Jay Gruden would like to wrap up his quarterback competition within the next 10 days or so.
The Washington Redskins coach told Albert Breer of The MMQB he hopes to decide on the three-way battle between rookie Dwayne Haskins and veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy after the team's third preseason game, which takes place next Thursday, Aug. 22 against the Atlanta Falcons.
"I think it'll come probably sooner than later, because you'd like to get that guy ready to go," Gruden said of a decision on the opening day starter. "I'd like to hopefully make that decision after the third preseason game, so we can get two weeks to get ready for Philadelphia with the starter."
The Redskins would like Haskins to win the job outright and force Gruden's hand. After an up-and-down start to the rookie's preseason, however, Gruden admitted the two veterans have the upper hand on winning the starting gig.
"I'd say the vets probably have a little bit of a leg up on him, just because they're vets and they've played," the coach said. "Case has played a lot of football, of course he's new to the system. Colt's an experienced guy in the system, he's coming off that injury, we just have to see how he is running around. He got a little nicked today on it, from a confidence standpoint, from a stability standpoint. But they have a little bit of a leg up on [Haskins], just because of their knowledge of third down and red zone concepts. There's a lot Dwayne still has to learn, but he can get there."
Keenum started the first preseason game and was given exactly zero help. His wobbly offensive line picked up numerous penalties. When they weren't holding, they were letting the QB get blasted. McCoy sat out the first preseason tilt as he continues to be brought along slowly after suffering a broken leg last year.
The order of operations in Thursday's preseason tilt versus the Cincinnati Bengals could provide an indication on where Gruden is leaning. Haskins should see plenty of reps the next two preseason games. The rookie needs as many live reps as possible to grow and should be given ample chances to swipe the starting gig. Regardless of whether he gets the job out of the gate, it'd be a stunner if Haskins doesn't see the field early in the season.