“I’m going to take my time on that,” Callahan said at his Monday news conference.
“I want to look at a lot of different things,” he continued.
“I want to take some time,” he added.
“I want to gather a lot of information,” he later said.
With the Redskins heading into their bye week, Callahan appeared to be in no rush to pick a quarterback for the Nov. 17 game against the New York Jets, let alone the rest of the season.
“I appreciate the question, I do,” Callahan said when asked why a 1-8 team with an apparent quarterback of the future wouldn’t want to give that player as many starts as possible in the season’s waning weeks, so the team can see what that player can do. But as much as he appreciated the question, Callahan wouldn’t budge on the issue of Haskins starting.
Finally, he said, “I’m going to take my time and make the decision next week, as of next Monday.”
The choice would probably be between Haskins, the first-round draft pick from Ohio State, and Case Keenum, a seven-year veteran who started seven of Washington’s first nine games but is in the concussion protocol after a hit he took during the Oct. 24 loss at Minnesota. On Sunday, Callahan said he wants to see how Keenum is feeling over the next few days before making a decision. On Monday afternoon, he did not mention Keenum at all, revealing little about what he is thinking when it comes to the team’s most important position.
What he did say is that he was impressed with Haskins in Sunday’s 24-9 loss at Buffalo. He thought Haskins made good decisions and read the Bills’ defense well. He liked the way Haskins threw the ball to his receivers on the edges of the field and didn’t make the mistakes many feared a rookie quarterback making his first start might make.
“I thought he played with really good poise,” Callahan said. “I thought he was very calm. I thought that he had executed the system well, and I thought his decision-making was good and he just had a poise about him that I really liked. And I thought … the players picked up on that. I thought there was a little bit of a vibe there. That was a positive.”
Haskins didn’t throw a lot against the Bills, completing 15 of 22 passes for 144 yards and no touchdowns, but he also wasn’t intercepted. After the game, several players praised the quarterback for showing leadership and said the way he carried himself and had an understanding of the offense had improved significantly since the Minnesota game, when he looked lost at times after replacing the injured Keenum.
The Bills don’t blitz as much as some teams but use trickery to rattle the quarterback. This tactic has made Buffalo’s defense one of the best in the league. Haskins, though, seemed to recognize the gimmicks. Callahan was particularly impressed that Haskins did not get rattled when the Bills showed a handful of formations that Washington’s coaches had not seen on video.
“Each and every game when you have a young quarterback, he’s going to get exposed to new things,” Callahan said, without adding when those games are going to come for Haskins.
On Monday, the coach seemed more interested in the meetings and practices he was going to hold during the team’s bye week, with an actual practice Wednesday before the players get their mandatory four days off for the bye.
“We need the work,” he said. “Everybody at every position needs work.”
He said he was disappointed with the way the team did not seem focused in Buffalo. He had hoped for a fast start and didn’t like the fact that mistakes doomed the team’s first drive and defensive lapses allowed the Bills to pull ahead early. He said he wants to attack those things in the coming days. He sounded like someone with a long list of things he hoped to change.
Except at quarterback, where his silence was perplexing to many. At 1-8 the season seems lost, so why not say he was going to start Haskins now and build for the future? The question will remain unanswered for another seven days.
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