Looking ahead to the Washington Redskins’ early-season schedule, which includes three NFC East matchups, a Monday night meeting with the Chicago Bears and a game against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the first five weeks, Joe Theismann said it would be a mistake for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins to be named Washington’s starter for Week 1.
“To put him out there early against those teams, it’s just a formula for disaster for the team, for Jay [Gruden], for the fans and everybody else,” Theismann, the legendary Redskins quarterback, told Nick Ashooh and Thom Loverro on Saturday on 106.7 the Fan. “ . . . I think the young man is our future, and let’s protect the future instead of throwing it out there right now and saying, 'Okay, go get ‘em.’ The schedule we’re playing is not a 'go get ‘em’ schedule."
The Redskins selected Haskins with the 15th pick in April’s draft. The former Ohio State star will get the chance to compete for the starting job with veterans Case Keenum, who was acquired in March in a trade with the Denver Broncos, and Colt McCoy, who is recovering from a broken leg. Theismann, noting that Haskins only started one season in college, said he would benefit from some time as a backup.
“To me, the best scenario for Dwayne would be to sit this year, Case plays, Colt comes back and is healthy enough to be in competition and/or a part of the ballclub . . . and give Dwayne a chance to process everything,” Theismann said. “Be in the meetings, watch film, maybe get into some games in late situations to be able to sort of wet your whistle a little bit. That, to me, would serve him well. I don’t want to see him become a Joey Harrington. I don’t want to see him get the ever-loving daylights beat out of him, because he’s not going to be able to really run away from anybody.”
Harrington, the No. 3 overall pick of the Detroit Lions in 2002, started 12 games as a rookie and went 3-9. Of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round last season, only Sam Darnold started in Week 1, though all five were starters by the end of the season. Robert Griffin III, the previous quarterback the Redskins drafted in the first round, started Week 1 as a rookie in 2012, but he had significantly more college experience than Haskins, having played in 41 games at Baylor.
“Case Keenum has to get his time,” Theismann said. “Case has to learn the system. He has to learn how to play in this system of Jay’s. So how much time is Dwayne going to get? You only have 17 days in training camp.”
The 6-foot-3, 231-pound Haskins impressed during OTAs, but looked more like a rookie quarterback during the Redskins’ mandatory minicamp this month. He has said he isn’t concerned about his role when Washington opens the regular season on Sept. 8 at Philadelphia.
“I don’t really worry about starting Week 1,” Haskins said this month. “I just want to be ready to play Week 1.”
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