Call it the growing pains with a rookie quarterback -- on a bad team.
In a 34-17 loss to the New York Jets, Haskins showed an occasional flash -- he rolled left on one play and completed a 67-yard pass that was called back on a penalty. It highlighted the arm strength. But he also was uneasy at times in the pocket, aided by the Jets’ rush. He was sacked six times; he threw an interception; there were errant tosses.
The loss clearly was not because of Haskins, but his inexperience showed against a good defensive coordinator, who was able to create pause in the coverage to allow the rush to get free. He completed 19 of 35 passes for 214 yards and threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.
There’s a long way to go in his -- and this team’s -- development.
Troubling trend: The Redskins had gone 16 quarters without a touchdown before two in the fourth quarter. That was the longest such streak in 18 years. Interim coach bill Callahan is intent on running the ball, but the Redskins don’t do it well enough to win that way. They did need to establish an identity, and the run game can help do that, but the problem is that they’ve become tendency-heavy, and teams don’t fear anything about their pass game.
Biggest hole in the game plan: The Redskins consistently suffered coverage mishaps Sunday that resulted in wide open receivers and easy touchdowns. All four touchdown passes went to wide open targets thanks to botched coverages. On the first, for example, Fabian Moreau went with the motion receiver to the left. Also on that side, corner Josh Norman appeared to play trap coverage -- but that enabled the receiver in front of him to sneak to the corner of the end zone for an easy touchdown. This has happened way too often under coordinator Greg Manusky.
Silver lining: There wasn’t much of anything good to come out of this game. But at least they finally got a chance to see what running back Derrius Guice can do. It wasn’t a lot, but Guice did show a physical style in the run game on his four runs for 24 yards. He had one run in which he trucked a defender for 4 extra yards. But he then sprinted 45 yards for a touchdown on a screen pass. The Redskins lack explosive talent, but a healthy Guice would at least give them someone who could become a big help.