We had a moment of truth this week at Redskins Park. It was fleeting, like the truth often is with this franchise. But if you paid close attention, you noticed it.
Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan: “We’re at a juncture where we don’t want to be record-wise.”
That is another way of saying, as difficult as this may be to speak out loud in that building, that they are not “close.”
Maybe when the league publishes standings, instead of posting 1-8 for the Redskins, they could just say, “juncture where they don’t want to be record-wise.”
Or simply say, “where you would expect the Redskins to be at this juncture.”
Enter Dwayne Haskins.
The rookie was named the Redskins’ starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game at Ghost Town Field against the New York Jets and for the rest of what is left of their season. What does it say that for those who remain Redskins fans, the most exciting moment of this season to date will be when their 1-8 team takes the field against the 2-7 Jets?
Will Haskins come out of the tunnel carrying the white flag?
“This is a good opportunity for him to take advantage of every rep, practice-wise and game-wise, so we can see growth in his play,” Callahan told reporters.
That wasn’t an opportunity that existed before, because the Redskins believed their “juncture” this season was still that of a winning team — especially when they got rid of the problem, head coach Jay Gruden, and handed over the team to Callahan.
After going 1-3 under Callahan, the truth has been revealed, and now it is all about owner Dan Snyder’s prized rookie quarterback.
That should have been clear to this organization from the first week of the season. This team, under Case Keenum or Colt McCoy, was never going to compete in the NFC East, and no matter how wrong it may have been for Snyder to overrule his football people and force the selection of Haskins with the 15th pick in the first round, once the damage was done, they needed to see if the quarterback they invested so much in could play in the NFL.
That it took so long to come to that conclusion is disturbing on several levels — that team president Bruce Allen, the Prince of Darkness, was so delusional there was a season to be saved, or else many people inside the building feared that Haskins couldn’t play. The message carried by a number of former Redskins close to Snyder — Joe Theismann, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss — that Haskins should sit out the entire season to learn raises those fears.
It’s too late now. We will see if Haskins can show enough, given the constraints of the lack of offensive talent he will work with and a head coach who seems offensively challenged, to believe the former Ohio State star quarterback can play at a high level in the NFL — worthy of a first-round selection.
What made it easier was Haskins’ performance two weeks ago against Buffalo — completing 15 of 22 passes for 144 yards, no touchdowns, but no interceptions. You didn’t have to cover your eyes to watch him play, so that made it easier to finally make the overdue decision.
When Callahan was asked if there was anything he saw in Buffalo that made the move easier now, he answered, “We thought the consistency of his play. I thought outside, when he was working the ball outside, I thought his progressions were clean. He was decisive, he had the arm talent to cut the air in bad weather and we’re getting into that phase of the year, November and December, where the elements are playing a factor now. I think it’s really important to have the arm strength and also he needs the experience.”
So does that mean Keenum is not a cold weather quarterback? Or Haskins would not be as effective in mild weather conditions?
Truth is that while some of their fears may have eased in Haskins’ start against the Bills, there really was nothing there to particularly feel good about.
There is only one answer, really. “Let’s face it, let’s give Dwayne an opportunity,” Callahan said.
Why not? It’s not like there is any other reason to pay attention to another lost season.
⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.