- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2019

ASHBURN — Case Keenum was hardly the first NFL quarterback to compare learning a new offense with memorizing a new language. But he might have been the first person ever to compare the Redskins’ system with Portuguese.

Now on his fifth team in eight seasons, Keenum said some transitions are like jumping from English to Chinese, but others are smoother moves among related tongues.

“I would say I’ve been in Spanish before. This is like Portuguese,” Keenum said Tuesday. “There’s some carryover, but then some little tweak of the same word might mean something different in a different language. Part of it’s trying to forget some of the old stuff and replace it with new stuff.”

So how is Keenum’s Portuguese coming along? He laughed and ad-libbed, “I really wish I knew a Portuguese word to say, like, ‘so-so.’”

Teams around the NFL are installing new offenses this spring due to coordinator turnover. Sixteen teams — exactly half the league — introduced a new offensive coordinator for one reason or another, including the Redskins, who promoted Kevin O’Connell and re-assigned Matt Cavanaugh.

But on top of that, none of the Redskins’ quarterbacks on the field the last few weeks — Keenum, Dwayne Haskins and Josh Woodrum — even played for Washington last season. Alex Smith and Colt McCoy chat with that trio in the quarterback room, to be sure, but they aren’t joining them in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills as they rehab their respective leg injuries.

O’Connell said last week that Haskins, Keenum and Woodrum have “done a heck of a job the whole spring.”

“The spring’s a great time for teaching, but also, there’s an end game in mind in getting all these guys to compete for the job, you know, come fall training camp,” O’Connell said.

But spring ended when Washington’s OTAs wrapped up Wednesday. The end game is on the horizon.

O’Connell’s twist on Jay Gruden’s system won’t be substantially different than Cavanaugh’s, but he will have his fingerprints on its content as well as its installation.

“It’s just making sure we’re getting those reps, we’re getting back to the play action game,” he said. “We’re making sure we’re moving the quarterback a little bit. First and second down to me, (it) has been a goal of mine to get back to some explosive passes and it’s a product of a lot of things, but I think if we can run the football (that) is always something we want to do.”

Since arriving at Redskins Park, Haskins has discussed how he’s learning the terminology that comes with an NFL system, which looks and sounds different than a college offense but is not altogether foreign to the first-round pick out of Ohio State.

Haskins said he wants his growth will be a “never-ending process,” but he feels he’s developed since his first day with the Redskins.

“I just know what I’m doing. Knowing protections, knowing how to flip protections,” he said. “Knowing my reads versus every coverage and then just calling plays in the huddle. I feel like I’ve got better at that since the first day I came out here.”

Whereas Haskins is the rookie with the weight of fans’ expectations and the future of the franchise on his shoulders, Keenum is the journeyman with a football career to fight for in his own right. Keenum figures he’s learned seven or eight offenses in the last eight years, if he sat and counted them up.

By now, he’s become a pro at it.

“There’s no Rosetta Stone for the West Coast offense,” he said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide