Jay Gruden needs Dwayne Haskins to survive with the Redskins

Washington Redskins

If Jay Gruden wants to keep his job with the Redskins he needs to find a spark. Playing Dwayne Haskins is the only way for him to keep his job.

The Redskins seem determined to keep Dwayne Haskins on the bench when the regular season arrives. Franchise officials seem to view Colt McCoy and Case Keenum as safer options. That may be an accurate assessment, but relying on either quarterback for an extended period of time will cost Jay Gruden his job as the team’s head coach.

Gruden claims that he wants to name a starter after the team’s third preseason game. Imposing such an early deadline clearly gives an advantage to McCoy and Keenum. They are both more familiar with Washington’s offensive system and the NFL as a whole than the team’s first round draft pick. Haskins needs as much preseason playing time as possible if he wants to overcome the two veterans on the depth chart.

This will amount to a tactical error that will cost Gruden his job. The team’s chances of making its way into the postseason are pretty remote no matter who lines up under center. The roster just doesn’t have enough high level talent to emerge as a legitimate playoff contender. On the offensive side of the ball, this is a team that desperately needs a difference maker to emerge.

There’s no chance that either McCoy or Keenum can step up and be that guy. Everything about McCoy’s professional career screams backup. Keenum might have the ability to perform as an average starter for some teams, but he doesn’t have the talent to elevate an average supporting cast. Starting either player is a great way for the Redskins to trudge to an ugly five or six win season.

Admittedly, handing Haskins control of the offense immediately could prove to be a disaster. He’s got a steep learning curve ahead of him after excelling in Ohio State’s simplistic collegiate system. Haskins definitely has the arm to be a quality NFL starter, but the speed of the pro game is going to challenge him early on.

On the other hand, there’s a least a chance that Haskins can come in and galvanize Gruden’s offense. His arm strength can open up the field for an offense that would like to throw the football down the field. In short, Haskins lowers the floor and raises the ceiling for the Redskins in 2019.

Even if Haskins endures some serious ups and down as the team’s rookie starter, showing glimpses of stardom might be enough to earn Gruden another year at the helm. If he starts either McCoy or Keenum he’ll need a playoff run to keep his job. Trusting Haskins as a rookie would open up a much different path towards him returning in 2020.

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It’s highly unlikely Haskins will start the season opener for the Redskins, but if Gruden wants to keep his job he’ll get in the lineup pretty quickly. His best chance to get another year in Washington is to show the team’s front office that he can coach Haskins into a potential difference maker. It will be hard to convince anyone of that if the first-round pick stays on the bench.

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