Haskins needs all the snaps he can get in preseason

Brian Tinsman
August 09, 2019 - 9:28 am
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It is said that you either win or learn in life, and the Washington Redskins have plenty to learn after a chaotic first preseason game. That’s to be expected.

With most of his Week 1 starters riding the pine, Jay Gruden’s vanilla offense looked half-melted. It was an appropriate setting for a first, long look at franchise savior-in-waiting Dwayne Haskins.

The rookie entered in relief of Case Keenum and finished the day 8-for-14 with 117 yards. That was the good, as he completed some intermediate passes and showed good touch and mobility.

The bad came on a pair of ugly interceptions against a swarming Browns defense. 

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The first can be chalked up to miscommunication with Byron Marshall, but Haskins risked injury trying to tackle Browns linebacker Mack Wilson on the return. Instead of saving himself, he took a stiff arm to the face and watched from the turf as Wilson celebrated in the end zone. 

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His second interception looked worse, as he overthrew his receiver by five yards over the middle. Two Browns defenders had a better chance of making a play than rookie tight end Matt Flanagan. Coming off the field, Haskins just shook his head.

So did too many Redskins fans. Word to the wise: This is what the preseason is for. Savor the pain.

At this point, Keenum could be the team’s Week 1 starter (with Colt McCoy at backup), and nobody really needs to see Josh Woodrum. The Redskins should play Haskins as much as they possibly can for as long as the games don’t matter.

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Let him learn just how fast an NFL defender can close when he throws across his body. Let him learn how little time he has in the NFL pocket. Let him fail early and often, then make him earn his regular-season snaps.

The last time the Redskins had a first-round rookie quarterback’s preseason debut was in 2012 against the Buffalo Bills. Robert Griffin III, who was already named the Week 1 starter at that point, played two series and completed four-of-six passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.

It feels tempting to compare the two, but it is because of Griffin that there is willpower to be patient now. Haskins has a lot to learn, and if the first preseason game is any indication, he’ll have plenty of preseason chances to grow.

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

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