Theismann: Dwayne Haskins Shouldn't Start Week 1

Joe Theismann doesn't believe Haskins should start Week 1 – for many reasons

Zach Gelb
July 22, 2019 - 10:09 am

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Dwayne Haskins hasn’t played a single game yet – regular season or preseason – but the question looms: Can he be a franchise quarterback? Can he be the Washington Redskins’ quarterback for the next decade and beyond?

“I think it’s something that has to be proved,” Redskins legend Joe Theismann said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Obviously the Redskins believe it because they drafted him. To me, if you put him on the football field too early, you hurt him, and you hurt the franchise. The young man has played 13 football games. He’s never really been in live action in the NFL. He hasn’t even been around the speed of the NFL yet. . . . other than the knowledge of learning the system.”

Which is why Theismann believes Haskins should not be the starting quarterback to open the season, especially with Washington’s schedule. 

The Redskins open the season at Philadelphia. After that, they play Dallas, Chicago, at the Giants, and against New England.

That’s a tough first five games. What happens if Haskins starts?

“You’d wind up with a Joey Harrington,” Theismann said. “You’d wind up with a guy getting killed.”

Washington has three quarterbacks vying for the starting job, but all have question marks.

“You’ve got Colt McCoy coming back off an injury, Case Keenum is new to the system, and Dwayne Haskins is new to the system,” Theismann said. “You have (four) preseason games, plus training camp. How do you divvy up practice time and evaluate somebody when you don’t have a clear-cut starter when you’ve got competition at the quarterback position, you’ve got learning curves occurring, you’ve got rehabilitation occurring? 

“These are all major things that Jay Gruden has to evaluate,” Theismann continued. “How much time do you give Dwayne with the first team? How much time do you give Case with the first team? How much time do you give Colt, who really is the one that knows the system, with the first team? So how prepared will any of these individuals be when you open the season in Philadelphia?”

Theismann believes Keenum should open the season as the starter, which would give Haskins more time to acclimate to the NFL.

“I think he would be better served if Case can be the guy and Dwayne can look at an eight-, 10-year career as a Redskins quarterback, not an eight-, 10-game career with a lot of things going on,” Theismann said. “And this is something else that people won’t admit: when he steps on the field and he goes up against live action, he’ll have no idea what he’s looking at – because no rookie does. I don’t care who you are – and I go all the way back to Peyton Manning his rookie season when he threw (28) interceptions. As great as Peyton is and was, he still struggled that rookie season.”

Click below to listen to Theismann’s interview in its entirety.