- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe Dwayne Haskins was thinking about something else entirely Tuesday morning — that day’s lunch, perhaps? — when he tweeted one simple word from his Twitter account.

But more likely than not, the Redskins quarterback was reacting to the news that rookie Daniel Jones had just been named the New York Giants‘ starting quarterback, replacing Eli Manning three weeks into the season.

“Sheesh,” Haskins tweeted, 12 minutes after the Giants‘ announcement.

With Jones set to start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Duke product will become the third rookie quarterback to start under center in 2019 — joining Arizona’s Kyler Murray and Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. Haskins, though, will continue to have to wait his turn.

Despite the Redskins being 0-2, quarterback Case Keenum has played well enough that Washington isn’t feeling any pressure to play Haskins.

In the meantime, the Redskins have set in motion a plan, so Haskins gets further development even with Keenum receiving most of the practice snaps. Besides Haskins acting as the scout team quarterback, the 22-year-old has worked closely with offensive assistant Matt Cavanaugh off to the side in practice.

“Dwayne’s development does not stop,” offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell said earlier this month. “It’s a minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, extra meetings in the mornings, extra meetings in the afternoon because he’s one snap away, so he has to prepare. … He’s got to be ready to go.”

If Haskins is frustrated by not starting, he hasn’t shown it. Since being drafted 15th overall in April, the Ohio State product has said all the right things about his role with the Redskins. Redskins coach Jay Gruden has described Haskins as not being fully ready, pointing to the fact the quarterback started just one year with the Buckeyes.

The Redskins’ approach with Haskins, too, isn’t out of the ordinary. Only 18 rookie quarterbacks have started from Week 1 of the regular season since 2010 — despite 117 signal-callers being drafted. Of those 18, 13 were taken in the first round. Thirty quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round this decade.

Each circumstance that causes a quarterback to play can be different, as well. The Cardinals endorsed Murray, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and the first overall pick, from the very start — trading away 2018 first-rounder Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins. Minshew, by comparison, started his first game in Week 2 after Nick Foles suffered a season-ending injury in the Jaguars’ opener.

For Jones, the Giants are turning to their rookie after the 38-year-old Manning struggled in two straight losses. The two-time Super Bowl winner threw two interceptions in last Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, and has looked like a shell of himself for years. Though the Jones pick was widely mocked — including with cameras catching Haskins shaking his head at the selection — the Giants are confident the quarterback can salvage their season.

The Redskins’ problems, on the other hand, have been mostly related to their lack of defense. In two games, Keenum has thrown for 601 yards, five touchdowns and has completed 69.1% of his passes with zero turnovers.

To most, Keenum has performed better than expected, quieting the immediate demand for Haskins.

“He’s not taking many sacks, he’s getting out of the pocket, he’s making plays, and I love his competitiveness,” Gruden said. “I think that will rub off on the entire football team if it hasn’t already. Guys like to play for him and play with him.”

Speaking to reporters on Sept. 5, Haskins said he’ll be ready for his time, whenever the opportunity arises. He added he tries to get as much out of mental reps as he possibly can, standing behind Keenum and analyzing the reads on every play he’s not under center.

“It’s either that or you don’t get better,” he said.

As for when Haskins might start, it depends on how the rest of the Redskins’ season unfolds. But looking at past situations, of the 30 first-round quarterbacks this decade, the average for their first start occurred in Week 4. Only one former first-rounder — Tennessee’s Jake Locker — went without starting a game his rookie season.

The Redskins, by the way, play Jones and the Giants in Week 4.

“I have a lot of confidence in Dwayne right now, that if he goes in the game he can operate at a very high level,” O’Connell said.

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