Jay Gruden will make decision on Redskins starting quarterback by third preseason game

The Washington Redskins quarterback competition is coming to a conclusion soon. Head coach Jay Gruden told Albert Breer of the Monday Morning Quarterback he would like to make a decision on the starting quarterback by the third preseason game, which is 10 days away.

Gruden would prefer for rookie first-round pick Dwayne Haskins to win the job, but admitted Colt McCoy and Case Keenum are the leaders in the clubhouse right now. McCoy or Keenum are projected to be the starter for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles

"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," Gruden 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."

Haskins finished 8 of 14 for 117 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown in his preseason debut last week, but his performance was also affected by poor offensive line play, which was plagued by penalties and allowed pressures. 

Gruden said after Thursday's preseason opener that the offensive line needs some work, but commended left guard Ereck Flowers and left tackle Donald Penn. Flowers played his first game at left guard and Penn just signed with the Redskins last week, projected to be the left tackle while Trent Williams continues his holdout. 

"I think we can improve a lot for sure," Gruden said. "I think (Ereck) Flowers for his first time at guard, I think he did some pretty good things. He got beat once in pass protection, but I think he showed his power on the inside, which is good. (Donald) Penn coming in here after being off for a lot of time. I think he competed and did some decent things."

McCoy didn't play the preseason opener as the Redskins are easing him in from the broken leg that ended his season last year. Keenum received the first-team snaps Thursday, finishing 4 of 9 for 60 yards and a touchdown.

The quarterback that starts Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals will be a telling sign toward who Gruden is leaning towards to start Week 1. Washington isn't planning to rush Haskins into a role he's not ready for at this time. 

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