I’ve had enough of all the Dwayne Haskins apologists this week after that porous performance last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
We get it. Washington needs to upgrade at wide receiver and the offensive line has at times looked putrid. That doesn’t excuse Haskins from not being able to throw a simple out-route on third down and short. Washington’s weaknesses have been well documented prior to this season’s start. They haven’t changed. However, this is still professional football and everyone needs to be held accountable for THEIR PART. Everyone has to be held to a certain performance standard, and when they are unable to do so, they have to be pulled up on it.
Week one, Haskins was not great, but he definitely wasn’t terrible. Particularly in the second half when he made all the throws he needed to make when he needed to make them. Not to mention, they won the game which makes his performance a lot easier to digest. Week two, he was bad from beginning to end against a Cardinal defense that isn’t great, but he did not turn the football over for the fourth game in a row. Last Sunday against the Browns, he flat out stunk. Let’s call it what it was ladies and gentlemen. He played horribly and accounted for four of the teams’ five turnovers alone (3 interceptions and 1 fumble) and gave the Browns short fields to score on. That is inexcusable.
Before the Haskins apologists start with the “well Haskins didn’t allow those points” jargon, when you put your defense back on the field four extra times and ask them to stop a team with two of the best running backs in the league, and one of the best receiving corps in the league, you are handicapping them. They were already without arguably their best interior defensive lineman in Matt Ioannidis the majority of the game and rookie Chase Young who was also injured early on. That doesn’t mean that the defense doesn’t share a large portion of the blame. Their job is to stop the other team from scoring regardless of the circumstances. They failed at that last Sunday.
I get it, football is a team sport, but whether fans want to admit it or not, the quarterback position is the most important position on the field. A position that is held to a much higher performance standard. It’s because they are responsible for so much. They are asked to call the play, line everybody up, time the snap count, look at and evaluate the defensive alignment pre-snap, drop back using the proper technique, go through progressions, make the right play, and beyond everything else, don’t turn the football over. It’s all these things and more, but at the end of the day, it’s about positive results. We just haven’t seen enough positive three games into the season. That’s not to say Haskins can’t come out this week and light the Baltimore Ravens up making many forget about his previous performances. It’s feasible that could very well happen, but that’s up to Haskins. He has to learn how to make the most of the opportunities that he has rather than focus on the ones he doesn’t. He can’t control if a receiver drops the football or if a lineman misses a block. He CAN control if he slides the right way in the pocket, or takes off and runs when he needs to, or when he simply throws a basic route combination.
As an objective follower of this football team, I sit back and read the comments on social media. I listen to the local podcasts, and radio shows, and it is amazing to me how loyal people are to Haskins. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see him succeed. At the same time, if he isn’t getting the job done, then I’m all about trying something different. The last thing Washington needs is to come out of the gate 1-4 or 1-5 and have to battle uphill the remainder of the season. I hear all the talk from coach Ron Rivera and how he is going to “take his lumps” with Haskins. That may be the first time I have looked at Rivera in a negative light since he was hired as the head coach. Rivera is here to win football games, bottom line. I’m all about player development, but these players have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to just treat these regular season games as preseason. Every game counts in the NFL, and the last thing this team wants to do is look back and say “if we just would have”. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner is going to have to put this offense in a better position to score some points early and more often. Steven Sims Jr. is already out Sunday, and currently Terry McLaurin is questionable. That’s two weapons Haskins will possibly be without, which means Turner has to step up his play calling just as much or even more as Haskins need to step up with his on-field performance.
Haskins doesn’t have to be Patrick Mahomes to be successful. Just don’t be the reason your team loses. Don’t be a liability. Don’t regress, progress. Make the right play; he doesn’t have to make the sensational one. Just give your team a chance. Haskins worked his butt off this entire off season to get in shape and learn this system. It’s time for him to start reaping the benefits of that time and effort. In the words of the great Rick “Doc” Walker, it’s time for Haskins to take a crap or get up off of the toilet. As you were…
Photo Credit: Elijah Walter Griffin Sr/Washington Football Team