The Washington Redskins made the smart and predictable move when they drafted Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State. With a depth chart that looked to feature Case Keenum as their top signal caller, the pick was a no brainer.
Keenum, who spent last season with the Denver Broncos, has become the consummate placeholder. Whether it was with the Rams as they prepared rookie Jared Goff, or in Minnesota where they were waiting on something or anything they believed better. In his one season with the Broncos, you always got the sense John Elway was also waiting on something better to come along.
For the Redskins, he looks to be in the same situation he’s been in so many times before. Always the bridesmaid, but never quite the bride.
Fans in Washington should remember that Keenum got the Vikings to the NFC Championship game just two short seasons ago. Granted Minnesota was out of that game early, but Keenum showed he can hold his own in the NFL. Haskins, who many thought a better prospect than No. 1 pick Kyler Murray or Daniel Jones who went with the sixth pick to New York, will be a quarterback Redskins fans will love.
The Redskins have some time with Haskins. Keenum is a viable option while allowing the rookie an opportunity to not get beaten up or beaten down early. They also also have backup Colt McCoy. With only 14 college starts to his credit, it’s hard to see why the team would rush him into service.
Washington will be better in 2019. Their 1-6 slide to conclude last season isn’t indicative of anything other than bad luck. The Redskins have talent on offense, especially at the running back position with Adrian Peterson. They also have a solid defensive front, so Washington will be more than just competitive.
Their schedule, especially early, will demand the services of a veteran like Keenum. Washington will play the NFC East in Week 1 at Philadelphia, Week 2 at home against Dallas, and in Week 4 at the New York Giants. September also has them hosting what should be a good Chicago Bears team.
A hot start for the Redskins could quash whatever demand exists for Haskins on the field. However, if Keenum can find that magic he had in 2017 with the Vikings, head coach Jay Gruden could simply ride the hot hand until it’s not.
One wildcard in all of the quarterback discussion in DC is the status of Alex Smith. Smith had Washington humming to the tune of a 6-4 record before suffering a devastating injury. While most don’t expect him back in 2019, if ever, it’s a situation that remains an unknown.
Fans who will clamor for their first round pick to get on the field would be smart to take a deep breath and have some faith in Keenum. Keenum isn’t the future in Washington, and in a private moment, he knows that. But he’s a serviceable quarterback who buys the Redskins time until they deem Haskins is ready for the field. Whether it’s Week 5, Week 10, or 2020.
Unless Daniel Snyder forces the issue, the Redskins are far better off with Case Keenum at the controls to start the season. If he’s winning games, they’d be smart to let that situation play out until he’s not. Haskins is the future in Washington, but the “future” can wait awhile.