Rouhier: I don't think Gruden wants to play Haskins in 2019

Ben Krimmel
June 13, 2019 - 1:21 pm

Odds are the Washington Redskins will turn the offense over to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins at some point this year. That is the thinking at this juncture of the offseason with the only question being when will it happen.

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Danny Rouhier believes if Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had it his way the No. 15 overall pick wouldn't see any action during the 2019 season.

"To me, I bet you in his heart of hearts, that if it was up to Jay Gruden, Dwayne Haskins would be standing next to him all year with that little earpiece in and going, 'Coach, why did you run that? and Jay would tell him," Rouhier said Thursday. "I don't think he wants the kid to play at all."

Rouhier explains his stance this way: Gruden wants his offense to be run exactly his way and doesn't want a rookie QB fouling up the process.

"This is what I believe about offensive minds: Everybody who gets to this point, you have to have arrogance, you have to have the belief that your thing is the best way to do it, you've been honed, you've been schooled in all the different ways an offense can run and when you have your system you believe that your system is the best one, otherwise you'd use someone else's," he said. "The extension of that is coaches want, if they could, a joystick in their hand and they'd make the quarterback do exactly what they want him to do every play.

"And I think the best coaches are the ones that say, 'You know what? Sometimes players gotta play. Sometimes Aaron Rodgers has to be allowed to improvise. Sometimes Russell Wilson has to be allowed to make magic.'"

But to Rouhier, Gruden is not one of those coaches who allows for the quarterback to have greater autonomy with the offense. There is not a lot of improvisation or freelancing in his offense. 

"I think Jay Gruden is one of those guys that says, 'You have a seven-step drop if you look this way you pat the football once the ball comes out, perfect.' He thinks his offense is the best. He does not want to deal with a kid," Rouhier said. "Because that's a lot of hand-holding. That's a lot of mistakes. That's a lot of 'I gotta teach you how to do it my way I don't have time for that because I'm fighting for my job here.'" 

Rouhier believes while Gruden may have been on-board with drafting Haskins, he would rather play a veteran quarterback in Case Keenum or Colt McCoy or Alex Smith (if the latter two were healthy). "I think (Gruden is) one of those guys, I think Kyle Shanahan is one of those guys, a lot of the offensive minds in this league are, 'I want the quarterback to be an extension of me. You do things exactly like I want them... we'll have a great offense.'" 

Grant Paulsen had a different take: Gruden's desire to play a veteran QB over a rookie comes from his need to win games in the short term over the long-term development of one rookie quarterback. 

"Jay Gruden needs and wants to win football games. All he cares about is, 'Who's gonna make me look best? Who's gonna win me the most games? Who's gonna run my offense most effectively?'" Paulsen said on 106.7 the Fan. "And unlike me or you, who care as much about the future as Sunday against Philadelphia... He's gotta find a way to coach-up his team to a win on Sunday. So what I think he wants is someone to step forward and separate themselves from the pack so it's not a competition like in 2014 where he was undulating between Griffin and McCoy and Cousins back to Griffin back to McCoy back to Cousins back to McCoy, he got hurt back to Griffin. He doesn't want that.

"I think what he is really pulling for is just somebody to be great. I don't think he cares at all if it's Dwayne Haskins or Case Keenum or Colt McCoy. In fact, I'll bet you he's rooting for Dwayne Haskins to be the guy because he knows the best version of Haskins is better than the best version of Keenum," Paulsen said.

Rouhier sees Gruden's thinking dominated by the short term. "Jay sees Dwayne Haskins and sees the talent," he said. "He understands there's talent there, there's talent worth developing, but I think he sees him as a project."

"I bet you Jay is thinking, 'This is a long term project. And I'm not here for it. I don't have time for it. I'm not doing a project. I'm doing survive. Give me a veteran that can run my stuff.'"

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