Much has been discussed regarding the development of second year Redskins' quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what this kid's ceiling is and where he currently stands among NFL quarterbacks. There are many completely subjective lists coming out placing players where the "experts" believe they fall. The highest I have seen Haskins placed on any of these lists has been 26th out of 32 starting quarterbacks. On some lists, he didn't even crack the top 32. It's not necessarily a slight to be rated that low considering all Haskins had to deal with last season. When a team drafts you, and reportedly the coach didn't want you, that may create an uncomfortable if not even hostile work environment before you take your first snap as a rookie. It’s safe to say the former head coach didn't do the best job of coaching this kid up to get him effectively prepared for the job.
The first action Dwayne Haskins saw as a professional was in the second half of the first New York Giants game last season where he threw for 107 yards on just 52 percent completion percentage with 3 interceptions. What this stat line doesn't tell you is that Haskins had received zero practice reps outside of the scout team snaps prior to that game. Basically, Haskins was thrown to the wolves and told to "survive" without a means to defend himself. There were definitely some rumblings about Haskins lack of preparation, and inability to grasp the playbook, so the coaches weren't necessarily the only ones at fault. I do believe, however, that they did not make a sincere effort to get him ready to play until they absolutely had no choice.
Haskins started his rookie campaign making many mistakes and poor decisions in the passing game just like any other rookie has done. It's called a "learning curve". Very few quarterbacks come in the league without one. The criticism that Haskins received over the course of last season in limited playing time was unfathomable considering the team was surrounded by complete dysfunction. After firing their head coach 5 games into the season, a completely depleted roster due to injuries, and a fractured locker room, Haskins was thrust into a leadership role and forced to handle circumstances no other rookie quarterback has had to deal with. Despite that, he continued to get better over the course of the season. Haskins last two games of the season, he threw 4 touchdowns and no interceptions finishing on a strong note heading into the off season.
It's much too early to call Haskins a bust like many of you have chosen to do already. If I wanted to question anything about Haskins this early in his career, it wouldn't be his talent level. I would challenge his toughness or maybe even his durability; or possibly his willingness to prepare. I would not challenge his ability because this kid has all the tools to be great. The look, the arm, the likability. With this new coaching regime in place, you can look forward to seeing the best version of Dwayne Haskins that you will see.
Haskins has already been put on notice by head coach Ron Rivera who traded a fifth round pick for Kyle Allen who started in Rivera's offense last year. Kyle Allen has been brought in to compete for the starting job and not to back up Dwyane Haskins. Rivera has made that abundantly clear. All signs point to Haskins taking on the challenge and preparing the best way he can to be the offensive leader of the Washington Redskins. What remains to be seen is how quickly he will grasp a second offense in as many seasons, especially without the benefit of the full off season workout program. Rivera did the right thing bringing in Kyle Allen who has played in this system for two seasons, and had some success doing so. This was the ultimate contingency plan, and competition initiator.
Many squads have the benefit of veteran leadership accompanied with the same coaching staff, players, and system. Ron Rivera has not had the opportunity to evaluate players' preparation and learn their strengths and weaknesses leading into training camp namely Dwayne Haskins. This will make it more imperative that Haskins minimizes his mistakes early and shows command of the offense the moment he takes the field. That will be an instant sign that he has been in his playbook and gotten the necessary mental repetitions to have him ready to execute and build physically off of what he has retained. The great thing about this situation is that Haskins has a clean slate; new coach...new system...new weapons (yes, the Redskins have weapons...you just don't know it yet)...and what appears to be a new approach to preparing for success. We will see if that translates into a productive season. As you were...
Photo Credit: Forbes.com