Jay Gruden covered many topics in an interview with ESPN on Tuesday, but one of the more interesting ones was about the rookie quarterback the former Washington Redskins head coach didn’t want to play.
The Redskins drafted former Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick in April, which was hailed by many as a savvy move for the future of the franchise. The problem, Gruden said, was that he didn’t think Haskins was ready to step in as soon as the antsy fans wanted.
"People are excited when you take a guy at 15, you want to see him play right away,” Gruden told The Dan Le Batard Show. “But it was our professional opinion that he wasn't ready to step in and play in the first five games of the season, in my opinion.”
Five games is how long Gruden was given this season — the Redskins went 0-5 to that point — before being fired by the Washington Redskins last week. Gruden gave Haskins some backhanded praise in explaining why he started Case Keenum to begin the season and then turned to Colt McCoy initially in what would be Gruden’s final game as Redskins coach, a loss to the New England Patriots.
“It will take some time for him. He only played 13 or 14 games as a college player. He's very raw, but he's very talented. And it will take some time with him,” Gruden said. “He just wasn't ready when I was there. And maybe he'll get ready in the next coming weeks, but it was the direction we decided to go.”
That in and of itself is hardly damning. But Gruden clearly made it sound as if Haskins was not his personal choice when he said “we chose to take him as an organization.”
Gruden added that Keenum’s short contract and the broken leg McCoy suffered last season necessitated a QB selection.
“The fact of the matter is we had to get a quarterback in the draft somewhere, sometime,” he said.
Gruden also said that “there were some other quarterbacks that some people in the building liked later on in the draft, but we chose Dwayne and tried to make the most of it. He's still got a chance to be a great player without a doubt, it's just gonna take some time.”
Some time with a different coach, that is.
It’s believed that Daniel Jones was the apple of Gruden’s eye, but Jones ended up in the Big Apple — drafted by the New York Giants with the sixth overall pick. Many felt the Giants should have waited to take Jones at No. 17 in Round 1, but he likely wouldn’t have made it that far if the chatter about Gruden liking Jones are correct.
Jones and the Giants beat the Redskins in Week 4, 24-3. The rookie QB completed 23-of-31 passes for 225 yards with a TD and two interceptions against Washington.
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