TINSMAN: Bye week is no time to relax for 1-8 Redskins

Brian Tinsman
November 04, 2019 - 11:14 am

“Relaxation” and “celebration” are words commonly associated with NFL bye weeks. That can’t happen for the 2019 Washington Redskins, who need a productive bye week even if the season is lost.

The Redskins are off to a 1-8 start to the season, which is tied for the second-worst in franchise history. To find a worse start, you have to go back to before the NFL’s modern era, to the 1961 Redskins’ 0-9 start.

This should be a focused week at Redskins Park, full of soul searching and personal growth. That was the takeaway message from interim head coach Bill Callahan on Sunday.

“We’re gonna go back this week, in the bye week, and try to remedy, try to fix some of these ailments that are hurting us right now,” he told the media after yet another frustrating loss in Buffalo. “Because it’s painful. Really painful.”

“Painful,” as in no touchdowns on offense for the third-straight week and fourth time this season.

“Painful,” as in two trips to the red zone that yielded only field goals, or getting possession at the Buffalo 35-yard line and failing to even reach the red zone.

“Painful,” as in zero takeaways on defense, despite two forced fumbles.

Callahan has done what he can to instill discipline in his squad, reducing penalties from nine per game for an average of 66.2 yards, to five per game for an average of 41 yards. 

He also oversaw the team’s only win of the season, albeit against the rudderless Miami Dolphins. Without the embarrassment of going winless, Callahan can focus on team culture and player development for the rest of the season.

The most important player to develop is first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who delivered a middling performance in his first start on Sunday.

On a positive note, Haskins finished with an 86.2 passer rating and completed more than two-thirds of his passes. Unfortunately, his average completion was for just 6.5 yards, which matches his career average.

He also has yet to throw a touchdown and has no chemistry with former college teammate Terry McLaurin, his best offensive weapon.

Perhaps this is why Callahan was hesitant to name Haskins his Week 11 starter, saying he had to review game tape and check on Case Keenum’s health.

Let’s hope he’s trying to inspire Haskins to seize the job.

We already know that Keenum won’t be here when the Redskins turn the corner as a franchise. Same for Colt McCoy and Alex Smith

But Haskins is supposed to be the future. If Haskins has not shown enough to start in a lost season, neither he nor Callahan is likely to have a future here.

Brian Tinsman has covered D.C. sports since 2011, both from the team marketing and skeptical fan perspectives. Tweet your criticisms @Brian_Tinsman.