Now that the Redskins have committed to starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins for the rest of the season, they can slowly build for the future. Given the aggressiveness of Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’s schemes, they probably won’t expect him to do much Sunday.
Haskins is 22 and made only 14 college starts before starting his first NFL game two weeks ago, so Washington’s game plans have been pared, as they would be for most rookie quarterbacks. Haskins did a good job of reading Buffalo’s complicated defense two weeks ago as he made several strong, short throws.
Jets safety Jamal Adams is dangerous and could feast on Haskins’s inexperience. New York probably will blitz often, but as long as Haskins is patient and tries to manage the game rather than get yards in huge chunks, the Redskins have a chance to move the ball.
Sunday is running back Derrius Guice’s third chance to get his NFL career started. After suffering knee injuries in his previous two first games, he will be paired with Adrian Peterson, who has been carrying Washington’s offense since Bill Callahan was promoted to interim coach and then announced his commitment to the run.
Callahan said this week that he has a plan for rotating Peterson and Guice. It appears to be one that Peterson likes, because he sounded excited this week when talking about Guice’s return. Callahan even hinted at the possibility that both could be in the backfield at the same time. The Jets rank second in the league against the run, allowing 81.9 yards per game, partly because teams have been so successful throwing on them (262.4 ypg, 26th).
The “I’m seeing ghosts” line uttered in frustration on the sideline by Jets second-year quarterback Sam Darnold during a Monday night loss to New England a few weeks ago was a viral hit. But young quarterbacks often get flustered by advanced, deceptive defenses. New York’s offensive line has not blocked well, and the Redskins’ best pressure comes from up the middle. Washington needs to get a surge and keep Darnold from having time to recognize what’s going on in the secondary.
Le’Veon Bell, New York’s big offseason acquisition, is averaging just 49.9 rushing yards, but the Redskins have given up 1,224 to rank 28th in the league. New York’s best chance is to give the ball to Bell and let him thunder through a defense that has not stopped many running backs.
That may sound obvious, but the Redskins haven’t scored a touchdown since Oct. 13. Callahan has focused on productivity in the red zone, but touchdowns will be hard to come by while using a simple game plan for Haskins.