TINSMAN: The case for sticking with Keenum

Brian Tinsman
September 29, 2019 - 9:15 pm
The case for Redskins sticking with Keenum

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The Washington Redskins fell behind the New York Giants early on Sunday and decided to shake things up with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

After seeing where Haskins is in his development, it's time to smooth things over with Case Keenum.

Don't misread this: Haskins has a future under center for the burgundy and gold. He showed enough talent in the preseason to prove that he can make NFL throws. But there's a lot more to being an NFL quarterback.

Before Sunday's game, ESPN reporter Dianna Russini tweeted, "I've spoke (sic) to Washington many times about Haskins. It's always the same 'he's not ready...not even close.' I'd be shocked if we saw him today."

For the first time in the regular season, we saw why.

Haskins finished Sunday with just a 32.8 passer rating, including two sacks and three interceptions in his final six drives, one of which was returned for a touchdown. On another drive, he got within an outstretched arm of a touchdown and failed to put it in the end zone with three tries.

That's not all his fault. And it's not that Keenum is necessarily better.

The Redskins starter came in hobbled and finished Sunday with a 23.7 passer rating. Keenum hasn't delivered a win yet this season, and the team has scored fewer points each week since the opener.

That's not a good trend.

But if the coaching staff and the front office really believe in Haskins' potential, they need to give him as much time as possible to develop. Haskins started only 14 games in college. He was never close to winning the Redskins starting job in the preseason.

Even if he had, the supporting cast around Haskins has gotten worse.

Left tackle Trent Williams is but a distant memory at this point. Tight end Jordan Reed's career might be over. Running back Derrius Guice had his season derailed once again. Offensive linemen Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier were too hurt to suit up on Sunday. Rookie sensation Terry McLaurin's absence left the Redskins without a reliable threat on offense.

Next week, the Redskins play the New England Patriots, with the top defense in football. The Pats have allowed just 61 rushing yards per game, which puts even more pressure on the Redskins' passing game.

Every Washington quarterback has his role. It may not be pretty, but this is exactly why the Redskins added Keenum: to bridge the gap.

Colt McCoy is still working his way back from injury. Alex Smith is helping to mentally prepare Haskins. Keenum's job is to manage the game and buy time.

On the other side of New England is a scrumptious matchup vs. the Miami Dolphins, with the worst defense in football.

They could stick with Keenum and go for the first win of the season. They could see if McCoy is ready for his latest redemption story. They could even give Haskins a week of practice with the starting offense and see how he performs against a soft opponent.

But Sunday showed that Haskins can best help this team by learning on the sidelines.

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