By Martha Arthur
The 2018 Redskins season came crashing into a heap when starting quarterback Alex Smith broke his leg in Week 11.
His recovery timeline is uncertain enough that it caused Washington to move on.
The team traded for Broncos quarterback Case Keenum in March and then drafted Ohio State passer Dwayne Haskins no. 15 overall, and they’ll both be competing with longtime Washington backup Colt McCoy in a three-man quarterback competition for this season.
Haskins is the team’s long-term plan, especially since neither Keenum nor McCoy is signed beyond this year, but Haskins is the least likely to be the Week 1 starter. He is 22 years old, started just 14 games at Ohio State, and played in an offense where he wasn’t calling plays in the huddle. The ghost of Robert Griffin III, who was rushed into being the team’s savior, also looms over the organization. Haskins is a better pocket passer than Griffin ever was, but it’s unlikely Washington will throw the rookie into games until he learns the basics.
”Once I learn the playbook, I know what I’m doing,” Haskins told ESPN’s John Keim in June. “I can call out the reads and point out sight [adjustments] and move protections; everything else will go from there. So I feel one full year of learning would do me justice.”
If there’s some justice in this world, McCoy will win the job. One of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time is entering his sixth year as the backup in head coach Jay Gruden’s offense. McCoy has made six starts in that span, and when his chance to seize the job finally came last year, he broke his leg after two games. He turns 33 on the opening day of the NFL season, and the starting job would be a hell of a gift.