Jay Gruden provides no clarity at QB after Keenum injures foot

Craig Hoffman
September 25, 2019 - 7:40 pm
Jay Gruden provides no clarity at QB after Keenum injury

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Redskins quarterback Case Keenum missed practice Wednesday with a foot injury. The practice was merely a walk-through, with Washington still less than 48 hours removed from Monday night's loss to Chicago. Multiple reports say Keenum is in a walking boot and should be ready for Sunday, but head coach Jay Gruden was far from committal to that on Wednesday. 

"We thought it was important to keep him off his feet for the day," Gruden said after the walk-through. The Redskins coach confirmed that Keenum had an MRI on Wednesday morning after being sore after the game and on Tuesday. "Everything is pretty stable. Just got to rest it for a day."

"Tomorrow we'll evaluate everything to see where Case is," Gruden said. "I assume Case is going to be able to play – he's a tough guy – and then we'll deal with the 'ifs' tomorrow and Friday."

That did not stop questions about the 'what ifs,' and that's where things got confusing for anyone listening to Gruden.

Essentially Gruden laid out that Keenum is still the number one and most likely option for Sunday, but if he cannot go it will depend on the health of Colt McCoy. Gruden said on Tuesday's conference call that he would have to see "a lot" from McCoy, who hasn't practiced in any capacity in six weeks. He was listed as a full participant in Wednesday's walk-through, where he split starting reps with Dwayne Haskins.

"We'll have to see him in individuals tomorrow and have him throw some balls and see where he's at," Gruden said of McCoy Wednesday. "We will see how he feels as far as pushing off is concerned. He's been doing a lot on the side on his own, so I don't think he'd be cleared to practice unless he felt pretty good about it, but still, we want to see him take the snap with people coming at him and making some throws."

Logic says that it's unlikely McCoy will be ready for Sunday on just two days of practice, especially after rushing back for training camp caused his broken leg to not finish healing properly in the first place. That leaves Haskins as the only backup plan should Keenum not be able to go.

"We're meeting with him every day," Gruden said. "Meeting with him, going over film. (Quarterback Coach) Tim (Rattay) is doing some individual time with him. That's the role of a backup. That's the backup's job. You're not going to get every rep in practice, but it's your job to be ready and learn everything."

Haskins has been the scout team quarterback this season, meaning the reps he's getting aren't in the Redskins system. However, those reps are against the Redskins number one defense. He's having to see coverage, read it and make throws against the best the Redskins have. He's also been able to see three weeks' worth of coverages on tape.

"On the chalkboard it's good," Gruden said of Haskins' growth since the preseason. "On the field, we'll have to see. I think he'll be fine, but we'll have to wait and see. That's something you can't really gauge until you get out there and you see the defensive front for the Giants, and the coverages changing, and the blitzes changing and how you react."

HOFFMAN: Why Redskins should not rush to play Haskins

Essentially, the quarterback order is Keenum, McCoy and then Haskins, but that is dependent on availability. The Redskins would absolutely have to bring in a fourth quarterback if both Keenum and McCoy are unavailable for Sunday. It should be noted that Josh Johnson, who finished last season as the Redskins starter, was released by the Lions last week and is available to be signed.

The coyness and convolution of Gruden explaining the situation is purposeful. Gruden has made a habit of giving away injury information too easily in the past, and there has been a concerted effort this season to not give opponents any kind of tip via his press availability.

He's been very effective with that through three weeks, which is frustrating for fans and media who want clarity, but does keep opponents guessing on who will and won't be available.

That said, there is nowhere to hide when it comes to practice. Keenum will practice or he won't. McCoy will be limited to just individual drills or he will be a full participant. Both will be given an injury designation on Friday (questionable, doubtful or out) if there is a chance they won't play.

For now, everyone in the Redskins' orbit waits to see about one quarterback's foot, another's ankle on the mend, and a coach who refuses to make straight sense of it all.

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