SNIDER: Gruden’s buying time on quarterback decision

Rick Snider
September 26, 2019 - 3:51 pm
Jay Gruden’s buying time on quarterback decision

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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Redskins coach Jay Gruden is doing an old soft shoe worthy of Fred Astaire. A side-stepping to distract everyone while hoping his injured quarterback doesn't force yet another change.

But be assured, change is coming and it's coming hard.

That Case Keenum's injured ankle kept him from Wednesday's walkthrough is irrelevant. He should be ready for the New York Giants on Sunday.

Gruden doesn't want to change passers, knowing it's a white flag on an 0-3 season that's worsening by the week. Sure, there's still time for brave thoughts and emboldened views, but everyone knows in their gut this is not a playoff season. And if the Redskins lose to the Giants, that 0-4 becomes 0-5 the following week against the New England Patriots.

This is the last stand for Gruden because 0-5 will likely bring a quarterback change by the front office, regardless of whether Gruden likes it. For now, he can avoid committing to a depth chart over whether Colt McCoy or Dwayne Haskins is the next man up if Keenum can't play.

Gruden has every right to delay his decision. Aside keeping the Giants guessing, Keenum should push through. Keenum is a hardened veteran who knows his starting chances are diminishing by the year. He has started for four teams in four years, and the bottom line is the last three teams didn't retain him. Keenum's opening three games have been mediocre overall after five turnovers against Chicago on Monday. This is his personal last stand and he will do everything to limp out onto that field against a weak opponent to prolong his starting role.

But, someone else will probably start against Miami on Oct. 13, unless the Redskins unexpectedly win their next two games. Gruden is trying to keep his options open. The coach has always liked McCoy, who unfortunately can't stay healthy when given a chance. Even now, his leg hasn't fully healed after breaking it last season. But, Gruden knows starting Haskins means there's no going to McCoy. So, better to play McCoy first . . . if healthy.

Haskins is the Redskins' future. He's just not Gruden's future, unless the team makes the playoffs to grant the coach another year. So, Gruden is not inclined to start the first-rounder, unless it comes down to injuries forcing a change.

Meanwhile, it's verbal dancing time at Redskins Park.

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Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks