Whether Dwayne Haskins will start at quarterback for the Washington Redskins will lie in the hands of Bill Callahan, who was promoted to interim head coach following the firing of Jay Gruden Monday. Gruden’s tenure in Washington ended with a 1-11 finish, culminated with his refusal to play Haskins, the team’s first-round pick in 2019, despite losing their first five games to begin the season.
According to a Washington Post report last week, Gruden did not want Washington to draft Haskins. The rookie quarterback also “sensed that to be the case” in the months working with Gruden, starting with Gruden’s refusal to play him and going with veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy over Haskins.
Now that Gruden’s out of the picture, does Haskins all of a sudden become the franchise quarterback of the Redskins? Callahan has been on Gruden’s staff since 2015, starting as the offensive line coach before becoming the assistant head coach in 2017. Callahan has been an extra voice in Gruden’s ear for the past 37 games, helping the former head coach with game day and personnel decisions. Callahan has worked with Haskins since the quarterback arrived in May, having more information whether the Redskins quarterback is indeed ready to be the starter.
That may not be Callahan’s call. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is obsessed with Haskins, pushing for the team to select him with the No. 15 overall pick this past April. Haskins was the pick to be the next franchise quarterback for the Redskins, despite what Gruden thought of him from Day 1. Gruden was fighting for his job, playing the quarterback who had NFL experience and who gave him the perceived best chance to win. At the end of the day, the Redskins started 0-5 for the first time since 2001 with no clear direction on who their starting quarterback is.
Callahan may be the head coach, but it’s the front office’s call on who will be the starting quarterback. Gruden went with Colt McCoy over Haskins in Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots because the veteran had the most experience in his offense. Callahan has been a head coach in the NFL before, but has never worked with a rookie quarterback at the professional ranks in his two years with the Oakland Raiders (he was the offensive coordinator when Marques Tuiasosopo was drafted by the Raiders, but that was Jon Gruden’s pick).
The Redskins are 0-5 and their season is already squashed. Washington has to see if Haskins is indeed the franchise quarterback and will need more than 11 games to determine that. Whoever the Redskins hire as their next head coach will have to be committed toward working on developing Haskins, as he is who the franchise invested in to bring them out of the doldrums of the NFL.
Washington’s season is over. The Redskins may actually play a team worse than them when they face the winless Miami Dolphins Sunday, a golden opportunity to start Haskins and give him some confidence against a defense that gives up 40.8 points and 420 yards per game.
If Haskins struggles against Miami, the Redskins can reevaluate his status and prepare to start him later in the year if they don’t think he’s ready. For Sunday, the decision should be easy for a franchise that makes everything difficult.