The Washington Redskins used a first-round pick on Dwayne Haskins last season, committing to him as the franchise quarterback with the investment. That was under different leadership under former executive vice president Bruce Allen and head coach Jay Gruden, the pairing that drafted Haskins and made him the face of the franchise.
New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera isn’t ready to commit to Haskins as his quarterback in 2020. Rivera didn’t draft Haskins, nor has any ties to him if he wants to build a winning program in Washington.
“He’s going to have to step up and become a leader,” Rivera said, via ESPN’s John Keim. “All the great ones have become leaders and they’ve become leaders whether they’re rookies or they’re 10-, 12-year vets.”
“We’re going to have an interesting set of circumstances that we’ll go through as we go through the OTAs and into minicamp and then training camp. But one thing that I will do … once we feel comfortable, is to go ahead and make that decision so we can go forward and give these guys the opportunity to develop.”
Haskins improved as the Redskins season went on, but struggled for the majority of his rookie season. He completed 58.6% of his passes for 1,365 yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 76.1 rating. The Redskins pass offense was one of the worst in the NFL, averaging 175.8 yards a game (last) and 5.9 yards per pass (29th). Washington was last in points per game (16.6) and 31st in yards (274.7), an indictment of Haskins’s struggles early in the year.
In Haskins final two starts, he completed 72.1% of his passes for 394 yards and four touchdowns for a 131.4 passer rating. Some improvement, but Haskins has a lot of work to do to win over Rivera’s trust.
“You’ve got to step up, you’ve got to be where you need to be, you’ve got to do things you’re supposed to do,” Rivera said. “That’s all going to start with your offseason, how you prepare yourself, how do you get yourself ready. That’s probably one of the biggest things that we’ve got to do and not just with him, but every one of our players.”
The Redskins have two quarterbacks set to hit free agency in Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, uncertain if any of them will be back to challenge Haskins for the job. Rivera may want his own guy to bring in via free agency, or the Redskins could give Alex Smith an opportunity to get his starting quarterback job back (Smith missed the entire 2019 season with a leg injury).
Haskins isn’t the starting quarterback in Washington … yet. That job will be one he has to earn this offseason.