Case Keenum

Redskins Rumors: Gruden, Keenum, Brown

Jay Gruden does not anticipate returning to the sideline this season but will look at re-entering the coaching carousel in 2020, John Keim of ESPN.com reports. Gruden’s Redskins contract runs through the 2020 season. The former Bengals offensive coordinator has not ruled out returning to an OC post, if no franchise wants to give him the keys just yet. The recently fired Washington HC, who half-expected his firing to come after the Redskins’ Week 4 loss to the Giants, also addressed reports of discord between his staff and the team’s front office.

I have mixed emotions about it,” Gruden said of the personnel issues, via Keim. “At the end of the day, if you’re not the GM, you have to accept the fact that you don’t get everything you want. You accept the players given to you. I had input in some areas, but there are some major issues there. It’s that way with most coaches. You don’t have that total say. It’s something you have to overcome and work with the guys you have.”

Here is the latest out of Washington, shifting first to how the team plans to handle its quarterback situation going forward:

  • New Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan is expected to turn the starting quarterback job back over to Case Keenum, provided that his injured foot allows him to play (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The Redskins have a date with Miami next, a match between two of the league’s 2019 cellar dwellers. Washington started Colt McCoy against New England and used Dwayne Haskins for much of its Week 4 loss to the Giants. Haskins still figures to see more time as a rookie, but for now, Washington will turn back to its Week 1 starter.
  • While Haskins hovered at the epicenter of one of the reported disputes between Washington’s staff and front office, current Eagles linebacker Zach Brown was the subject of another debate. After the 2017 season spent on a one-year deal with Washington, Brown had garnered consistently high Pro Football Focus marks but could not entice a team to hand him a long-term deal. Gruden and his staff wanted to let Brown walk, but the Redskins instead re-signed him at three years and $24MM, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Brown made it one year into that contract, with the Redskins returning the former Titans and Bills ‘backer to free agency earlier this year. The Redskins are carrying $3MM in dead money this year because of the Brown release.
  • Despite the Redskins profiling as one of the league’s most dysfunctional organizations, Rex Ryan said he would sign up if it was offered to him. During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, the former Jets and Bills HC said “of course” he’d take a job that “people are going to be lined up for,” via Earl Forcey of 106.7 The Fan (video link). The Bills fired Ryan in December 2016, late in his second Buffalo season. The Redskins currently employ his brother, Rob Ryan, as inside linebackers coach. But with a new staff likely taking over in 2020, that setup may well be in its final months.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Redskins Notes: Gruden, Haskins, Williams

This morning, the Redskins did what everyone expected and fired head coach Jay Gruden. The move follows a 33-7 loss to the Patriots, dropping Washington to 0-5 on the season. Besides his disappointing record, there also seemed to be a disconnect between the front office and the sixth-year coach; Gruden reportedly wasn’t a fan of the team’s decision to select quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy day in Washington, and there have a been a number of additional Redskins notes since this afternoon:

  • Nobody likes to lose their job, but it sounds like Gruden isn’t beating himself up over the firing. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the now-former head coach was expecting the move and is doing fine. Rapoport also notes that the firing allows the organization to be completely transparent about their head coaching search (as opposed to be covert if Gruden was still on the sideline).
  • During his presser earlier today, team president Bruce Allen deferred to interim head coach Bill Callahan when asked if Haskins would now start under center. The coach later told reporters that the first-rounder is not a candidate to start right now (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo on Twitter). The coach did say that they’re currently evaluating the health of Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, but it sounds like one of the veterans will start against the Dolphins on Sunday.
  • Allen was also asked about the status of offensive lineman Trent Williams, who continues to sit out. The executive told reporters that “there’s been no dialogue with any other team” regarding a trade, and Allen also said the team isn’t actively shopping the veteran. Today’s head coaching move also didn’t move the needle when it comes to a potential return for Williams; a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini (Twitter link) that the 31-year-old “doesn’t have any plans of returning to the Redskins anytime soon.”
  • We hate to rub dirt in the wound, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter points out (on Twitter) that the Redskins’ coaching staff once consisted of Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, and Matt LaFleuer. The three current head coaches (with the 49ers, Rams, and Packers, respectively) currently have a combined 2019 record of 10-3.

Redskins To Start Colt McCoy Vs. Patriots

Dwayne Haskins will have to wait at least a little while longer. On Friday, head coach Jay Gruden announced that Colt McCoy will get the start against the Patriots, rather than first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins or veteran Case Keenum.

[RELATED: Gruden Didn’t Want Haskins]

Keenum has been slowed by a foot injury and Haskins didn’t look ready for primetime in his NFL debut against the Giants. Enter McCoy, a known commodity in Washington who is coming back from multiple leg surgeries.

McCoy took all the first-team reps in practice this week, and Gruden is not exactly in love with Haskins, so this does not come as a shock. By far the longest-tenured quarterback on Washington’s roster, McCoy has been a Redskins backup throughout Gruden’s five-plus-season stay.

Following Alex Smith‘s November 2019 injury, McCoy was given the call. However, midway through his second start, he suffered a broken leg that required months of rehab. The former third-round pick made four starts in 2014 but sat behind Kirk Cousins and Smith until the latter’s gruesome injury. Six Redskins passers have seen action since Cousins’ 2018 free agency defection.

This will mark a third straight week in which the Patriots are tasked with defending a backup quarterback. They faced the Jets’ Luke Falk in Week 3 and, in a tight game against the Bills, ran into Matt Barkley after Josh Allen was knocked out of last week’s contest. The Pats have allowed one offensive touchdown all season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Tight-Lipped On QB Situation

Dwayne Haskins finally made his highly anticipated NFL debut earlier Sunday, coming on in relief of Case Keenum in the Redskins’ loss to the Giants. Even though head coach Jay Gruden made the decision to bench Keenum, somehow the quarterback situation has gotten even less clear heading into Week 5. 

Speaking after the game, Gruden said that Keenum’s foot injury factored into his decision to pull him, according to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Gruden also declined to name a starter for next week’s game against the Patriots. While that’s not too unusual, there are huge implications here. Reports of dysfunction in the building have been rapidly leaking out, as Gruden’s relationship with owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen has apparently deteriorated.

We also just heard that Gruden and the coaching staff thought Haskins would be better off redshirting his entire rookie year, so it sure sounds like his hand was forced by management. It was reported before the game that Haskins would relieve Keenum if he struggled, so it wasn’t a huge surprise. Haskins struggled mightily in his debut and threw three interceptions, and Gruden didn’t sound too enthusiastic about having to play him.

As such, it seems like there’s a real chance the team could go back to Keenum, especially with Gruden saying the foot injury played a part. However, Gruden might not get the chance to make the call. Just yesterday it was reported that Gruden could be fired by the team if they lost to the Giants, which they obviously did in ugly fashion.

There’s also a possibility that Colt McCoy could take over under center after Haskins’ disastrous performance. McCoy was listed as the team’s starter earlier in the offseason, but his recovery from a 2018 leg injury kept him sidelined until just recently. McCoy returned to practice this past week, and could get a crack at the starting job given the state of his competition. If Gruden is going to be fired, then it would likely happen tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest on Dwayne Haskins, Redskins’ Coaching Staff

There was some chatter Saturday suggesting that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden could be coaching for his job against the Giants this afternoon, but Dianna Russini of ESPN.com reports that no Washington coaches were informed by team execs or ownership that they will be fired if they lose against New York today (Twitter link). That may or may not mean anything, but since Gruden’s seat gets hotter by the day, these types of reports are worth monitoring.

However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports confirms that the relationship between the coaching staff and the front office, headed by team president Bruce Allen, has become untenable. And differences in opinion over roster construction are just the beginning. Per La Canfora, the organization wants Gruden to part ways with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, but Gruden refuses to consider any changes to his staff.

But it seems inevitable that Gruden, at least, will be looking for a new job in 2020. Manusky will likely be gone too, but La Canfora says team brass is high on first-year OC Kevin O’Connell, so he may stick around. If Gruden were to fired be mid-season, offensive line coach Bill Callahan may serve as the team’s interim HC. Gruden, meanwhile, may join his brother Jon’s staff with the Raiders.

As we have been hearing, another source of contention between the Redskins’ coaching staff and front office/ownership is rookie QB Dwayne Haskins. La Canfora writes in a separate piece that many members of the coaching staff — including Gruden — and people close to Haskins believe that it would be best for the Ohio State product to redshirt his entire rookie year, especially given the state of Washington’s O-line and the club’s general dearth of offensive talent. But owner Dan Snyder may be inclined to throw Haskins into the fire sooner rather than later, while Gruden views playing Haskins as a last resort. Although Gruden’s fate with the Redskins is likely sealed, the disagreement between him and Snyder over Haskins may hasten his departure.

As for today, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Case Keenum will get the start, and Haskins will be his backup. Colt McCoy, who recently returned to practice, will be inactive, though the Redskins did consider dressing all three signal-callers. Despite Gruden’s reservations about playing Haskins, Rapoport hears that if Keenum should struggle against the Giants’ defense, Gruden may feel compelled to send in his rookie signal-caller (video link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: JPP, Keenum, Seahawks, Vikings

Jason Pierre-Paul restructured his contract with the Buccaneers yesterday, and now we have the details. Originally scheduled to make $13.65MM in 2019, his new base salary will be just $3MM, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. He’s eligible to come off the NFI list and return for the final ten games of the season, and he’ll receive a $200K bonus for each of those games that he plays in. He’ll get an additional $200K for every game he plays at least 50 percent of the defensive snaps and another $200K for each game he plays 75 percent of the defensive snaps. If he’s able to hit eight sacks he’ll get a $500K bonus and another $1MM if he reaches ten sacks, pushing the maximum value to $10.5MM.

Those sack goals are pretty lofty for only ten games, and it’s unlikely he makes the max value. Because JPP suffered a non-football injury, the Buccaneers weren’t obligated to pay his 2019 salary at all and could’ve voided his guarantees. But as Auman writes, “the team wouldn’t look good not paying a player whose injury came in a car accident in which he wasn’t even cited,” so the two sides came to an agreement. It’s unclear if he’ll actually be ready to go in Week 8 after the Bucs’ bye, as we haven’t gotten an update on his neck in a while.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Case Keenum didn’t practice yesterday, sparking some excitement that the start of the Dwayne Haskins era might be right around the corner. That appears to have been false hope, as Keenum was back on the practice field working with the team during the portion open to the media Thursday. As of right now, the expectations is that he’ll be under center for the team’s Week 4 game against the Giants. Colt McCoy was also on the practice field today, and it looks like he’s close to returning from the leg injury that has sidelined him up until this point. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has been tight-lipped about the situation, but it seems possible that Haskins will be demoted to third-string upon McCoy’s return.
  • It appears Seahawks tight end Ed Dickson‘s recovery isn’t going as planned. Pete Carroll is “concerned” Dickson won’t be ready to come off injured reserve when first eligible, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (Twitter link). When Dickson first had knee surgery back in early August, Carroll said the team was hoping he’d be out 4-5 weeks. That would’ve put him on track for an early September return, but now he apparently might not be ready for the Week 9 game in early November. Seattle is notoriously overly-optimistic about injuries, but that’s unusual even by their standards. The veteran’s first year with the Seahawks was last season, where he was mostly used as a blocker. Seattle just traded away Nick Vannett, and it looks like Will Dissly will be their only real option at tight end for the foreseeable future.
  • On the flip side, Vikings receiver Josh Doctson‘s recovery appears to be going quite smoothly. Doctson was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury shortly after being signed, and he thinks he’ll be ready to go when first eligible after eight games. “For sure, absolutely,’’ he said Wednesday, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “That’s the target and that’s the plan.’’ Minnesota was recently forced to re-sign Laquon Treadwell because of how thin they were at receiver, so they could surely use Doctson. A former first-round pick of the Redskins, Doctson was released at final cuts. He was quickly scooped up by the Vikings, but suffered his injury a week later.

NFC East Notes: Haskins, Cooper, Jeffery

Could the dawn of the Dwayne Haskins era be upon us? Redskins starting QB Case Keenum is dealing with a foot injury and did not practice today, which could force Jay Gruden to turn to one of his backup signal-callers when his team takes on the Giants this weekend. John Keim of ESPN.com notes that Colt McCoy, who hasn’t taken part in a full practice since August 11, participated in the team’s walk-through today, but Gruden wants to see him plant and push off before he thrusts him back into action. 

Haskins, the 15th-overall pick in the 2019 draft, is Washington’s QB of the future, and Gruden did not rule out the possibility of turning to the Ohio State product this weekend. However, Gruden does expect Keenum to be ready to go, which means Redskins fans may have to wait a little longer for their first regular season glimpse of Haskins.

Now for more injury-related items from the NFC East:

  • A brief scare for the Cowboys, as WR Amari Cooper left practice early today with a right ankle injury. However, Todd Archer of ESPN.com says the team does not believe it’s a serious issue and expects Cooper to see his normal workload against the Saints on Sunday night.
  • Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery was a full participant in practice today, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That obviously suggests that he’ll play in tomorrow night’s key matchup with the Packers. Philadelphia could certainly use him, as the team is at risk of falling to 1-3.
  • The Giants are still short-handed at wideout, as receiver Russell Shepard has been diagnosed with a foot sprain, per Rapoport (via Twitter). Shepard’s availability for Week 4 is in doubt.

Redskins To Start Case Keenum In Week 1

The Redskins will turn to Case Keenum as their Week 1 starter. While this was expected, given Colt McCoy‘s health and Dwayne Haskins‘ developmental status, Jay Gruden made it official, per ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter).

This will mark Keenum’s third Week 1 start in four seasons — each for different teams, with the Rams and Broncos also turning to him since 2016. It should be expected Haskins takes over at some point this season, and McCoy was slotted atop Washington’s initial depth chart. But for now, Keenum will lead the Redskins’ offense.

The Rams gave Keenum nine starts in 2016 before Jared Goff replaced him. It is unclear how quickly the team will turn to Haskins. Keenum threw for a career-high 3,890 yards last season, to go along with 18 touchdown passes. He could not match his surprisingly high-end 2017 slate, when he led all QBs in DVOA, and the Broncos jettisoned the 31-year-old passer after one season. Keenum’s 46.9 QBR figure was 31st last season.

Gruden said recently McCoy may be sidelined into the regular season, which would leave Haskins as Washington’s top backup. Keenum struggled in 2018 but did make all 16 starts for the Broncos.

Colt McCoy To Miss Regular-Season Time?

Signs are pointing toward Case Keenum piloting the Redskins’ offense when the season begins. With Dwayne Haskins still in developmental mode, Colt McCoy‘s injury setback will point Keenum toward taking a fourth team’s snaps in four years.

Listed as the Redskins’ starter on their first depth chart this year, McCoy missed the team’s second preseason game and now is without a firm return timetable. Jay Gruden acknowledged (via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, on Twitter) Sunday his longtime backup may miss multiple games this season. At the very least, it appears McCoy is a ways away from coming back.

The broken leg he suffered took most of the offseason to surmount, and McCoy has yet to completely clear the final hurdles of this journey. McCoy visited foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson recently about his right leg, with John Keim of ESPN.com tweeting the issue continues to be McCoy’s inability to push off of that foot without pain. Gruden said he will not put the veteran passer back out there until he is absolutely ready.

Keenum took the Week 1 snaps for the 2016 Rams and 2018 Broncos and played most of the way for the 2017 Vikings in what was easily his most successful season. McCoy has been with the Redskins since Robert Griffin III was ahead of Kirk Cousins on the depth chart. The former Texas standout received one start last season, following Alex Smith‘s injury, but broke his leg during that game. One season, at $3MM, remains on McCoy’s contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Haskins, Giants

As other teams continue to finalize pivotal extensions, work remains for the Cowboys on this front. Contract talks are ongoing for Dallas’ standout trio — Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper — entering the team’s first preseason game, and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes none of these contracts is particularly close to being done. Nevertheless, Jerry Jones remains confident.

You just know like so many things it’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Jones said of the extensions. “There literally is no concern on my part at all about any timeframe. That’ll happen. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. Think about it a minute. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. That always happens when it’s good for both (sides).”

Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones has mentioned possible team-friendly discounts for these players, due to the financial opportunities that come with playing with this particular franchise, and added the team not does not intend to set positional markets. (For what it’s worth, the Cowboys set the guard market last summer with Zack Martin.) Elliott, however, remains a holdout — with two days remaining until the Aug. 6 date that will determine whether the running back is a UFA or an RFA in 2020 — and Prescott does not sound receptive to a Cowboys-friendly deal.

Going from the Cowboys’ off-field matters to some of their rivals’ on-field setups, here is the NFC East’s latest:

  • Although Colt McCoy spent the offseason rehabbing a broken leg, he emerged as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback on their first depth chart. It is not certain he will take the snaps in Week 1, but J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington indicates camp work thus far has revealed this competition has become a two-man battle between McCoy and Case Keenum. It should be expected Dwayne Haskins takes over at some point this season, but Finlay notes the first-round pick has not looked ready yet. Haskins sits as Washington’s QB3 on the first depth chart.
  • Despite Dexter Lawrence tipping the scales north of 340 pounds, the Giants are playing him as a five-technique defensive end, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. This will accommodate the 318-pound Dalvin Tomlinson, who moved from end to tackle after Damon Harrison was traded midseason. Tomlinson is indeed operating as Big Blue’s first-string nose. Lawrence played the nose spot at Clemson but has impressed the Giants with his pass-rushing ability this offseason. The mammoth defensive lineman registered 1.5 sacks last season but collected 6.5 as a freshman in 2016. Either way, New York will boast a physically imposing defensive front.
  • Darius Slayton‘s encouraging offseason has not yet translated to camp, with the rookie wide receiver joining some higher-profile Giants wideouts in being unavailable. Slayton has missed 10 consecutive practices because of a hamstring injury, Dunleavy notes. For the non-Giants-following sect, Sterling Shepard broke his thumb, Corey Coleman tore his ACL and Golden Tate received a four-game suspension since camp began.