Alex Smith playing right now may be the best thing to ever happen to Dwayne Haskins in Washington. A lot of people forget the impact Alex Smith had in San Francisco on Colin Kaepernick and in Kansas City on Patrick Mahomes. Each quarterback credits Alex Smith for showing them how to prepare and get ready for each game. Smith has always been the consummate professional and knows how to prepare to be successful in the NFL. Right now, that seems to be one of Haskins' main issues. He doesn't study well and does not prepare to be successful. He allegedly doesn't watch enough film and is not open to constructive criticism. If this is true, then Rivera throws him into the lineup and says "Show me what you got", he will continue a downward trend which will ultimately destroy the kid's career. It may have been in his best interest that he was benched, because Rivera and the staff could see the regression. Many will say "Well why start him in the first place?”. The truth is, with no preseason, they had no opportunity to see if he understood how to prepare for games week to week. They just knew he had all the tools, he studied the playbook, and got in tremendous shape to prove he was ready to start the season.
What Haskins will have to learn is that he has to be consistent. He isn't just preparing for himself, he is preparing for everybody because it shows up on the field and on film whether you studied and prepared yourself properly. Alex Smith has literally made a living in the NFL showing young quarterbacks how to prepare themselves and be ready when their number is called. The next time Haskins' gets put in the game, he is going to want to make it impossible for head coach Ron Rivera to take him back out. The bottom line for Haskins is he has to mature. He has to recognize he has not arrived. He has to understand that the NFL is different from college in that he can't just "show up" and everything else will take care of itself because his team is always the most talented team on the field. In the NFL, every team is talented and can beat you on any given Sunday. The sooner Haskins grasps that concept, the sooner he can channel that into maximizing his attributes.
I hear and see a lot of people talking about "just play Haskins now". I would agree with that wholeheartedly if I believed Haskins was doing HIS PART to put himself in the best situation to be successful. If the reports are true that Haskins has been arrogant and isn't studying, what type of example does that set for the rest of the team?
How are the veteran and younger players that have worked so hard for their opportunity going to look at Ron Rivera and the coaching staff if he plays Haskins because he was drafted to be the starter last year before Rivera was even the coach?
Why do fans think nobody spoke up for Haskins or even seemed disappointed when he was benched?
It's not because the coaches hate Haskins and that's why he was benched. It's because he wasn't ready.
Rivera wants to see if Haskins will pout and give up, or if he will get motivated and take what he feels is rightfully his. The decision on whether Haskins plays in Washington again is actually up to Haskins, contrary to popular belief. Haskins needs to be in Alex Smith's hip pocket for the remainder of the season and absorb as much knowledge as he can to make him better equipped mentally to play. If he prepared half as hard as Smith does, nobody can tell me Haskins wouldn't be mentioned amongst the best young quarterbacks in the league. Haskins has a great relationship with Alex Smith and trusts him. He needs to use this as an opportunity and recognize he is now literally one play away from being the starter again.
Will we see a more focused and mature Dwayne Haskins, or will we see a disgruntled Dwayne Haskins that can't handle adversity? That is all up to him. We shall see. As you were…
Photo Credit: Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team