Redskins' Jay Gruden explains decision to start Case Keenum over Dwayne Haskins

Redskins' Jay Gruden explains decision to start Case Keenum over Dwayne Haskins

Case Keenum will be under center for the Redskins in Week 1. 

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced Sunday that Keenum will start at quarterback when the team faces the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sept. 8.

“I think Case has come in here and picked up the offense extremely well,” Gruden told reporters at a press conference. “He has great confidence and command over the team. … At the end of the day, we have great confidence that Case can lead us to a win over Philadelphia.”

Washington acquired Keenum from the Broncos in an offseason trade. He has completed 16 of his 30 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown in three preseason appearances.

“I’m excited. I really am,” Keenum said at a press conference. “I don’t take it lightly, the opportunity. The position I’m in, to be a Week 1 starter, I’ve been there before and I know that it’s a tough job. There’s only 32 of them, so, I’m very honored to wear the burgundy, to be the Redskins quarterback. I’m excited to continue to earn the right to be the leader for this team, to be the quarterback for this team. That’s what I want to do, come in every day and earn that right.”

Keenum beat out rookie Dwayne Haskins — the No. 15 pick in the 2019 draft — for the starting spot. 

“I think (Haskins) has to continue to prepare like he is a starter because he’s one play away from going into the game against Philadelphia,” Gruden said. “He has to continue to prepare and get better, which I know he will do. That’s every quarterback, that’s every position on the field. … You have to prepare like you’re the starter. When your number is called, you’ve got to be prepared and ready to go.”

The Redskins also have veteran Colt McCoy on their roster, but he continues to recover from the broken leg he suffered in 2018 and is unlikely to be ready for the season opener.