ASHBURN, Va. — While the Washington Redskins made a coaching change on Monday, they haven’t altered their stance on rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Interim coach Bill Callahan said Haskins won’t start Sunday vs. the Miami Dolphins and that he isn’t sure when Haskins will start. It’s the same approach that was being taken by fired coach Jay Gruden.
The Redskins fired Gruden early Monday morning. Haskins has played in one game this season, relieving then-starter Case Keenum in the second quarter of a Week 4 loss to the New York Giants. The Redskins have stressed the need to be patient with Haskins, the 15th overall selection in April’s draft.
Gruden’s firing was not related to how they were — or weren’t — developing Haskins, a source said. But, rather, it was about the coach’s record. During a news conference Monday afternoon, Callahan said he would start either Keenum or Colt McCoy against the Dolphins. Callahan wants to continue giving Haskins time to develop.
“His progress is incremental. It’s starting to show signs and flashes of progress,” Callahan said. “He still has a ways to go. I’m looking forward to coaching with him. I think he’s a great kid. Got a bright future. He’s our franchise pick. He’ll be in the lineup at some point. Whether it’s this year or next year.”
Callahan said the goal is to develop Haskins, not rush him into playing. He also said there’s a chance Haskins won’t be active on game days.
“We’re going to … heighten his maturation process,” Callahan said. “Try to get him on schedule so he is prepared.”
Callahan said he first discussed the interim job with team president Bruce Allen and owner Dan Snyder on Sunday night, before accepting it Monday. Callahan said he didn’t need to be told of Haskins’ importance to the organization.
“It didn’t take much to figure out that he’s a first-round [pick] and we are putting resources into that position,” Callahan said. “I take it upon myself to be cognizant of where he needs to go and where he needs to be. His development is very, very important. There is a very good plan in place for that to happen.”
The Redskins have been working with Haskins on various aspects of the position to get him ready to play, from footwork on various pass drops to calling plays in the huddle and also reading defenses at a faster pace. They meet with him early in the morning and then again after group meetings later in the day. Haskins watches extra film at home as well. Gruden said recently that they had packages Haskins could run when he played.
The Redskins have said since the draft that it would take him time because he had started only 14 games at Ohio State. Callahan knows what he wants to see from Haskins before deeming him ready.
“Continuation of preparation of focus,” Callahan said, “having success on the field, having confidence on the field. Getting his confidence level up. So he has a package that he can, obviously, go out and execute. And know they are his and he has ownership on the plays. That’s the focus right now. Get him up, get him rolling. Just like we do with Case and Colt, no different.”
The Redskins fired Gruden because of his 35-49-1 record in five-plus years in Washington. The Redskins won the NFC East under Gruden in 2015 and went 22-25-1 in the ensuing three years, leaving him on the hot seat. An 0-5 start this season doomed him. Gruden was fired around 5:30 a.m. Monday morning.
“We had much different expectations,” Allen said.
But a big part of Allen’s 13-minute news conference involved questions about his own record in nearly 10 years with the Redskins, as well as Snyder’s overall mark. In Allen’s nine seasons, the Redskins are 59-89-1. The Redskins are 139-185-1 under Snyder with two playoff wins.
“We’re all involved in this,” Allen said. “I don’t ever want to hide from our record. I don’t want to hide from things that didn’t go the way we wanted them to go. All we can do is work. And do I believe in the group that’s here? Yes.”
The Redskins were hit hard by injuries the past two seasons, with a combined 52 players having gone on injured reserve. They have 10 players on injured reserve this season, including quarterback Alex Smith. Also, Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams remains a holdout and Allen said they have no plans at this time to trade him. Tight end Jordan Reed has missed all five games with a concussion.
Sunday, the Redskins’ home stadium was overrun with Patriots fans, who seemed to outnumber Washington’s fans.
“All we can do is try to improve our product,” Allen said. “These games, we weren’t close in. We’ve lost five games and we didn’t lose them in the last second. We lost these games decisively. And we have to change that. And our fans deserve that. And this market deserves that. We’re in the nation’s capital, and it deserves better than that, and we have to get it done.”
Allen defended the Redskins’ culture, which has come under fire over the years. Allen pointed to a 6-3 record a year ago, before Smith suffered a leg injury that left his career in jeopardy.
“You know the culture is actually damn good,” Allen said. “Last year at this time we’re in first place and we’re doing well, so it was working pretty damn good. Unfortunately our quarterback got injured. The pieces are here for a winning team. We have to put them in the right place.”