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A New Look Offense for Washington and How Haskins Factors In 

Updated: May 9, 2023

As the world turns, so does the continued drama with Daniel Snyder’s Washington Redskins. The world found out on Monday that Asst HC and offensive line “whisperer” Bill Callahan would be the Redskins Interim HC with the assumption being that the coaching search would start when the season concluded. The topic of who will be Washington’s quarterback took center stage during Monday’s press conference.

There’s no denying that Colt McCoy was the most experienced and knowledgeable in Gruden’s West Coast scheme, but the issues have always been Colt’s ability to stay healthy and his lackluster performances. Nobody expected the Redskins to beat the New England Patriots, let alone be competitive. But they were competitive, for two quarters that is, which has been the ongoing narrative in Washington. The lack of halftime adjustments have been exploited by opponents which led to multiple blowouts.

Not all the blame for the failure on offense can be attributed to Jay Gruden. The players bear responsibility as well. As Callahan mentioned on Monday, there will be a commitment to the run game, which in turn should aid whichever quarterback plays under center.

It came as a surprise that Coach Callahan did not name Haskins as the starter versus Miami. Fans are split on this topic, but with an 0-5 Redskins team seemingly going nowhere, it’s unusual that Haskins is still “not ready” to see the field. The main concern has been damaging the young quarterback’s confidence by putting him in too soon. But some better questions are, does continuing to sit him behind two unproductive quarterback’s set him back mentally? What is Haskins gaining by sitting on the bench?

With Callahan leading, how does O’Connell factor in?

O’Connell has had input, all season, with Gruden calling the plays, but O’Connell will now be responsible for developing the rookie quarterback as well as the entire Redskins’ passing game. When discussing O’Connell during Monday’s press conference, Callahan seemed encouraged by the situation.

“Kevin will take over the play calling. I’ve got a lot faith and confidence in Kevin. He’s a bright young coach and he’s got a bright future ahead of him. He will do a great job. He’s well prepared. So, it’s just a matter of putting that belt on and letting him pull the trigger you know and obviously coordinate the communication to the quarterback on game day.”

Innovation has always been a topic of discussion when it comes to potential solutions for the Redskins offensive woes. But we must wonder how innovative O’Connell can be with Haskins on the bench. This makeshift line has been dealing with injuries all year and the absence of Trent Williams has compounded their problems in the run and pass game. Callahan’s expertise could help those deficiencies.

Sticking with two quarterbacks that have shown they are nothing more than backups in this league, at best, is a head scratcher. Keenum’s stat line, in particular during the first two games, is deceiving and were mainly due to garbage time stats with opposing teams playing with the lead.

Sitting Haskins, The Right Move?

It was a point of emphasis by Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan, during Monday’s press conference, that Colt McCoy or Case Keenum would be the starting quarterback and Keenum’s medicals need to be reviewed before making a final decesion.

Colt McCoy, Case Keenum

JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington asked Callahan if Haskins would be a contender to play versus Miami. The Interim HC had the following to say:

“Not right now, but he will be at some point and time, you know. We’ll continue to develop him and heighten his maturation process and try to get him on schedule so he that he is prepared. There’s always a possibility he could be active or de-active, so we’ll see as we move along.”

Callahan did indicate that the time to get Haskins ready is now and that there is a plan in place for the rookie signal caller.

“The continuation of preparation, of focus and having success on the field and having confidence on the field and getting his confidence level up and putting him in a comfort level within the system, so that he has a package of plays that he can obviously go out and execute and know that those are his and he has ownership of those he plays. I think that’s the focus right now and get him prepared”
Washington Redskins v New York Giants

It sounds like there is a plan, for the first time this season, with Haskins. Going into the most winnable game of the year versus Miami seems like the ideal opportunity to build up Haskins’ confidence. Callahan elaborated that getting the run game going is imperative, but refuses to play Haskins this week. It just seems like the wrong move given the lackluster play at quarterback.

Setting Haskins up for success by utilizing the screen game and not forcing him to make pre-snap adjustments, seem like an ideal way to get the former OSU quarterback on the field. As Callahan mentioned during the presser, getting a package of plays for Haskins will help. Cutting the field in half by utilizing hot reads and throwing to the non-pressure side of the field, makes a ton of sense and should be a consideration going forward.


Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst, Dan Orlovsky, had the following to say about the latest decision not to play Haskins.

“They’ve taken this young quarterback and this is why I take this stuff personal. Because you ruin players like this where you start to bad mouth and say what he cannot do. Your job as a coach is to take a player from where he is, to where he wants to be. Don’t tell me he’s not ready, that’s your job.”

Most Redskins’ fans can agree, they just want to see a competitive product on the field. There’s no doubt Callahan will run a tighter ship, as opposed to Gruden, and will have the next 11 games to show how much turnover this roster will need in 2020. It will also be an opportunity for O’Connell to show how innovative he can be, with a new head coach who promises to be more dedicated to establishing the run.

The argument will continue that playing Haskins behind a bad offensive line could ruin him, as was the situation with former Skins’ quarterback Patrick Ramsey, to name the most extreme case. Fans need to keep in mind that this isn’t the Steve Spurrier offensive line that destroyed a young quarterback’s confidence back in 2002. This Interim HC specializes in pass protection and should help the young signal caller thrive, even without Trent Williams. The hesitance to play Haskins should and will be short-lived, if the losing continues, and fans could see Haskins on the field soon enough.

By Adam Aniba


Follow on Twitter @TheBandGreport

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