Doug Williams: Snyder will help decide Skins starting QB

Ben Krimmel
June 26, 2019 - 1:23 pm

New details have emerged about who exactly will be making the most important decision facing the Washington Redskins franchise this season: When will the No. 15 overall pick start at quarterback?

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Senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said the decision whether to start rookie QB Dwayne Haskins will involve owner Daniel Snyder as well as head coach Jay Gruden.

"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 told NFL Network's Steve Wyche.

"I don't wanna say he's gonna start Game 1 today, but it's been a pleasant enjoyable scene to see what Dwayne Haskins has done over the last few weeks."

While many may assume the Redskins owner has input on who starts, this is a rare time when a team executive explicitly names the owner as being a part of the decision making process. 

"You can say these quotes don't surprise you, but they still do kinda surprise me that the owner would be involved in the decision of whether to start Dwayne Haskins," J.P Flaim said Wednesday on The Sports Junkies. "It should be on the coach."

"And I would think that at some point after 20 years of flailing around with a mediocre franchise, one of the worst franchise winning (percentage) in the NFL over 20 years, that maybe you would defer to the coach," Flaim said.

The Junks' Jason Bishop isn't surprised this is how the Redskins plan to handle Haskins as this is how they've always done business under Snyder.

"Yeah, but when you're a bad boss, like (Snyder) has been for 20 years, it doesn't surprise me," Bishop said. 

"I thought there was a little separation here, it just sounds like the old days," Flaim countered. 

Gruden said earlier in June that Haskins has "put enough out there on tape to say he deserves a shot (to start), without a doubt." However, that may not mean Gruden will go along with the decision.

"It was his decision to draft him, so why wouldn't he have the power to say, 'Jay you need to start him,'" Bishop said. "Jay could just say, 'I'm not starting him. What are you gonna do fire me? Fire me.' That's what I would do."

Eric Bickel sees Gruden's ability to work with Allen and Snyder as what keeps him in his position. "He works with them," Bickel said, but he believes Gruden still has enough power be able to "stand on a table and say, 'Yeah, I'm starting who I want, you can fire me if I want.'" 

"I would rather it be the decision of the coach and maybe a strong GM who is set off aside from the owner, that keeps the owner at bay somehow," John Auville said. "Even though the owner is stroking checks, you trust your general manager to work in concert with your head coach and pick the right guy to start."

Williams' comments come after Redskins legend Joe Theismann told 106.7 The Fan on June 22 starting Haskins in Week 1 against a tough schedule would be a "formula for disaster."

"To put him out there early against those teams, it's just a formula for disaster for the team, for Jay, for the fans, everybody else," Theismann said. "I think the young man is our future and let's protect the future instead of throwing it out there right now and saying, 'OK, go get 'em.'"

Bickel sees Theismann's comments as telling. "I think Joe saw something in camp and he saw, hey this kid's not ready," he said. "(Theismann) has probably talked to Jay a little bit, they both are sort of in agreement, this kid's not ready, and he's just kinda planting that seed for us."

Earlier this offseason Haskins said starting for the Skins on Sept. 8 in Philadelphia wasn't the top priority for him

"I don't really worry about starting Week 1," Haskins said. "I just want to be ready to play Week 1, whether that's this year or next year or whenever my time comes for me to play."

Williams did say he has like what he's seen this offseason from the Skins' first-round pick.

"(To) see the young guy do what he's done and how he's taken command of the opportunity he's had. 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.

"There’s room to have a lot of hope."

However, room for hope in June isn't a sign somebody will start come the fall.

"I don't think Haskins is gonna look great in the preseason," Bishop said. "So I think (Snyder and Allen) are gonna realize that he's not ready based on what they see and then Case Keenum will look better and they'll say alright let's give Case the start for a few weeks unless he throws up on himself."

However, even that may be temporary.

"If Keenum struggles there will be no hesitation to go to Haskins, even if he is not 100 percent ready, which he probably won't be," Auville said. 

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