TINSMAN: Time for Redskins to punt on winning until 2020

Brian Tinsman
October 13, 2019 - 7:26 pm
Time for Redskins to punt on winning until 2020

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The Washington Redskins won their Super Bowl of sorts on Sunday, beating the Dolphins in Miami in front of one of the smallest crowds you’ll ever see at a major league sporting event.

It was a “Battle of the Beatens,” as both teams came in with winless records and facing increasingly long odds of winning this season. 

Even as fans on Twitter trended the hashtag #TankForTua (referencing Alabama quarterback phenom Tua Tagovailoa), both teams clearly put some effort into winning.

Just days after announcing that Josh Rosen would be the starter for the rest of the season, the Dolphins benched him in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who nearly Fitzmagic’d the ‘Fins to a comeback win.

The Redskins, fresh off of firing head coach Jay Gruden, started Case Keenum under center, who rekindled his electric connection with rookie receiver Terry McLaurin

In fact, a 100-yard, two-touchdown receiving day for this year’s third-round pick should inspire the Redskins to defer winning until 2020. 

It’s not driven by wanting to lose or gaming the draft order. At this point, the Redskins will end up with a high draft pick whether they try to win or not. 

This plan is about de-emphasizing wins in order to answer this question: What hidden talent exists on this roster?

That starts at the quarterback position, where Keenum was brought in to help this team stay competitive in 2019. He has helped unlock McLaurin’s potential, but it’s time to see if Dwayne Haskins can do the same.

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Haskins has not earned the job, but he is now in danger of never having a chance to do so. No matter who the Redskins bring in at head coach this offseason, that person will want his own quarterback – not somebody who helped his last coach get fired.

Keenum and Colt McCoy are probably better quarterbacks right now, but they won’t be here when this team gets good. With Gruden gone, it’s time to see what the team has in Haskins and whether that next top draft pick should be spent on his position.

After Haskins, a “Help Wanted” philosophy should be embraced up and down this lineup.

What do Cam Sims and Steven Sims Jr. bring to the passing attack? Can Wendell Smallwood outperform Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson with a larger workload? On defense, can Jimmy Moreland or Fabian Moreau supplant Josh Norman?

The answers to these questions can help the team make informed roster decisions without the pressure of winning. Do it the right way, add and subtract the right pieces, and this team could be competitive again by next year.

Big changes are coming to this roster this offseason, and it’s time to let the game film guide the way. With the threat of going winless in the rear-view mirror, let’s see who deserves to be here in 2020.

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