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With each game Washington loses to start the season, the calls for rookie Dwayne Haskins to start at quarterback have gotten louder. And they’ll likely get louder if Washington falls to 0-4 Sunday against the New York Giants and their own first-round QB, Daniel Jones.
Whether he understands that sitting and learning is beneficial – or whether he recognizes the team’s offensive line isn’t great – Haskins isn’t publicly expressing frustration; in fact, it’s the opposite.
‘I’m happy for those guys’
Kyler Murray, the No. 1 pick, has started from Day 1 for the Arizona Cardinals, and Jones, the No. 6 pick, took over as the Giants’ starter last week. The Jacksonville Jaguars have been starting a sixth-round rookie, Gardner Minshew, with Nick Foles recovering from injury.
Haskins, so far, has been only an observer.
“I’m happy for those guys,” Haskins said of his draft classmates.
“Everyone has a different path and journey. That's good for [the other rookies] and that's the situation they're in and I'm not.”
On Monday night, as Case Keenum turned the ball over five times against the Chicago Bears, the crowd at FedEx Field was calling for Haskins. But coach Jay Gruden is so far standing firm that the best approach with Haskins is to have him sit.
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“Well, we've played three games and there's 13 games left in the season,” Gruden said on Thursday. “This season is not lost. It's not over. I know everybody wants to say, ‘It's over and the season is over so go ahead and play Haskins.’ We feel confident we can turn this thing around. ...
“If we feel like Dwayne gives us the best chance to win in a coming game, we'll definitely put Dwayne in there. If we feel like it's Colt [McCoy] when he gets healthy, it could be Colt. Right now, we feel like it's Case Keenum and we're going to move forward with him this week.”
Keenum suffered a foot injury against Chicago, but practiced on Thursday and is expected to play this week.
‘Tom didn’t play at first’
Washington has preached patience with Haskins from the day he was drafted, and it’s often noted that Jones started 36 games at Duke, while Haskins started only 14 at Ohio State (Murray also started only 14 games at Oklahoma).
“It's easy to look at the rookie class and be like, 'Rookies are playing, why am I not playing?' I want to be like Tom Brady and Drew Brees and that's something that doesn't happen overnight. Tom didn't play at first; Aaron Rodgers didn't play at first.”
Gruden said Haskins has the “skill set” and that there is a package of plays that he can handle.
“Obviously you wouldn’t open the entire playbook for him nor would you need to, so you've got to make sure you cater to what he knows and what he's comfortable with, but he's got the skill set to do it.”
Haskins is saying all the right things, even if he believes he’s ready.
“I know I can play well and play at a high level,” he said. “But I want to keep getting better. I feel I can be really, really good. I want to be a great quarterback, one of those guys you talk about for years to come. That's not going to happen overnight.”
Haskins arrives at the team facility around 6:30 each morning for a workout and film study, and quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay is constantly in Haskins’ ear on the practice field.
On Friday, Fox Sports college football and NFL draft analyst Joel Klatt was a guest on “The Rich Eisen Show” and said in part that Washington’s “coaching staff never was on board with the selection [of Haskins]...there is a riff between the front office, who wants him to play, and the coaching staff.”
Haskins got wind of the what Klatt said and responded via Twitter.
“Fake news,” he wrote.
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