By Lewis Gould
Redskins Jay Gruden named Case Keenum the team’s starting quarterback, leaving first-round pick Dwayne Haskins to temporarily hold a clipboard.
Washington acquired Keenum in March from the Denver Broncos before they knew Haskins would be available to them with the 15th pick in April’s draft. That set up an intriguing quarterback competition to replace incumbent starter Alex Smith, who suffered a gruesome leg injury last November that will keep him out for all of 2019.
Gruden’s decision does not come as a surprise since Keenum started all three of the team’s preseason games and has taken first-team reps in practice.
Although you can only look at preseason stats so closely, neither quarterback has impressed this August. Keenum is just 16-of-30 for 213 yards with a touchdown, while Haskins is 22-of-41 for 305 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Haskins has also taken five sacks, which is partially due to playing with the second-team offensive line.
That said, Keenum an adequate placeholder but not much more. In two years as a starter with the Broncos and Minnesota Vikings, he compiled 7,437 passing yards on a 64.7 percent completion rate with 40 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
Haskins will benefit from some time on the bench to continue to learn the offense and take in the speed of the NFL game. But first-round picks typically don’t wait long before playing; Lamar Jackson was the last of the five first-round quarterbacks to start last year, and he took over as the Baltimore Ravens’ starter in Week 11.