Choosing a starting QB is already looking like a tough decision for the Redskins.
Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins were trading blows Tuesday at minicamp. After Keenum heaved a perfect 60-yarder downfield for a touchdown, Haskins dropped a dime to Trey Quinn on a crossing route. Then, Keenum found a receiver leaping above two cornerbacks, and Haskins responded by throwing a dart across the middle.
It has become a competition between the old man and the unproven youngster, something the Redskins haven’t encountered since Mark Brunell gave way to Jason Campbell in 2006.
Keenum, 31, and Haskins, 22, are newcomers learning the Redskins’ system, but Keenum’s six pro seasons give him an edge. Haskins is obviously the coming storm, but a couple of batted throws across the middle Tuesday were a reminder that the rookie still must adjust to the quickness of NFL linebackers.
Watching the battling QBs give running backs high-fives after drills was reminiscent of Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer in the mid-1970s. They were good friends but competitive over who would start.
The newest edition seems the same way. Both expect a chance to prove themselves, so they’re learning the scheme, teammates and even each other. And they know, come September, the team will need both to be ready.
Without a true pass rush or hitting during camp, it’s only possible to catch glimpses of potential. But even from these snapshots, there’s so much to like about both passers. Keenum seems capable of reviving the downfield attack that has been absent since DeSean Jackson left after the 2016 season. Haskins is steadfast in identifying several options, spiraling balls across the middle with ease.
“[Haskins] can really spin it, without a doubt,” coach Jay Gruden said, “but now it is just a matter of transitioning to different defenses, different blitzes, handling the pressure, handling the looks, finding open receivers and delivering the ball. I think he is on a great course right now.”
Offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, a former quarterback, was a third-round pick by the Patriots in 2008. He played parts of only two games before he was released before the start of the next season. He never saw the field again while spending time with four other teams. Despite his limited on-field success, O’Connell has quickly risen from quarterbacks coach to play-caller by developing passers. And now he has two he must get ready.
“This is really where the learning curve goes a thousand miles a minute,” O’Connell said, “because we can talk protection now, we can talk situational football. … The spring’s a great time for teaching, but also, there’s an end game in mind in getting all these guys to compete for the job.”
Because come fall, there can be only one.
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