Gruden’s comments came one day after veteran starter Case Keenum committed five turnovers in an ugly, 31-15 home loss to the Bears that dropped Washington to 0-3.
NBC Sports’s Peter King, for one, doesn’t understand what the heck Gruden and the Redskins are waiting for.
“What is this franchise doing?” King asked co-hosts Mike Florio and Chris Simms on “Pro Football Talk Live.” ” … How possibly, with such a depressing, gut-crunching, awful performance on Monday night, do you say to your fan base, ‘Yep, we’re going up to the Giants and it’s a battle of bad teams in the NFC East and we’re going to [start] Case Keenum’? Boy, I tell you what, that’s going to inspire confidence in your fan base."
“We’re very close to Dwayne Haskins’s time,” Simms replied. “He is raw. We saw that in the preseason. Leading into [Monday] night, Case Keenum had played good football. He had given them opportunities. He had five touchdowns, zero interceptions the first two weeks. [Monday] night was a disaster, there’s no doubt. He threw some dumb interceptions, he had some bad pocket presence."
Gruden has suggested that Haskins, who only started one season at Ohio State, isn’t ready to lead an NFL offense.
“If we feel like Dwayne gives us the best chance to win in a coming game, we’ll definitely put Dwayne out there,” Gruden said Tuesday. “If we feel like it’s Colt [McCoy], when he gets healthy, it could be Colt. But right now we feel like it’s Case Keenum, and we’re going to move forward with him this week.”
On ESPN’s “Get Up,” former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky said he would turn to the rookie if he were Gruden, despite Haskins’s lack of experience.
“I know that’s probably against a lot of the things I believe in when it [comes to] grooming a young quarterback, but the fact that Terry McLaurin is playing so well at wide receiver is encouraging to me, and at some point I’ve gotta see if Dwayne Haskins can be my version of, I guess Daniel Jones."
Nate Burleson pointed to Jones’s early success, as well as that of other quarterbacks thrust into action as rookies, such as Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield, as one reason for a possible switch. There’s another factor, though.
“If you want a buzz in Washington, then go ahead and put Dwayne Haskins in,” Burleson said on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “I love me some Case Keenum, but if you want to get some excitement, if you want your team to rally around something new, a new feeling, a new energy, go ahead and put Dwayne Haskins in right now.”
Burleson’s co-host, Peter Schrager, agreed that a change might be needed to keep the Redskins relevant in a season that’s already in danger of going off the rails.
“We’re on the verge of not talking about the Redskins again until the next draft,” Schrager said. “Sometimes it’s beyond who gives you the best chance to move the sticks, drive to drive, and it’s who can light up a fan base. I look at the Giants’ situation last week. They ripped the Band-Aid off, they said Daniel Jones, maybe the plan wasn’t to go to you right away, but they did and now the Giants have their fan base electrified. … Maybe you just need a change, and it’s nothing against Case Keenum.”
Given Washington’s deficiencies at other positions, former Redskins running back Clinton Portis suggested that it would be best for Haskins to remain on the bench. “There’s no real upside to putting him in,” Portis tweeted. “Don’t get him mixed up in this explosion.”
On Fox Sports’s “First Things First,” Cris Carter said it’s too early for the Redskins to make a change and raised questions about the offensive line’s ability to protect the rookie. “Good Morning Football’s” Kyle Brandt said if Gruden does decide to make a switch, he should wait until Washington’s trip to Miami in Week 6. The similarly hapless Dolphins, Brandt said, would provide a “a soft landing” for Haskins. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper agrees.
“You don’t do it against the Giants with Daniel Jones,” Kiper said on ESPN’s “First Take.” “You don’t want that. Maybe three weeks down the road when you get the right opponent, if Keenum isn’t playing great. If the Redskins are losing, then all of a sudden you make that change. I think the right spot is three weeks down the road.”
Locally, The Team 980 host Kevin Sheehan lobbied — again — for more than a quarterback change.
“I wanted the reboot in January,” Sheehan said Tuesday. “Why not start it now? First of all, trade Trent Williams today, please, Bruce [Allen]. Trade Ryan Kerrigan if you can get something significant for him. Start Dwayne Haskins Sunday at the Meadowlands. How much worse could Dwayne Haskins be than Case Keenum was [Monday] night?"
Sheehan would get rid of Gruden and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, too, along with team president Bruce Allen.
King also criticized the Redskins for their handling of the Williams situation, refusing to trade their Pro Bowl left tackle because they were confident he would return. There’s no end in sight for Williams’s holdout.
“They look like fools,” King said. “It’s an utterly preposterous way to run your organization. And now you’ve got your first-round pick that you take and he’s not playing because, for some reason, at 0-3, you want to stand behind Case Keenum and his five-turnover performance? This is a moribund franchise, and I don’t know how those fans can be anything but sort of destitute right now."
King summed up the Redskins’ situation succinctly: “This is a franchise that is totally messed up right now,” he said. “We’re only three games into the season and I don’t know if there’s any franchise in the NFL that can be less optimistic right now than Washington is.”
Would starting Haskins change that?
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