By: Ryan Cooley
Dwyane Haskins made his NFL debut in the second quarter of Sunday’s game. In his first possession, he led the offense inside the Giants ten before having to kick a field goal. That ended up being his best drive. There was a lot of bad, but there was also some good that should leave Redskins fans optimistic.
Here are some takeaways from Haskins first NFL action
The stats look worse than his actual play
Haskins went 9/17 for 107 yds, and 3 INTs. While this is far from ideal, I believe his stats look worse than his actual play. He did not have many reps with the first-team offense in practice, so he is already at a disadvantage.
The first interception he threw, the pocket was closing in on him. He began to panic and threw it to a receiver who had a defender on him. He needs to learn that one sack is not the end of the world.
His second interception was a jump ball that Jenkins made a great play on. I do not mind that throw from Haskins. Taking a deep shot every once in a while is essential, and I believe if that was McLaurin instead of Richardson, it could have been caught.
His third interception came off the hands of Vernon Davis. It was a timing route, and Haskins threw it too early. Him getting time with the first-team offense will prevent plays like these from happening. Routes like those are challenging when a QB and receiver have almost no chemistry together.
Held the ball too long
The first thing rookie QBs learn is just how fast the NFL is compared to college. Haskins will not be able to hold the ball as long as he did the last game. The Redskins offensive line is very inconsistent, so he will need to get the ball out fast.
The blame cannot be put all on Haskins’ shoulders. The receivers were not getting any separation. The Redskins were without Terry McLaurin Sunday which would have significantly helped out Haskins. McLaurin would have given him someone he had some chemistry with since they played together at Ohio State.
Mobility was better than many thought
One knock on Haskins during the draft process was his inability to move around. He ran the ball twice for 23 yds Sunday. He almost had a rushing TD on his first drive but came up about a yard short.
His pocket presence was much better than I anticipated. He was not afraid to run outside of the pocket when it began to break down. This will only get better with experience. Being able to extend plays is big in today’s game. With the NFL transitioning towards dual-threat QBs, seeing Haksins do this in his first game is encouraging.
Now was not the time to play him
After the Bears game, many were calling for Haskins to start Sunday. Gruden decided to stick with Keenum. After yet another disappointing performance, he decided to pull him and throw Haskins into the fire.
After his first game, it was clear Haskins was not ready. It was not fair to throw him out there when he had no preparation with the first-team offense. This offense did not have their #1 WR either. With a shaky receiving core, an inconsistent offensive line, virtually no run game, and no preparation, this was simply the wrong time for Haskins to play.
I am a firm believer in sticking with your rookie QB. When a coach turns to them, they need to commit. That means they stay with him no matter what. When a coach plays their rookie and then benches him, they can lose a lot of confidence in themselves.
While I don’t believe Haskins should have played this early, Gruden needs to stick with him. No one is expecting Haskins to turn into an elite QB overnight. For many QBs, this takes time, and there are growing pains.
The Redskins did not draft Haskins to be great this season. They selected him because they saw him as a franchise QB for the next 10-15 years. It is not fair to say Haskins is a bust after one game. I hope to see improvement in Haskins each week. That is if Gruden decides to keep him on the field.