Washington is hoping rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and second-year running back Derrius Guice can combine to lead the team's offense for years to come. On Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons, fans got a glimpse of both players' potential.
Both played a big part in the team's 19-7 victory over Atlanta. Guice played well with the starters, rushing 11 times for 44 yards while adding one catch for another four yards. Haskins didn't start the game, with Case Keenum getting the nod, but showed flashes himself with the second unit, finishing 7-of-13 for 74 yards in the second half.
Haskins likely didn't catch up to Keenum in the quarterback competition, however, as the veteran finished 9-of-14 for 101 yards while leading Washington to a pair of field goals. He did lose a fumble, however.
Key offseason acquisition Landon Collins had a nice game as well, posting four tackles (one for loss) and a pass defended.
One key area Collins has improved Washington's defense in is the tackling. As ESPN's John Keim wrote:
"He's been a sure tackler, whether in the open field or at the line of scrimmage. On one stop vs. Atlanta, he also made a stop on a play where the receiver wanted to crack block him. That was a problem for the Redskins defensive backs last year. Collins, though, timed it right and the receiver had no shot at him. Collins made the stop. With this line in front of him, Collins can make a big impact."
As for Atlanta's household names, Matt Ryan finished 9-of-14 for 74 yards, while Devonta Freeman rushed just twice for three yards. Wideouts Mohamed Sanu (two catches for 23 yards) and Calvin Ridley (one catch for nine yards) had a minimal impact, while Julio Jones didn't play amidst ongoing contract negotiations with the Falcons.
Danny Etling (seven rushes for 48 yards) led Atlanta on the ground, while Ito Smith added five carries for 23 yards and a score.
But Guice and Haskins were the main attractions, and the second-year back earned nothing but plaudits for his first showing since last August when he tore his ACL.
Haskins, meanwhile, showed off the skills that made him a first-round pick. He flashed a strong arm on a few throws and showed good touch on others. He mostly dealt with pressure well, though he did miss a wide-open throw in the red zone that should have been a touchdown.
One thing Haskins has shown off is the ability to do work once he gets into a rhythm:
The potential is there for Haskins, though a season on the bench behind Keenum might do him good. Keenum isn't the sexiest option at quarterback, but he's a proven veteran who has led teams to the postseason in the past. At the very least, Keenum was solid Thursday night and didn't do anything to lose the starting gig.
It wasn't all roses for Washington, however, as injury-prone tight end Jordan Reed left the game while being evaluated for a concussion. Head injuries have been a major issue in the past for Reed as have injuries in general. For a player having a solid training and one who seemed as healthy as he's been in years, another concussion and more time on the sidelines would be a devastating blow.