future versions of the team. Given that coach Jay Gruden seems to be as aware as the rest of us that the ice under his feet is getting thinner and the seat under his butt is getting hotter, he’ll be inclined to use the guy that gives the team the best chance to contend.

Also, it will be easier to roll the dice from Week One with McCoy or Keenum and then, if needed, flip to Haskins. Once Haskins is the starter, it becomes tricky to bench him, lest it damage his ability to eventually reach his overall ceiling, wherever it may be.

It may be very high. The question is whether Washington currently has or will ever have enough around him to allow him to get there. As Haskins’ rookie season begins, the more important question is when/if we’ll see him play as a rookie.

He has said on multiple occasions that he’s fine with playing or not playing, but like any NFL player Haskins surely wants to play, sooner than later.

21 responses to “PFT 2019 storyline No. 29: When will Dwayne Haskins start?

  1. Its funny, if Alex Smith does actually come back, and Keenum is still on the roster next season, the Redskins will have arguably one of the deepest QB depth charts in the league.

  2. He was the best quarterback in the draft and will be a future star. Dwayne has elite arm, smarts, and a commitment to win. He posted incredible numbers in the big ten and scary thing was that it was his first season — he got better as the year wore on. The best course for his development would be to startt around week six given that Skins face a murderous first five games. But Gruden’s job is on the line so look for Dwayne to trot out on week one. A mistake but that is how it will play out.

  3. With the ‘Skins opening the season against Philly, Dallas & the Bears I think they’d have a tough time winning any of those regardless of the QB, so keep Haskins on the shelf until at least week 4. With the Giants and then NE might be smart to shelve him until week 6 where schedule eases-up a bit with the ‘Phins, 9ers & Vikings. Why rush Haskins onto the field, get beat-down for a month unless McCoy & Keenum flounder badly.

  4. Only in D.C. would Keenum be considered a viable option. He’s an almost 32 year-old backup. He’s had one good year as a starter on a virtual SuperBowl team in Minn. What he was in Denver last year is who he is. That’s why the skins got him at a yard sale price.

    Start Haskings game 1 and let him get through the growing pains. Sticking with mediocre backups like Keenum and McCoy doesn’t win you those games, either.

    Time to move on to the future! If you’ve seen Haskins for 2 minutes; you’d know he can handle the adversity of learning from mistakes early,

  5. Week 6 at the earliest. If Washington is 2-3 or better, then McCoy or Keenum will probably keep going. If they’re 1-4 or worse, then it’s time to see the future.

    The early schedule is tough and there’s no need to subject Haskins to that. The seasoning plus the easier schedule would make it much more likely that Haskins gets off on the right foot.

  6. Assuming something glaring in training camp doesn’t dictate otherwise – Give Case K the first 5 games. If he has a winning record he stays in until he doesn’t. Gotta give him something to play for. Haskins not having a lot of starts frightens me. Can’t afford to burn through him like we did w RG3. Need to take it slow. Especially if he has someone like Alex Smith in his hear in a mentor role.

  7. Sliced bread 2.0 Pat Mahomes didn’t start his first year.

    Just offering a different take on the topic. There is no end all be all way to eat a Reese’s.

  8. kneedragr says:
    June 25, 2019 at 7:46 am
    Its funny, if Alex Smith does actually come back, and Keenum is still on the roster next season, the Redskins will have arguably one of the deepest QB depth charts in the league.
    ==============================================

    In terms of # of humans on it, sure. In terms of enviable talent? Not so much.

  9. History would show Danny will force Jay to play him week 1 (kind of like forcing RG3 onto Shannahan), he will be destroyed and career over by year 2.

  10. RG3 comparisons are as ridiculous as the Cardale Jones comparisons. Haskins compares more to Big Ben and or Brady. Forget his race and just watch him. You’ll see that.

    RG3 was a track guy who happened to played QB. Haskins grew up as a QB and had NFL players such as Sean Springs mentoring him since he was barely 12.

    If he’s a franchise QB, play him. Keenum or McCoy won’t win those first 6 games by themselves. They won’t scare any of those defenses; so what’s the point of not getting Haskins acclimated to what he’s going against for the next decade?

  11. Seven years later, Robert Griffin III has become a distant memory in D.C. (despite the constant reminder of his lingering NFL presence in nearby Baltimore)

    ———-

    Uh… He holds a clipboard in Baltimore. He exhibits the same lack of self awareness, and hasn’t been very good when given the opportunity to play. It would be different if he ever saw the field and performed.

  12. For all the huge success Urban Meyer has had. He’s only had one decent QB in the NFL: Alex Smith. All others have been massively overrated and whose college success was masked by superior defenses, wide open receivers, dominant offensive lines, and great coaching. Meyer is really great at running renegade, win at all costs programs. No coach in history has sent more criminals to the NFL. Oh, the defenders and homers will point to his “prayer groups”. LOL.

  13. sbc2556 says:
    June 25, 2019 at 10:52 am
    RG3 comparisons are as ridiculous as the Cardale Jones comparisons. Haskins compares more to Big Ben and or Brady. Forget his race and just watch him. You’ll see that.
    ——————–

    So, he’s more comparable to two QB’s with a combined 8 Super Bowl rings… OK – somebody has officially drank ALL of the Haskins Kool-aid.

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