Theismann: Haskins starting Week 1 is a 'formula for disaster'


Starting rookie Dwayne Haskins at quarterback in Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season would be a "formula for disaster," Joe Theismann said on 106.7 The Fan Saturday.

In Theismann's mind, the difficulty of the Redskins' early-season schedule (at Philadelphia, home to Dallas, home to Chicago, at the Giants, and home to New England) would harm the long-term prospects of Haskins' career and would doom Washington's season.

"The young man's played 13 football games (in college). What in that whole entire description makes any sense or convinces you that he should play?" he told Nick Ashooh and Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan

"To put him out there early against those teams, it's just a formula for disaster for the team, for Jay (Gruden), for the fans, everybody else," Theismann said. "I think the young man is our future and let's protect the future instead of throwing it out there right now and saying, 'OK, go get 'em.'"

Waiting for his chance wouldn't be an unwelcome idea for Haskins, who said earlier this month being the starter right away wasn't a priority for him

"I don't really worry about starting Week 1," Haskins said. "I just want to be ready to play Week 1, whether that's this year or next year or whenever my time comes for me to play."

"I just want to make sure that when I do play, I don't want to look back," Haskins added.

For Theismann, who gave the rookie QB permission to wear his No. 7, it isn't about Haskins ability, but a lack of practice time between now and Sept. 8.
"How much work is he gonna get in training camp?" Theismann said. "Case Keenum has to get his time. Case has to learn the system. He has to learn how to play in this system of Jay's. So how much time is Dwayne gonna get? You only have 17 days in training camp."

Theismann places the blame for the time crunch on the rules in the NFL collective bargaining agreement which limit the amount of practice and instructional time. 

"The guys can't even go to the facility now and workout with the coaches. This past collective bargaining agreement has not done players or anybody well because they don't have a chance to get better. There are tons of players out there that want to get better at what they do. But they can't go anywhere near a coach, they can't go on the practice field. Which is just ludicrous," he said.

Of course, Haskins has impressed coaches in the limited time he has had this offseason. Head coach Jay Gruden said Haskins has done enough through minicamp and OTAs to be in contention for the Skins' starting job.

"He's put enough out there on tape to say he deserves a shot, without a doubt," Gruden said. "I don't know quite what he can do in the NFL in this system because it's new to him, but his ability warrants the fact that, hey, let's take a peek at this big son of a b----."

Gruden joined the chorus of those around football praising the Skins' young quarterback: "When he's on, there's nobody you'd rather have than Dwayne. Really. It's pretty. He stands tall, he has a cannon, and he can quicken up his release. He's got great touch. Strong, powerful arm. Strong, powerful body."

However, there are some issues: "But sometimes when he's off, he's abnormally off. It's kind of weird," Gruden said. "There's a lot to like about him, and there's a lot to clean up, as we would expect." 

106.7 The Fan's Danny Rouhier has a theory Gruden wants to start a veteran quarterback who is more comfortable at the NFL, than a rookie who started just one season at the college level. 

"I bet you in his heart of hearts, that if it was up to Jay Gruden, Dwayne Haskins would be standing next to him all year with that little earpiece in and going, 'Coach, why did you run that? and Jay would tell him," Rouhier said earlier in June. "I don't think he wants the kid to play at all."

That theory isn't far off from what Theismann sees as the best case scenario for Haskins in 2019.

"To me, the best scenario for Dwayne would be this: Is to sit this year, Case plays, Colt comes back is healthy enough to be able to be in competition and or a part of the ballclub... and give Dwayne a chance to process everything. Be in the meetings, watch film, maybe get into some games in late situations to be able to sort of to wet your whistle a little bit. That to me would serve him well.

"I don't want to see him become a Joey Harrington. I don't want to see him get the ever-loving-daylights beat out of him because he's not gonna be able to really run away from anybody. "

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