ASHBURN — Paul Richardson was wide open and Case Keenum didn’t see it.
On a pivotal third down in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, the Redskins quarterback threw a quick pass that was incomplete — but failed to notice Richardson uncovered deep in the middle of the field. The play would have been a touchdown if completed, something Keenum knew. “I totally missed him,” Keenum said after the game.
The mistake was one of the few that could be solely blamed on Keenum through the first two games. The 31-year-old has performed well generally, but moving forward, Keenum has to be better aware of seeing the whole field.
He knows it, too.
“My eyes have to be in the right place,” Keenum said. “I have to go through my progressions when I have and I’ve got put the ball in the right place. There are a few times and overall, you can be good, but there’s two or three plays that can make a difference in the ball game.”
Keenum acknowledged that not seeing every receiver on each play is “going to happen.” But there are ways he can improve his decision-making process. In his first year of Jay Gruden’s offense, Keenum said he can do that by understanding what coaches want from him on every play.
Recognizing defenses, he said, also helps speed up his progressions. If he knows how each defense is trying to attack ahead of time, Keenum said he can work through each route even faster.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, Keenum threw for a combined 601 yards and five touchdowns — all while avoiding throwing an interception. Keenum’s performance has quieted the demand for rookie Dwayne Haskins to play and Washington is fifth in passing efficiency, according to Football Outsiders.
But there’s room for improvement and Keenum faces another tough defense Monday in the Chicago Bears (1-1).
Despite two straight losses, Keenum urged the “sky is not falling” for the Redskins.
“None of us want to be 0-2, but it is a long season,” Keenum said. “I’ve started a lot of seasons 2-0, 3-1 and may have a total of fix or six games after that — between the two seasons. So I’d rather win 10 of my next 14 than the other way around and start hot and finish cold. It’s a long season and we have to play some good football teams and we’re getting better every week.
“It’s a lot of different things coming together and I think we’ll be where we want to be come late in the season.”
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