- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2019

RICHMOND — When Case Keenum was fighting for a backup job in the NFL, the quarterback would go every other day without receiving a single rep. Though he was frustrated with the limited playing time, Keenum knew he then had to take advantage of every chance, no matter how small.

That’s why years later, in the middle of another quarterback competition, Keenum realizes his current situation could be a lot worse.

Through training camp, Keenum has split playing time with Colt McCoy and rookie Dwayne Haskins — making it difficult for each quarterback to establish a rhythm in practice. Keenum will get a series of throws before another signal-caller replaces him.

It may not be ideal, though Keenum said he feels good — but not good enough — about his comfort level in adapting to the Redskins’ offense.

“There’s still a drive,” said Keenum, who was acquired from the Denver Broncos in the offseason. “I know I can get more out of myself, I really do. … It’s a growing experience and I think I’m growing, I think the offense is growing, and I like more where I’m headed, I would say, more than where I’m at.”

The Redskins have yet to say who will start Thursday’s preseason opener in Cleveland, but Keenum was listed as Washington’s second-string quarterback on the team’s depth chart that was released Sunday. On Monday, coach Jay Gruden called the chart “silly,” adding the order listed meant “nothing.”

Keenum, too, said he didn’t even realize his position on the depth chart until a reporter asked him about it in a separate interview.

Regardless of the ranking, Gruden wants one of his quarterbacks to rise to the top — something that has yet to happen. Over the last three days, the offense has rarely found a groove and all three quarterbacks have had their down moments. Gruden has said repeatedly that consistency will be key to winning the job, but each quarterback has had issues.

Gruden noted the challenge that comes with dividing reps. In normal circumstances, a quarterback might receive 12 snaps during a 7-on-7 period — allowing him to work through a funk if he struggles for the first five or six plays, Gruden said. But with this competition, each quarterback is only getting five or six reps at a time.

Despite the obstacles, wide receiver Paul Richardson sees progress.

Haskins is young,” Richardson said. “He’s doing well. They’re finding ways to find him comfortable back there and letting his arm loose a little bit. Case is a good vet that we have. He’s trying to find his leadership role as he’s grasping the playbook. You got Colt, who has been in the offense for a while. He knows the offense.

“He has really good leadership qualities and I think that they have a healthy competition going on.”

Each quarterback is trying to overcome the lack of reps by making up the work elsewhere. Keenum fills his notebooks during meetings, taking notes on various situations and throws. Haskins often stays on the field after practice ends — spending time throwing to receivers.

That being said, all three would love more playing time in practice.

“I don’t think we ever can give a quarterback too many reps. It’s never enough in my opinion for the quarterback,” Gruden said. “However, you’ll wear everybody else down if you practice for as long as I want to practice. Definitely need more reps. We’ve got to continue to get more reps. We have some more time, but the more reps we can get them, the better and then we’ll just have to decide come game time in the preseason who gets what and when.”

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