To put it simply, the Washington Redskins are a mess. They have big questions at quarterback, and their head coach pretty much knows his days are numbered.
The Redskins are off to a 0-4 start and went through a quarterback change in their Week 4 loss to the New York Giants. Times are very rough for the team and it’s anyone’s guess who will start at quarterback this week. This week, the Redskins will try to stay somewhat relevant and avoid utter embarrassment against the New England Patriots. So what’s up with the quarterbacks and who might we see getting the start? What about the future of Jay Gruden?
Case Keenum actually started the season fine. The Redskins looked like they were on their way to a Week 1 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles before Carson Wentz rallied the troops in the second half and the Eagles came back to win 32-27. Keenum threw for 380 yards on 30-of-44 passing with three touchdowns and was only sacked once. Despite the loss, Washington looked like they were going to be at least somewhat relevant in 2019.
In Week 2, Washington started strong against the Dallas Cowboys, but the Cowboys eventually took control en route to a 31-21 win. Keenum had 221 yards on 26-of-37 passing and 2 touchdowns. Through two weeks, Keenum had not thrown an interception and things were looking somewhat okay, despite the 0-2 start.
Then Week 3 happened and the wheels completely fell off. The Chicago Bears harassed Keenum all night and Washington’s offense came to a screeching halt in an absolutely ugly performance. Yes, Keenum threw for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions and was sacked four times as Khalil Mack dominated. Chicago would go on to win the game with ease, 31-15.
Week 4 is where Washington’s season and any semblance of quarterback plan completely went up in smoke. Keenum went 6-of-11 for just 37 yards and was benched in favor of rookie Dwayne Haskins.
Keenum is now a far cry from where he was when he nearly led the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Will Washington go back to Keenum? It depends on how ready Gruden feels Haskins is. If Week 4 is any indication, he’s not.
Haskins had an up-and-down preseason. In four games (one start), Haskins went 32-of-58 for 409 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He definitely flashed with moments of quality, but he didn’t fully look like he was ready to become an NFL starter. Which was fine, because Washington was rolling with Keenum, allowing Haskins time to develop.
That’s why it took a lot of people by surprise when Gruden decided to make the switch in the middle of the Week 4 loss to the Giants. Haskins was certainly thrown to the wolves, and I am sure he would love to have a do-over of his NFL debut. Haskins did throw a touchdown pass; unfortunately, the receiver was wearing a blue jersey, as Jabrill Peppers stepped in front of Haskins’ pass and returned the interception 32 yards for a touchdown.
That was one of 3 interceptions thrown by Haskins as he managed just 107 yards on 9-of-17 passing as Washington mustered just a field goal in a 24-3 loss to drop the team to 0-4.
Washington has a quarterback conundrum due to the struggles of both Keenum and Haskins. But they aren’t the only competitors in the battle anymore. Washington has a third option returning from injury and is ready to take over.
McCoy has not yet been seen this season, even during the preseason, as he was still recovering from a broken leg suffered during the 2018 season. However, McCoy is now fully healthy and potentially in line to start in Week 5 against the Patriots, giving the Redskins a third potential option.
McCoy came in for the injured Alex Smith in 2018 and played in three games before his leg injury. In those three games, McCoy completed 34 out of 54 passes for 372 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions.
McCoy was a full participant in practice all week leading up to the Giants game, and coach Gruden has always had “supreme confidence” in McCoy, according to Ian Rapoport. It’s quite fair to believe McCoy is going to get the nod for Washington this week. Gruden is a huge fan of McCoy, Haskins demonstrated he needs more time and Keenum continues to trend downward. Plus, Gruden knows he is squarely on the hot seat and needs to do something to save his job. Starting “his guy,” McCoy would be a last-gasp effort to save the Redskins’ season and save his job.
How hot is Jay Gruden’s seat?
Do you know that thing in the middle of our solar system? They call it the sun. That’s pretty darn hot. Gruden’s seat may actually be hotter than that, and he knows it too. He knew it back in May, so this will not be a surprise to him.
When Gruden was holding a press conference in May, discussing Hard Knocks and vouching for his brother, the discussion turned to how his team would be ineligible next summer if they make the playoffs, Gruden replied, “If we don’t make the playoffs, I probably won’t be here anyways.”
Let’s be realistic; the Redskins probably aren’t making the playoffs this season. Since the NFL playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, only one team has made the playoffs after starting the season 0-4, the San Diego Chargers in 1992. That team started 0-4, then won 11 of their final 12 games, including their final seven in a row, to win the AFC West at 11-5.
There was even a report from Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk before the Redskins played the Giants that Gruden could be fired if the team lost in Week 4. They lost, but Gruden hasn’t been fired. Yet.
But at this point, Black Monday can’t come soon enough for the Redskins.
Bottom line, expect McCoy this week against the Patriots (good luck with that Colt by the way) because Gruden really has no other option but to throw everything he has at the game this week.