- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2019

ASHBURN — Around the NFL, there are plenty of subpar teams that have come to grips with their current situation. The 1-6 New York Jets and the 0-6 Miami Dolphins both traded away key players Monday, a day ahead of the league’s trade deadline.

Their plan is clear: With the season lost, it’s time to focus on the future.

The Redskins, however, aren’t like most teams.

Halfway through the season, the 1-7 Redskins don’t appear to have any desire to commit to a full-scale rebuild. Interim coach Bill Callahan is not ready to turn the starting job over to rookie Dwayne Haskins. The front office, according to reports, isn’t interested in trading veterans like Ryan Kerrigan and Brandon Scherff for draft picks.

But in one change, the Redskins are now open to letting left tackle Trent Williams go, after months of resisting trade talks amid the Pro Bowler’s holdout. The NFL Network reported Monday Washington is listening to offers for Williams, though its asking price remains high.



Asked about a potential Williams trade, Callahan said it would be unfair to speculate.

Running back Adrian Peterson, though, said Tuesday’s deadline has created “uncertainty” within the locker room, given the team’s record.

“You’re 1-7 and you got teams that are out there that are in a lot better positions we’re in. I’m sure looking like, ‘Hey, we could use this guy, we can use that guy’ to see if this team, other teams are interested,” Peterson said. “So it’s all part of the business.”

Of course, the Redskins have opened themselves up to criticism with their approach.

Fans are frustrated by, what they feel, is the Redskins’ inability to fully accept their standing in the league. Team president Bruce Allen was mocked when he said he believed the team’s culture was “damn good” after firing coach Jay Gruden earlier this month. On Friday, Callahan received backlash for comparing Haskins‘ situation to Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers having to wait to play in San Francisco and Green Bay.

The key difference — and this should go without saying — is that Young and Rodgers had to wait behind Joe Montana and Brett Favre, two Hall of Famers. Keenum, by no means, is close to that. There’s a strong argument to be made that game reps would be the most beneficial for Haskins, especially since the Redskins are far from contention.

So why are the Redskins so hesitant?

“We started a course at the beginning of the year philosophically and we’ve held true to that course in terms of where we’re at right now currently and we’re going to maintain that,” Callahan said Monday. “I really believe at the beginning of the year, Case earned the starting quarterback position. He was voted captain by his teammates, certainly deserving, certainly our starting quarterback.”

Callahan’s answer can be nitpicked. Gruden admitted publicly that it was Colt McCoy, not Keenum, who was on track to win the starting job before the 33-year-old hurt his leg in camp.

But that ignores the larger point: the Redskins don’t feel like Haskins is ready to play. And that’s a problem for a player they drafted 15th overall.

Even then, there’s a chance Haskins could start Sunday in Buffalo.

Keenum suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and the Redskins are waiting to see if he can pass the necessary tests in the concussion protocol.

In case Haskins does have to play, the first-rounder is taking the steps to be ready. He walked in the locker room, later than the rest of his teammates on Monday — having spent extra time on the practice field, throwing to wideout Darvin Kidsy.

In two appearances this season, Haskins has underwhelmed. He threw three interceptions in a Week 4 loss to the New York Giants and went 3 for 5 with an interception in Thursday’s defeat to the Vikings.

Callahan said Haskins had a “really good day” of practice on Monday.

“He’s shown the willingness and the diligence to improve,” said Callahan, who noted he met with Haskins this weekend individually. “He’s taken it upon himself to come in and visit and talk and to express himself in terms of what he can do better.”

Despite the praise, it will be up to Callahan when Haskins gets the job on a full-time basis. Allen said as much when he announced Gruden’s firing three weeks ago.

And asked what sort of direction he has received from the front office on Haskins‘ development, Callahan had a simple answer.

“None,” he said.

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