While not universal, it is pretty common for highly drafted quarterbacks to play as rookies. Many anticipate that Dwayne Haskins will be the guy in Washington, after being taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
If he doesn’t play right away, it seems pretty likely that he’ll get a shot sooner than later. Washington dealt with absolutely catastrophic injuries at the position last year, losing Alex Smith and Colt McCoy for the year.
Smith’s future is still very much up in the air as he recovers from the gruesome injury suffered late last year, which has been compared to the career-ending injury that famously cut Joe Theismann’s short. McCoy may return but is still recovering as well, and the team has acquired veteran Case Keenum.
There will be pressure to start Dwayne Haskins Week 1, but Joe Theismann says he would like to see the former Ohio State star on the bench to begin his career.
Theismann told 106.7 The Fan over the weekend that starting the rookie QB out of the gate would be a recipe for “disaster” because of the Redskins’ opening slate. Washington opens on the road against Philadelphia, versus the Cowboys, then the Bears, at the New York Giants, and home versus New England in the first five weeks.
“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 and 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, ‘Okay, go get ’em.’ The schedule we’re playing is not a ‘go get ’em’ schedule.”
Even if he is on the bench to start, it seems unlikely that Haskins will sit his entire first year. That is how Theismann would handle things though.
“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 ball club … and give Dwayne a chance to process everything.”
Patrick Mahomes is the most famous recent example of this strategy. He spent the majority of his rookie year behind Smith, who was traded following the 2017 season. In 2018, Mahomes won the NFL MVP award in his first year as starter.
Obviously, that is an unrealistic expectation, but there is reason to believe that throwing a young passer to the wolves may not be the optimal way to develop him, even if it works for some.