Joe Theismann says Dwayne Haskins shouldn't start right away: It's a 'formula for disaster'

Washington's quarterback situation has taken several dramatic twists and turns over the last year or so. The team saw former starter Kirk Cousins -- who had been franchise-tagged twice in a row -- leave for a three-year, fully-guaranteed deal worth $84 million last offseason, and replaced him by trading for former Chiefs starter Alex Smith, whom they then signed to a four-year, $68 million extension.

Smith had only moderate success during his first season as the team's starter, but he also suffered a devastating leg injury, and it's unclear if he'll ever be able to play again -- though he maintains that he plans to do so. Smith's backup, Colt McCoy, also suffered a broken leg a few weeks later. 

When the offseason rolled around, Washington executed a trade for former Vikings and Broncos starter Case Keenum, who would presumably act as a bridge to whatever quarterback of the future the team identified. That quarterback fell into Washington's lap in the draft, as former Ohio State passer dropped to No. 15 overall, where the team happily snatched him after rumors that they were prepared to trade up in the draft to land him.

Though he is clearly now the team's future at the position, a quarterback from Washington's past does not think it would be prudent for the team to start Hawkins right away. Longtime Washington quarterback Joe Theismann, a two-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion, thinks the team should ease Haskins into the lineup because of their tough schedule to start the season. 

"To put him out there early against those teams, it's just a formula for disaster for the team, for Jay [Gruden], for the fans and everybody else," Theismann said during a radio appearance on 106.7 The Fan. "I think the young man is our future, and let's protect the future, instead of throwing it out there right now and saying, 'Okay, go get 'em.' The schedule we're playing is not a 'go get 'em' schedule."

Washington's first five games are against the Eagles, Cowboys, Bears, Giants, and Patriots -- four of which made the playoffs last season and one of which is the defending Super Bowl champion. So, Theismann thinks Haskins should be out for at least those five games, if not more. 

"To me, the best scenario for Dwayne would be this -- is to sit this year, Case plays, Colt comes back, is healthy enough to be able to be in competition and/or a part of the ball club ... and give Dwayne a chance to process everything," Theismann said, per the Washington Times.

There are merits and drawbacks to Haskins starting right away and to him sitting for a bit. Theismann is correct that the team's schedule to begin the 2019 season is a tough one and it may not be wise to throw Haskins into the fire right away; but if he proves during training camp that he is the best quarterback on the team, then sitting him down just because of the schedule is probably not the right move. 

There's a delicate balance that needs to be struck here, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong decision to be made. It all depends on what Haskins shows the team this offseason, and how that plays into what they feel is best for his development. He's going to be the starter eventually, and hopefully for a long time. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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