- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD — Cameras caught the moment.

When Case Keenum jogged back to the sideline after yet another failed drive, the Redskins quarterback stopped to talk with coach Jay Gruden. Their conversation could not be heard, but Keenum’s body language made the tone of their dialogue obvious. Keenum was seen walking away as Gruden talks — before abruptly turning around. Moments later, Keenum shakes his head and walks away.

Keenum was benched in Sunday’s 24-3 loss to the New York Giants — a move that caught him by surprise, he told reporters.

Gruden turned to Dwayne Haskins in the second quarter.

“I’m not thinking about what’s behind me,” Keenum said when asked why he was surprised. “I mean, I’m thinking about moving forward and the next play and trying to get something going. I’m not sitting there thinking about if I’m going to get taken out of the game.”

“I thought Dwayne might give us a spark there at the end of the half,” Gruden said.

Keenum was largely ineffective for the second straight week. To open the game, he badly missed a wide-open Trey Quinn down the field. He then threw an interception on third down.

Gruden said Keenum missed throws he usually makes. Against the Giants, the 31-year-old was just 6 of 11 for 54 yards. He now has four interceptions on the season, throwing three last week against the Chicago Bears.

Gruden floated the idea of Keenum being bothered by a foot injury. On Wednesday, the quarterback was in a walking boot and missed practice. However, he returned a day later and was a full participant for the rest of the week.

Keenum refused to use it as an excuse.

“Everybody plays hurt in this league,” Keenum said. “That’s part of the deal. I have to be better, hands-down. It doesn’t matter what I’m feeling, I have to be better for this team. I missed a few shots and turned the ball over again early. It cost us the momentum early, for sure.”

The Redskins managed only one first down with Keenum in four series.

Haskins wasn’t much better. He finished the afternoon completing nearly 53% of his passes (9 of 17) for 107 yards, while tossing three interceptions. Washington’s offense couldn’t capitalize on the four turnovers the Redskins’ defense generated.

Despite the switch, Gruden did not commit to Haskins starting next week against the New England Patriots.

Keenum said he’d learn from the benching.

“I think we are all frustrated in this locker room; we all have to play better,” Keenum said. “It’s a tough league. Every week. Everybody is really good and you can’t do what we did on third down, have penalties, turn the ball over and expect to win. It just is what is.”

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