Thu, Dec 12, 2019

The 1-9 Washington Redskins are using the 2019 season to give experience to their younger players, and they are taking their lumps because of it. After falling to 0-5 back in October, owner Daniel Snyder made the decision to fire head coach Jay Gruden, but it didn’t solve anything. While the Redskins recorded their first win of the season over the lowly Miami Dolphins in Week 6, they proceeded to then go on a franchise-record streak of 16 straight quarters without a touchdown. It’s clear that the Redskins aren’t going to make the postseason this year, which is why interim head coach Bill Callahan decided to give the reigns of the offense over to No. 15 overall pick Dwayne Haskins

The original plan was for the former Ohio State star to sit and learn under a veteran like Case Keenum or Colt McCoy, but both struggled behind Washington’s Trent Williams-less offensive line. On Sunday, Haskins made his second start against the New York Jets at home, and there was some optimism heading into the matchup. It was Haskins’ first home start and the Redskins had a bye week to prepare and the 2-7 Jets were perceived as beatable. Per Sportsline, the Redskins were favorited to win entering Week 11. The game was never close, however, as the Jets beat the Redskins handily, 34-17.

Haskins completed 19 of 35 passes for 214 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in arguably his best game yet, but there was plenty of bad to go along with the good. The rookie was sacked six times and was seen pleading with his offensive linemen on the sideline during the game. NBC4 Sports recorded a video of Haskins asking the seemingly disinterested linemen, “What do I have to do to help you?”

On Monday, coach Callahan didn’t make a big deal of the video and shrugged it off as just another sideline interaction that happens every game. 

“There’s so many things that go into that when you have a sideline conversation or dialogue,” Callahan said. “The main focus of that is protection-oriented and what (Haskins) can do, what protections, and how he can help the line and what he can do better — and I think that was the gist of the conversation. I make no more no less of it, it happens all the time.” 

That moment of frustration was just the one that happened to get caught on video, as the Redskins as a whole played horribly against the Jets. There was frustration from the receivers when Haskins sailed a pass or missed wide, there was frustration from Haskins when his wideouts dropped easy passes and there was frustration on the defensive side of the ball, as Washington allowed Sam Darnold to have a career day. 

It’s hard to focus on the good when you’re overwhelmed by the bad, but the Redskins’ young dynamic trio had decent performances. 

Haskins threw the first two touchdowns of his NFL career and handled pressure well. He looked poised when the walls were closing in the pocket and knew when to step up. While he was inconsistent when it came to accuracy, he did make some throws that showcased his potential. 

Running back Derrius Guice scored the first touchdown of his career on a screen pass he took 45 yards to the house. He was able to show off the explosiveness that made him such a highly-touted prospect coming out of LSU, and he looked pretty good for a player who has had more knee procedures done than NFL games played in. 

Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin has already proven to the NFL world that he could develop into a legitimate star, and he recorded three receptions for a team-high 69 yards. While he is a bit of a speedster, he proved on Sunday that he knows how to fight for jump balls. 

This year has become about getting reps to the young players in an attempt to fast-track their development. Snyder needs to understand, however, that fans are going to continue not to show up to home games. He’s dug quite a hole for himself, and he will need to make the right hire to get his team back to relevancy. The Redskins need to hit the reset button when it comes to the direction of the franchise, and all they can do right now is try to develop the few bright spots that they have. 

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